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FlowGuard® Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Info and Benefit FAQ’s

 

Where can I use FlowGuard® CPVC?

FlowGuard CPVC is designed for use in hot-and-cold-water distribution systems and heating and chilled water systems. FlowGuard CPVC systems are ideal for all potable water piping requirements in typical villas, apartments, hotels, hospitals, offices, and other high rise buildings.

 

What pipe sizes is FlowGuard CPVC available in?

FlowGuard pipes and fittings are available in ½ inch to 8 inch. A full range of fittings exists in all sizes. In applications calling for larger lines, FlowGuard CPVC is available on request.

 

What is the expected performance of a FlowGuard CPVC water distribution system?

FlowGuard CPVC piping systems have been installed and operated since 1959, and initial installations are still performing faultlessly. FlowGuard CPVC piping will not fail prematurely due to corrosion, electrolysis, or scale build-up in areas where water, soil, and/or atmospheric conditions are aggressive.

 

Are there other benefits associated with the polymeric makeup of FlowGuard CPVC systems?

Yes. Due to the FlowGuard CPVC polymeric structure, costly condensation concerns are eliminated, further reducing the long-term problems that one expects with a metal installation. Also, FlowGuard CPVC offers a potable water distribution system that eliminates the metallic taste and potential health hazards associated with metal systems.


Cost FAQ’s

Will FlowGuard CPVC save me money?

Yes. FlowGuard CPVC can be installed at least 25% more quickly than any other piping systems. Many contractors reported a saving of 50% on labor compared to PPR. Financial savings are also realized with regard to lower tool costs and insurance advantages, less site accidents, and rework.

 

Will a FlowGuard CPVC system offer a financial advantage to owners in terms of utilities expense?

Yes. The thermal conductivity of a copper system is 2,500 times that of a FlowGuard CPVC system, and FlowGuard CPVC thermal conductivity is about 30% better than other plastic pipes. The improved insulating characteristics associated with FlowGuard CPVC can generate substantial long-term savings for an energy conscious homeowner or tenant. FlowGuard CPVC will keep hot water hot for a much longer period of time compared to other types of pipes.

 

Are there insurance advantages associated with FlowGuard CPVC systems?

Yes. Insurance cost reductions result from several factors:

  • Absence of the torch and welding machines during construction.
  • Significant reduction in injuries, particularly burns, can translate to reduced workmen's compensation costs.
  • Reduced job site theft loss.

 

Technical FAQ’s

How does solvent cement work?

Solvent cement is not a glue simply holding the pieces together. Instead, solvent welding is a chemical process that fuses the pipe and fittings together creating one continuous piece of plastic.

Solvent cementing uses a solvent to soften the surface of the pipe and fittings. When this happens the molecules of the two surfaces are freed to fuse with each other when forced together. The CPVC contained in the solvent cement then fills any gaps between the two surfaces pipe and fitting.

The fused joint becomes the stronger part in the system.

 

Will FlowGuard CPVC solvent cement work on a PVC piping installation?

Yes. FlowGuard CPVC solvent cement technically will work on PVC piping. However, PVC solvent cement is not recommended for CPVC piping because of temperature limitations.

 

Should specific types of primers and solvent cements be used on a FlowGuard CPVC system? Are specific colors required?

FlowGuard CPVC solvent cement should always be used for FlowGuard CPVC piping, and the solvent cement should be manufactured to meet ATM F 493 requirements.

Purple primer manufactured for PVC pipe is acceptable. Faster drying FlowGuard CPVC primer is available, and is recommended for cold weather installations. Orange FlowGuard CPVC solvent cement and purple primer are specifically required by certain code bodies to facilitate identification by plumbing inspectors.

 

Should I use pipe dope, Teflon® tape, or Teflon® paste with FlowGuard CPVC threaded adapters?

Teflon® tape is always safe and effective with FlowGuard CPVC. If you wish to use a paste or pipe dope, always check with the manufacturer for a recommendation because some pastes or dopes contain solvents that may be incompatible with FlowGuard CPVC.

 

How should I size the lines in a FlowGuard CPVC system?

FlowGuard CPVC has higher flow output and less pressure drop compared to all other plastic pipes, therefore, you can either use the same pipe size, or downsize one size if the velocity inside the pipe allows for it and does not exceed 2.3 m/s.

 

How can I use FlowGuard CPVC if I run under slab?

When using FlowGuard CPVC with joints under slab, YOU MUST PRESSURE TEST THE SYSTEM BEFORE POURING THE SLAB.

 

Must I use plastic insulators wherever FlowGuard CPVC passes through a stud? 

Technically, no such provision needs to be made when passing through wood studs. When passing through metal studs, some form of protection must be used to protect the pipe from abrasion and to prevent noise. This protection may come from plastic insulators, rubber grommets, pipe insulation, or similar devices.

 

What are the preferred methods of cutting FlowGuard CPVC pipe?

A benefit of FlowGuard CPVC pipe is that numerous, inexpensive choices of cutting tools are available to the installer. FlowGuard CPVC piping has for years been cut by fine-tooth saws. The preferred method is the circular tubing cutter, modified with a plastic cutting blade. This cutter assures a square, clean cut each time and is extremely efficient in terms of labor.

An alternative and quicker and easier method is the ratchet cutter. This option is not suitable during cooler weather (10℃ or lower) but can be safely used during warmer weather.  Keep the cutting edges of the cutter sharpened.

Several power tools have been used on major job sites where larger diameter pipe is being installed. Circular saws and portable grinders with abrasive cutting discs are two of the numerous methods being employed by contractors.

