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5 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes When Installing CPVC Fire Sprinklers

By: Lainey Liotta on September 10th, 2021

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5 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes When Installing CPVC Fire Sprinklers

CPVC  |  fire sprinkler systems  |  cpvc fire sprinkler systems  |  blazemaster fire protection systems  |  cpvc installation

Easy installation is one of the top advantages BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems offer over traditional steel types. CPVC is installed with a quick, simple joining process that allows one person to cover an area using basic hand tools along with a quick, one-step solvent cement welding process.

As a result, BlazeMaster CPVC has been part of countless successful projects. But in rare cases where issues occur, the source can almost always be traced to five mistakes:

Insufficient Solvent Cement Cure Time

After a joint is assembled using solvent cement, the cement must be allowed to properly “cure” before the piping system is pressurized. The newly fused CPVC molecules harden as the solvent evaporates. Once the solvent has flashed off, the joint is properly cured.

Recommended cure times can be found here along with a wealth of information on using solvent cement. Keep in mind that solvent cement cure times depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Pipe size
  • Temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Tightness of fit

For instance, curing time is faster for drier environments, smaller pipe sizes, high temperatures, and tighter fits.

Allowing enough cure time is important for repairs as well as new installations. Cut-in joints must be allowed to cure properly before pressure testing. Cure times will be increased as compared to new installations (you can find recommended cure times for repairs here). 

Lack of Planning for Thermal Expansion and Contraction

Like other piping materials, BlazeMaster CPVC expands as temperatures rise and contracts as temperatures fall. That means that the pipe will get longer in warm temperatures and shorter when it’s colder, which creates stress on the pipe that can lead to premature reliability issues.

In most cases, changes in direction of the pipe run will alleviate temperature-related stresses on CPVC pipe. Expansion loops and offsets can also address the issue. For more details, check out our post What You Need to Know About Piping Thermal Expansion and Contraction.

Inadequate Training

Projects can fail for a variety of reasons. Clamps might be too tight or too far apart. An installer might use too much (or too little) solvent cement. Pipes may not be fully inserted into fittings. The pipe may not be stored or handled properly.

These kinds of issues can be traced to the same root cause: installers who have not completed rigorous training. We offer a variety of training options to fit any schedule, including online, self-paced training, live online sessions, and in-person training.

Inattention to Chemical Compatibility

Everyone on the job site must be vigilant about chemical compatibility issues. Project managers should stress this responsibility in team meetings and through jobsite postings. It’s easy to find compatible ancillary products, such as fire-stopping systems thread sealants, and others, through our FBC™ System Compatible Program. There’s no need to guess if a product is compatible – a full listing is available on our website or download the app for mobile devices, which can be especially useful on the jobsite.

Every list product has been through a rigorous review process that requires manufacturers to:

  • Submit products for testing by a third-party lab
  • Agree to not alter the tested formulation
  • Allow an annual audit of their manufacturing facility by a third-party lab

By raising awareness and using the FBC™ System Compatible Program, contractors and installers can avoid a common mistake that can lead to a failed project. To learn more about chemical compatibility, check out our video series.

Inadequate Freeze Protection

Without the right freeze protection, fire sprinkler piping can burst when the temperature drops. It’s especially important to choose the right antifreeze now because National Fire Protection Association standards require that unlisted antifreeze solutions used in existing sprinkler systems must be replaced with a listed antifreeze solution, or other methods of protection, by September 30, 2022.

New UL-listed freezemaster™ antifreeze provides contractors, AHJs, facility managers, and building owners alike a product formulated specifically to meet the requirements of NFPA 13, 13R, 13D, and 25. The listing ensures that the antifreeze meets UL 2901 requirements for fire performance (i.e., flammability), hydraulic characteristics, human health, and environmental impact, and marking and installation specifications. In so doing, it provides confidence that the listed product meets or exceeds the most rigorous standards.

By addressing these issues, contractors and installers can ensure they create long-lasting, dependable fire protection systems that protect people and property. Do you or your team need training? Consider an upcoming live online session or our self-paced program.


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