Plumbing Blog

This is the Plumbing Blog, an open forum for everyone from regular folks to seasoned professionals and experts. We encourage you to post comments, questions, suggestions, complaints, recommendations, you name it–anything that has to do with plumbing issues in California. We also suggest that you viewers answer or comment on each other’s posts.

33 thoughts on “Plumbing Blog

  1. Looking for solutions to help correct the inconsistencies with local (city) code requirements when perpetrating fire walls with high efficiency appliances that use PVC venting. If anybody has found an application that has not undergone a discrepancy across different citys, please elaborate.

  2. James,

    I’m sorry you’re having an issue with inspection consistency. That is actually the number one complaint contractors have. Most inspectors are willing to learn if you approach them with information regarding your installation. Inspectors have 9 different codes they are enforcing and are not familiar with every product installation and its approval. By being there for inspection with the installation manual in hand you can help answer any questions or concerns they might have.
    There are a number of fire collars on the market that address materials such as PVC and CPVC. USG, Hilti and 3M all have UL listed assemblies with installation instructions. Show your inspector the product along with these documents showing the approvals.
    If you are still unable to pass inspection with a correctly installed assembly you may want to schedule a friendly meeting with their supervisor to discuss the issue diplomatically. It’s always frustrating when an inspector turns down a product they’re unfamiliar with. But if you take the approach that you’re educating the inspector on a product that when installed properly it will meet the requirements of the code – they can sign off your job in confidence and sleep soundly knowing this was a safe installation.
    Another option would be to attend a local IAPMO Chapter meeting to meet with your local plumbing and mechanical officials to discuss these inconsistencies in a forum type setting. Almost every meeting has a “code question” open discussion. You can bring up topics of inconsistency without having to reference your particular project or inspector.
    Best of success to you and I hope this helps!

    1. James
      What your inspectors are looking for is a UL listed Firestop system showing that the PVC Pipe can penetrate through a rated wall and also, how it is to be firestopped. The Fire Caulking or collar will be written into the listing and it will describe the type of wall you have and the type and size of pipe that you are using to penetrate the wall. 3M has a website where you can select the appropriate UL system for your needs. Take a looke at W-L-2264. This is for PVC pipe 2″ and smaller which looks like what you have from your photo.

    2. That is an excellent idea to bring up the discussion at the IAPMO meeting. A sound, feasible solution to address the issue. I like that better than a bunch of us storming the castle with pick forks and torches. Good thinking! Thank you.

  3. Thanks Jill. The photo was a reference. I didn’t have one of the unit under scrutiny. It’s by a different manufacture. They use a common vent (stainless inner, PVC outer) I’ve tried to obtain a ANSI / UL or a ASTM burn data sheet from them. – As far as the collars, I’ve been using Metacaulk collars. I haven’t had any problems with the cities that are on board. I’ll give 3M a try. I haven’t used theirs yet.

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