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Thread: DWV testing

  1. #1
    R Gann's Avatar
    R Gann Guest

    Default DWV testing

    Is anyone familiar with using smoke to test residential dwv systems, more so where to find equipment?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: DWV testing

    This is what they mean.

    From the 2006 IRC.

    - P2503.5 DWV systems testing.
    Rough and finished plumbing installations shall be tested in accordance with Sections P2503.5.1 and P2503.5.2.
    - - P2503.5.1 Rough plumbing.


    DWV systems shall be tested on completion of the rough piping installation by water or air with no evidence of leakage. Either test shall be applied to the drainage system in its entirety or in sections after rough piping has been installed, as follows:
    - - - 1. Water test. Each section shall be filled with water to a point not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) above the highest fitting connection in that section, or to the highest point in the completed system. Water shall be held in the section under test for a period of 15 minutes. The system shall prove leak free by visual inspection.
    - - - 2. Air test. The portion under test shall be maintained at a gauge pressure of 5 pounds per square inch (psi) (34 kPa) or 10 inches of mercury column (34 kPa). This pressure shall be held without introduction of additional air for a period of 15 minutes.
    - - P2503.5.2 Finished plumbing.


    After the plumbing fixtures have been set and their traps filled with water, their connections shall be tested and proved gas tight and/or water tight as follows:
    - - - 1. Water tightness. Each fixture shall be filled and then drained. Traps and fixture connections shall be proven water tight by visual inspection.
    - - - 2. Gas tightness. When required by the local administrative authority, a final test for gas tightness of the DWV system shall be made by the smoke or peppermint test as follows:
    - - - - 2.1. Smoke test. Introduce a pungent, thick smoke into the system. When the smoke appears at vent terminals, such terminals shall be sealed and a pressure equivalent to a 1-inch water column (249 Pa) shall be applied and maintained for a test period of not less than 15 minutes.
    - - - - 2.2. Peppermint test. Introduce 2 ounces (59 mL) of oil of peppermint into the system. Add 10 quarts (9464 mL) of hot water and seal all vent terminals. The odor of peppermint shall not be detected at any trap or other point in the system.

    Never done one myself, but that is how and what to do.

    With smoke, you would introduce the smoke at the lowest cleanout (typically the one going to the street). When the smoke can be seen at the terminals, use a plumbers test ball (the pump up type) to seal the terminals, and to seal the lowest cleanout, then (not sure what adapter is used for this, but it should be easy to make) insert a manometer and air pressure and pump up to the required pressure.

    With peppermint, block off the lowest clean out with a plumbers test ball, pour the peppermint oil into the system, again block off the vent terminals.

    Not really much special equipment, however, if there are special adapters available for those tests (there probably are), you should be able to get one (probably have to order it) at a real plumbing supply store (not the Big Box stores). Of course, though, if you were to do this frequently, you could use a specially adapted blower for it.



    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-04-2009 at 10:01 AM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    R Gann's Avatar
    R Gann Guest

    Default Re: DWV testing

    Jerry, I have seen the equipment that will produce the smoke, but it was many years ago. Would you have any idea or know someone that could tell me where to find it?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: DWV testing

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: DWV testing

    Instrument Depot: Water Quality Instruments: Superior Smoke Generators
    is a source for smoke bombs.
    I have seen an electric smoke generator that used an oil product but I have no idea where to locate the equipment.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
    R Gann's Avatar
    R Gann Guest

    Default Re: DWV testing

    THANKS Jerry, and Jim.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: DWV testing

    Interesting (to me at least) article about smoke testing from 1899.
    Danger From Poor Plumbing 1899

    Date Article Posted 03/15/2007
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    To the Editor of The New York Times:

    During the past five years, while personally superintending some of the finest plumbing work, such as that of Grant's Monument and the Flower Hospital, I have carefully studied the sanitary conditions in New York City, and I feel that a plain statement of facts may improve matters considerably.
    Great progress has been made within the past ten years in the plumber's trade, so that well-designed plumbing, properly constructed by competent mechanics, paid by day's work, will stand any honest test. But in most cases, especially in the showy apartment houses now being built by speculators, the competition is keen, work is done hurriedly, and not over carefully, on a contract basis the main object of realizing a profit. The result is inferior work, which may stand the unsatisfactory peppermint test required by the Building Department, but will not stand a fair and honest smoke test.
    The plumbing work of a building consists of several main from pipes through which all waste water passes off from a small branch connection for each plumbing fixture. These mains are made of five-foot lengths joined together with molten lead. The metal of the main pipes expands and contracts with the varying temperature permitting the joints to become loose and defective; and while the waste water may not leak out, sewer gas will surely pass through these defects and into the living rooms.

