The Importance of Fire Resistant Pipes
As a homeowner, your plumbing system probably doesn’t come to mind when you think about fire hazards. However, the material of your pipes plays a critical role in flammability.
Electrical shorts or power overloads can cause a fire to ignite near your plumbing pipes. Depending on the material of the pipe, your plumbing system can actually make the fire worse and spread it throughout the home.
While some thermoplastics like polypropylene (PPR) aren’t built to withstand heat or fire, that’s not the case for all. Specifically, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is engineered to limit flammability and smoke generation.
In fact, FlowGuard® CPVC has been tested in accordance with EN 13501-1:2002 (a test of how well a material will react to fire) and earned the best possible fire resistant rating a non-metal material can receive.
So, what are the fire resistant properties that make FlowGuard CPVC one of the most trusted materials for residential plumbing systems?
FlowGuard CPVC is Ignition Resistant
CPVC is self-extinguishing and has high ignition resistance, meaning there needs to be an extreme amount of heat for the material to combust. FlowGuard CPVC has a flash ignition temperature of 482°C, whereas PPR has a flash ignition temperature of 340°C. For reference, many other ordinary materials, like wood, ignite at 260°C or less.
FlowGuard CPVC is Burn Resistant
FlowGuard CPVC has a limiting oxygen index (LOI) of 60, meaning that it requires 60% oxygen in the air to sustain a flame. For reference, Earth’s atmosphere is made up of 21% oxygen. Other thermoplastics, like PPR, have an LOI of less than 20, meaning once they ignite, they will continue to burn.
The heat of combustion of PPR is about three times more than CPVC, meaning it’s easier for it to burn and generate more heat—which often results in flaming drips.
On the other hand, CPVC does not support combustion and will not allow a fire to propagate and transfer from room to room, or floor to floor.
To see just how well FlowGuard CPVC pipe withstands a fire, check out our burn test video below.
FlowGuard CPVC Limits Smoke Generation
All thermoplastics emit smoke during burning. But because of the way CPVC is engineered, it limits the amount of smoke produced. Homeowners can rest assured knowing the low smoke development of CPVC piping won’t significantly add to the damage from a fire or increase their exposure to smoke which contain toxic gases and can worsen respiratory conditions.
FlowGuard CPVC Provides Greater Material Safety
FlowGuard CPVC provides excellent safety and performance characteristics when subjected to fire, providing peace of mind to plumbers and homeowners during and well after installation.
If you have questions about the fire resistant properties of FlowGuard CPVC pipe, contact our team of piping consultants.