Plumbing Chemicals Guide

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PVC Primer and ÿCement oh my!

A good majority of the plumbing projects done in the home or commercially require some type of chemical to be used. From bonding agents to cleaners, from cutting oils to solder pastes they are all chemical in nature and if not used properly can be harmful to the installer or end user. Here are some common plumbing chemicals, their descriptions and how they are handled properly.

?PVC primer is used to clean the plastic of any dirt, it also softens the plastic to ensure a better bond between pipe and fitting. Some times the plumbing code in an area requires the primer to be colored purple as evidence of use. Here are some tips to use when applying primer.

Wear gloves when applying primer. Primer is not super caustic but it will cause irritation with prolonged exposure.Wear eye protection when using PVC primer. Primer causes intense burning and irritation of the eyes and eye lids. I repeat wear eye protection when using.

Use in a well ventilated area. It has a fairly strong ether like smell and is highly combustible so keep it away from open flames. Here is a practical piece of advice. If you are doing PVC waste and vent piping in a small area like a crawl space and you have to use a torch to solder copper water piping make sure to use a fan to move the air around.

?PVC cement is used in conjunction with PVC primer to glue together PVC pipe and fittings. If installed correctly the joint made with the primer and cement will be stronger than the pipe itself. You apply the cement with a round brush (usually in the can) in a circular motion coating both the pipe and fitting. There are roughly 4 different types of PVC cement. There are more but these are the ones that are used the majority of the time.

REGULAR BODIED (Clear) ? This cement can be used on schedule 40 PVC through 4? diameter when used with schedule 80 PVC pipe and fittings. This cement is most effective when used between the temperature range of 40 degrees and 100 degrees.

REGULAR BODIED (Clear) ? This cement can be used on schedule 40 PVC through 4? diameter when used with schedule 80 PVC pipe and fittings. This cement is most effective when used between the temperature range of 40 degrees and 100 degrees.
MEDIUM BODIED (Clear) ? This cement is recommended be used on PVC through 6? diameter on all classes and schedules of PVC pipe and fittings. It?s effective working temperature is the same as the above.
HEAVY BODIED (Clear) ? This cement is recommended for all classes and schedules of PVC pipe and fittings through 12? diameter pipe and fittings. Because of it?s strength it can be used for gas piping, irrigation and electrical conduit piping. It?s effective working temperature is the same as the above cements.
COLD WEATHER CEMENT (Clear) ? This cement id recommended for use on all classes and schedules of PVC through 6? diameter. It is formulated to be used effectively in temperatures as low as 5 degrees and will remain free flowing in temperatures as low as -15 degrees. The chemical manufacturers also do the working individuals a solid by making it set much quicker than the standard PVC cements. So you have less time to work with the pipe and fittings but who wants to be out in 5 degree weather putting PVC fittings together? Measure twice cut once!

Must be almost chemically inert. It has to have some corrosive properties to perform it job but it should be rendered almost chemically inactive after soldering takes place. It cannot continue to be corrosive to the piping because over time it could damage the pipe and possibly lead to a system failure.

Must not contain more than .2% lead conforming to the 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Must be almost chemically inert. It has to have some corrosive properties to perform it job but it should be rendered almost chemically inactive after soldering takes place. It cannot continue to be corrosive to the piping because over time it could damage the pipe and possibly lead to a system failure.
Must not contain more than .2% lead conforming to the 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The flux and any residual particles should be water soluble after soldering takes place.
Look for the ASTM B813 label on the flux you?re purchasing it covers most of the above information.
There shouldn?t be any toxic fumes released during the the soldering operation.
Obviously there should be no toxic substances left behind in the potable water system after the work is completed.
It should aid in the wetting action allowing the solder to flow uniformly into the joint being soldered.
It should protect the surfaces being soldered from re-oxidation.

The Safety hazards are the same as when using PVC primer. Wear protective safety glasses and gloves when handling.

It is worth mentioning that GORILLA PVC makes a unique two in one PVC/PRIMER in both clear and purple that obviously eliminates the step of using a primer by itself. The founder of the company wanted to develop a product that saved time but also did it?s part in saving the environment.

Gorilla PVC is non-flammable, almost no smell and has low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) which makes it Eco-Friendly. GORILLA PVC is a premium product, one can of Gorilla PVC will be similar in price to one can of standard PVC cement and one can of primer together. GORILLA PVC comes in 4oz, 8oz and 16oz cans. GORILLA PVC is committed to helping the environment by always offering Eco-Friendly products. A thanks goes out to GORILLA PVC for the info and the handy fliers featured below.

?OK there are a ton of fluxes out there and each manufacturer has their own unique products. The purpose of this article is to tell you what the product does, how it?s used and some of the dangers if not used properly, we will not go into every single soldering product on the market.

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Fluxes available for copper soldering are usually made of zinc chloride, some contain ammonium chloride with a petroleum base. Water soluble fluxes where introduced primary because if not all the petroleum flux is dissolved out of the joint by being burned out or washed away with system water it sits on the pipe and fittings and continues to be aggressive potentially causing a system failure.

There is a Gorilla in the Room

?Pipe thread sealants have several purposes. The first and most important is to fill in the imperfections of threaded pipe and fittings. If you cut a cross section of a threaded fitting connected to a threaded nipple you would be able to see the gaps in between threads. Pipe sealants fill in theses gaps.

The second but equally important function of pipe dope is it lubricates the pipe and fitting during assembly. Using a pipe thread sealant makes assembling threaded fittings quit a bit easier and if it is non seizing it remains fairly easy to take apart, even years after installation.

But My Buddy Says Teflon Tape is the Best for Pipe Threads

Pipe thread sealants have changed in the last 30 years, changes like adding PTFEÿpolytetrafluoroethylene, I know thats a mouth full however it is more recognizable when referring to it by it?s brand name Teflon. Traditionally the more PTFE inside the paste the better, however very recently Hercules has introduced Dupont Kevlar as an additive in their popular Megaloc pipe thread sealant.

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