    It is true that the Board of Health is well organized and ever ready to preserve the public health by means of its tenement, school, factory, and offensive trade inspection, and its contagious disease and shipping regulations. It is, however, also true that the introduction of improved sanitary appliances and the careful inspection of high-class residence and apartment property receive practically no official attention. The Health Department gratuitously makes an inspection or a peppermint test of plumbing work where a complaint is filed by a citizen, and will compel the owner to make repairs found necessary as a result of the inspection. The peppermint test used by the Board of Health is applied by pouring two ounces of oil of peppermint with a bucket of hot water down through the open pipes on the roof. If an odor of peppermint is detected in any room of the building so tested, it is supposed that a defect exists in the plumbing of that room, and the owner is notified, giving him but a vague idea of what repairs he is to make, and often putting him to unnecessary expense for ripping up floors and taking off plaster, whereas if the defect were exactly located and specified, it would mean a prompt remedy at alight expense. For the purpose of accurately locating defects in plumbing and drainage a scientific apparatus and improved form of smoke-testing machine has been recently devised. Its use is just now being adopted by sanitary engineers and high-class plumbers, and with it the slightest escape of sewer gas can be quickly detected and the exact location of the minutest defect pointed out.

    The late Col. Waring was greatly interested in smoke testing, and in my presence he made quite a number of experiments, with the results of which he was highly elated. Had he lived he would have doubtless succeeded in introducing this apparatus for exclusive use by the Board of Health of this city, for me expressed himself to me in a manner which left no doubt in my mind.

    Householders as a rule are very careless about sanitary matters, especially in the way they close their homes up tight all Summer. While they are away the conditions inside their houses are often unspeakable. Wherever there is a plumbing fixture, washbowl, sink, &c.,) the water which seals the traps under them soon evaporates, leaving the traps open to the passage of sewer gas into the rooms.

    This dangerous gas saturates the tapestry, the absorbent plaster walls, carpets, bedding. &C. with the disease-breeding germs. When the family is about to return they have a little sweeping, dusting, and airing done, perhaps the day they are to arrive from the country, and when typhoid or diphtheria makes its appearance the cause of the sickness is wrongly attributed to the drinking water of the country resort or to the sudden change of climate. The same conditions obtain in the empty rooms of large apartment houses, and they cause the same deplorable results therein.

    To avert these dangers a few simple precautions are:

    First] Be sure that the plumbing is sound. This can be ascertained at any time by means of a smoke test applied by a competent plumber.

    Second] Have all the traps emptied of water and filled with a non-evaporating substance, such as glycerine, which will remain and prevent sewer gas from entering the rooms.

    Third] Have the heating flues cleaned out, as offensive dust is bound to accumulate therein.

    Fourth] Have the cellar swept clean and aired before returning home.

    Fifth] Have the windows and doors open for several days, so as to thoroughly air the house.

    Very often an extensive alteration of the plumbing is made during the Summer, and the work is finished without being subjected to a thorough test. Moreover, the plumber may not take the trouble to fill the new traps with glycerin, and he will simply turn on the water. The water in the new traps evaporates, the house is filled with sewer gas from the empty traps and the conditions are immeasurably worse than before the alterations were made. Fine-looking plumbing of the "modern sanitary" kind is not always sound. There any be deception and careless work under the tiling of the bathroom, and defects of this kind can only be detected by a properly applied smoke test.

    The Health Departments of Albany, Troy, Chicago, Baltimore, Yonkers, and many other cities have adopted the smoke test for their inspections, and I think that these cities are to be considered ahead of the great City of New York, at least in sanitary affairs.

    MILTON SCHNAIER

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  8. #8
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
    Jeff Remas Guest

    Default Re: DWV testing

    Most, if not all plastic DWV manufacturer's do not condone any type of air-pressure testing and prefer the water test using head pressure as it is a better test since the water molecules are smaller than the air molecules and it is a safer test.

    When plastic fails, it normally fails catastrophically and does not simply just crack.

    For safety reason, I would not use air pressure testing on plastic DWV systems, smoke or not.

    This issue is recognized in the 2006 IPC.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: DWV testing

    Around 10 years ago the city I was working for performed a smoke test over the entire city. They used forced smoke to determine where the problem areas (inflow and infiltration) were within the city. It was amazing to see just how many people called in stating that smoke was coming out from under their home.


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