 

I have been told that FlowGuard CPVC pipe can split during installation. Why would this occur? How can these cracks be prevented?

Most cracks are initiated by rough handling. This handling can occur during shipment, while being inventoried at the wholesaler, or while on the job site. Also, fine cracks can be caused by cutting the pipe with dull or damaged ratchet cutters, or by using ratchet cutters in lower temperatures (below 10℃).

To reduce problems resulting from a cracked product, several measures can be initiated:

  • Educate your installers. Make them aware of the potential problem and instruct them to handle FlowGuard CPVC in an appropriate way.
  • Use a saw or a circular tubing cutter with a plastic cutting blade to cut pipe to length.
  • Inspect pipe ends thoroughly prior to making a joint. Should a crack be evident, cut off any split portion at least 5 cm above the crack before proceeding.
  • During cold weather, gripping the tubing tightly around the area to be cut for about 10 seconds prior to making the cut will warm the tubing and reduce possible problems.

 

Does FlowGuard CPVC piping system resist Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide?

Unlike polyolefin pipes like PPR, PEX, and PB, FlowGuard CPVC resists Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide. For the life of the system it will not be affected by the presence of those disinfectants.

All other plastics and metal pipes are greatly affected by these disinfectants and special monitoring is required. Chlorine Dioxide, which is becoming the main disinfectant due to its excellent disinfectant and non-toxic properties, is not allowed to be used with PP-R.

FlowGuardFAQTest

 

Is FlowGuard CPVC a factor in reducing noise associated with the movement of water?

Yes, FlowGuard CPVC is extremely quiet due to the polymeric structure of the product. FlowGuard CPVC systems are virtually silent. Also, noise associated with water hammer is all but eliminated.

 

What is the maximum allowable pressure?

All pipes are schedule 80 rated and the pressure rating is 58 bars for ½ inch pipe and reaches 18 bars for the 8 inch pipe. The 1.91 inch pipes can withstand 48 bars at 23 degrees C, and 12 bars at 82 degrees C.

 

How long can FlowGuard CPVC systems be exposed to sunlight?

The main degradation process is dehydrochlorination, not oxidation. This dehydrochlorination, whilst slightly accelerated by UV, does not break down the polymer chains to any significant extent after outdoor exposure. The effect is mainly limited to a surface discoloration effect. There may be a loss of impact resistance due to the impact modifiers losing efficiency. This may even result in increased modulus.

If a portion of the piping system will be left exposed to UV light, a standard grade of exterior, latex paint will protect the pipe adequately.

This is in contrast to polyethylene and polypropylene, where U.V. acts as a strong catalyst for the oxidation process. This process breaks down the polymer chains, leading to weakness in the pipe and loss of hydrostatic strength.

 

What is the thermal expansion rate for FlowGuard CPVC, and how can I best allow for expansion and contraction when installing?

FlowGuard CPVC has better thermal expansion coefficient compared to other plastics—almost half of the PPR and PEX pipes’ thermal coefficient. 

Compared to metal pipes and metal reinforced plastics (multilayer pipes), FlowGuard CPVC piping will expand about 4 inches per 100 feet with a 37.7℃ temperature change. The fact that FlowGuard CPVC has higher thermal expansion than metals is due to the difference in elastic modulus.

 

Should special considerations be taken to connect FlowGuard CPVC to a hot water heater?

In some instances, yes. However, these considerations are based on concerns regarding external sources of heat. The hot water from the heater will not affect FlowGuard CPVC if the temperature exceeds 95℃.

When connecting to a gas water heater, FlowGuard CPVC should not be located within 50 cm of the heater's flue, if the flue has no insulation. A metal nipple or flexible appliance connector should be used.

This measure eliminates the potential for damage to plastic piping that might result from excessive radiant heat from the flue. If the flue is insulated, the instructions of the flue manufacturer should be followed.



Environment and Safety FAQ’s

What about health and safety?

Metal piping interests have initiated many attacks on plastic systems, under the guise of health and safety issues. Tests performed at respected universities, independent laboratories and major international organizations confirm that FlowGuard CPVC is superior to copper/lead solder, polypropylene, and polyethylene systems in terms of water quality effects and biofilm formation.

Those major international organizations include:

All plastics used in potable water systems must be tested regularly and certified by a similar third party certifier as meeting the strict public health requirements of ANSI/NSF 61. This testing ensures that drinking water carried by plastic pipe meets all EPA standards.

 

What about fire toxicity issues?

FlowGuard CPVC is "no more toxic than wood" in a fire. It has a 25/50 flame/smoke rating under ASTM E84/UL 723, which makes it one of the rare plastics pipes that can be installed in plenums under building codes.

 

Is the solvent cement used with FlowGuard CPVC environmental friendly or is it toxic?

All FlowGuard approved solvent cements, primers and cleaners meet the requirements for Low VOC (volatile organic compound) emission limits established by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), one of the USA's strictest air quality regulatory bodies. Low VOC emissions support cleaner air. All FlowGuard approved solvent cements provide the following benefits:

  • High quality performance with excellent installation properties.
  • User friendly.
  • Reduced fumes and odor for the comfort and well being of pipe installers.
  • NSF, UPC and/or CSA Listed.
  • Meet ASTM Standards for solvent cements used for plastic pipe installation.
  • Environmentally responsible. LEED® Compliant (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • LEED Green Building Rating System For New Construction & Major Renovations Version 2.2 (Indoor Environmental Air Quality: EQ Credit 4.1 Low-Emitting Materials - Adhesives & Sealants)

Still have questions about using FlowGuard CPVC for your plumbing system needs? Contact our team of piping systems consultants today.

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