using primer

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    • #278863
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        I heard using primer is important when installing pvc pipes (for sewer and vent). how can one tell if primer was used? how bad is it if it was not used? what is usual remedy for that?

      • #299456
        Avatar photofourth year

          Sewer and vents are not as critical as water lines since they are not under pressure. Usually the primer is applied high enough so that the purple band is visible above the hub. There is no remedy once it is joined together except replacing the fittings. If the inspector does not require primer then you are okay. If he does then you will have to redo the job.

        • #299457
          Avatar photoFrank Hiebert

            Sorry, but I wholeheartedly disagree with with the preceeding comments. The proper primer should be used in ALL pvc piping applications, irregardless of whether it is pressure or drain lines. There is a reason for everything…all lines are under pressure period. If it is not internal pressure in the pipe it may be external pressure from the ground, head pressure, soil movement etc. All of these factors will produce stress on the joints. Think about what would happen years later if someone had to snake ou that line. Is that not putting stess on the joint? The primer not only cleans the pipe it softens it just enough to greatly increase the glues bonding ability. If you ever had a problem down the road do you think the pvc manufacturer is going to have any sympathy for you if it was not installed according to their recommendations? CYA (cover your ass). As far as slopping primer all over the pipe so the inspecter can see it, this is hogwash and a sign of poor workmanship. Au contraire, there should be just enough primer on the pipe to fit the socket, no more no less, (another art us plumbers learn) and after the glue is applied and the bead wiped clean you are left with a perfect joint with only the grade markings of the pipe visible. The problem with exposed primer on the pipe is that these softspots will facilitate “creepage”, a problem with all buried plastic. As for the inspector that wants proof you used primer,…. shove his nose down to the pipe and tell him to take a whiff. As for an inspecter that allows pvc to be installed without primer, well he obviously will be looking for a job in the near future, and not as a plumber. If your gonna do it, do it right the first time, goodluck.

            Frank Hiebert
            3rd yr apprentice
            Edmonton, Alberta

          • #299458
            Avatar photoRichard

              You should ALWAYS use primer with PVC. Besides cleaning the bonding site, it also dissolves a small amount of the PVC and roughens it so the glue can get deeper in. The compounds in the primer (cyclohexanone, cyclohexane, acetone, and other VOC’s) are dirt cheap, and are usually considered a waste product of many synthetic reactions.
              Not using primer is akin to not using flux before you solder copper fittings and tubing.

              Another thing” Cheaper is rarely better. It may save you a few cents not to use primer, but what is your time worth when you have leaks, and damaged caused by leaks to objects in the area of the leak.

              In the lab I tell everyone “You can have it fast, cheap or done right. The 3 are mutually exclusive”. They go for the right job every time.

              The Friendly Chemist

            • #299459
              Avatar photoRichard

                Plumbob: you hit the nail right on the head. Younger chemists do the same thing. The think that if its legal, than it must be OK. A lot of plumbers do water quality testing, and they use simple dip sticks since it is within the limits allowable per DEP regulations. I refuse to use those dipsticks, I rather go with wet-chemical extractions and titrations. Yes, my way costs more, but anything that is in drinking water should be expressed in the parts-per-million range, not just % which is legal.

                I think helpers go the quick and (what they think) cheaper way out of laziness crossed with a shoddy work ethic. I never hear anyone complain about prices if the right job is done. If they get the job done cheap, they always run into problems (legal, loss of reputation, etc). It takes years to build up a reputation in any trade, but that reputation can be destroyed by a single case of “4th year mentality”.

                The Friendly Chemist

              • #299460
                Avatar photoJohn Aldrich1


                  As a regular contributor to this bulletin board, I would like to give you my perception of the responses you have received answering your original inquiry.

                  I am not a Plumber, but have been “PRIMING and GLUEING” PVC Pipes, and Fittings together to accomplish the installation of many septic systems for the past 25 years.

                  Fourth year is the only respondent who actually answered the questions that you asked. HE DOES NOT ADVOCATE JOINING PVC PIPE AND FITTINGS WITHOUT THE USE OF PRIMER!!!

                  He merely states that if you are faced with an inspection of a drain and vent system, and you suspect the fittings were installed without the use of primer, it may not be a problem if local codes allow that practice.

                  Some jurisdictions allow the use of clear primer, and this may be the case in your situation. If local codes require that
                  “colored Primer” be visible, then fourth year advises “then you will have to redo the job.”

                  If the joints were not carefully fitted, and glued, then they may fail some time in the future if subjected to substantial pressure differentials, but if the joints are properly fitted, and adequately glued, then they may not fail when subjected to high pressures.

                  Frank Hiebert, “Wholeheartily disagrees” with fourth year’s comments. I think Frank misinterpreted fourth year’s comments. I respect his professionalism, his understanding of the importance of using proper techniques in glueing PVC Pipes and Fittings, and his “do it right the first time” attitude.

                  In a perfect world, every PVC Pipe joint, and Fitting should be cleaned, primed, and glued. Well, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes we have to take what we are handed.

                  As for the balance of the respondents, they did not even attempt to answer your questions. In fact their responses were not even addressed to you, nor were they relavent to your inquiry. Instead, they launced a personal attack, laced with mindless name-calling, on the person of fourth year, the only guy that truly answered your question.

                  I believe that these guys think that this Bulletin Board should serve as a soapbox from which they can express their views, and beliefs about every issue under the sun. Well, I guess they have that right if the Bulletin Board monitor allows this practice to occur.

                  I think that the purpose of the Bulletin Board is for you to obtain answers to your inquiries. I also think that you do not care about the issues that were contained in 5 of the 7 responses to your inquiry. JWA

                • #299461
                  Avatar photoLorenzo

                    No John,
                    I don’t approve of this board being used as a “soap box”. This Bulletin Board is designed to answer questions and further enhance our plumbing industry without unecessary censorship.


                  • #299462
                    Avatar photofourth year

                      Finally someone who can read, and more surprisingly not only reads but also understands what they are reading. That seems to be a lost art on the plumbing board these days. Either someone asks a simple question and gets page after page of technical data that does not even apply to their situation or venom is poured out on anyone who gives advice that they do not agree with. But Frank is basking in Sylvan’s praise, and thus may not be what he purports to be either.

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