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Tom Breslawski

Rubber connector

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Received an email from a client today; I called out this rubber Fernco connector (on the elbow) for being subject to failure (especially since the PVC is clearly cut too short). It runs from the laundry basin, through a Liberty pump and to the soil stack at the right.

The plumber who installed it said; "it is a Fernco coupling that is widely accepted by plumbing contractors and municipalities, leak proof, rot proof, chemical and UV resistant, etc. Contact me with any additional concerns." Then he included a link to the Fernco website. I also received a message that he said "everyone does it this way and its legal and up to code. He has been doing plumbing for 30+ plus years and never had one fail".

I didn't think that these type of connectors were "legal and up to code" and I'm kind of surprised that a plumber would defend this kind of work.

Are they up to code?

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tn_201734184528_IMG_5761.jpg

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They're allowed in my area. We're on the UPC and 705.1.6 seems to say that they're allowed.

The only question I'd have is whether or not attaching it to the hub of the elbow is appropriate. Honestly, though, if I saw that during an inspection and it wasn't leaking and it looked and felt secure, I'd just keep going without even making a note.

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I agree with Jim, that is a non-issue.

In an old basement, you will see improvised hookups, especially matching metal to PVC. Fernco connectors are a standard way to make those transitions.

There are some Ferncos that have metal mesh outer jackets, but those are straight coupling, no reduction in size. In new construction, they are used to connect cast iron pipe, such as in condos where plastic is not allowed, fire codes.

That is drains only, not water lines under pressure.

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Hummm. Getting shot down here, lol.

Thank you guys. My other concern with this one was the elbow fitting being installed on the hub (as Jim K mentioned) and the fitting being bent to compensate for the discharge pipe being cut too short.

So other than that, it looks like the plumber was right. I had always understood it that the stainless steel Fernco fittings were the only ones that were acceptable.

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!

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Hi Tom,

Rubber fittings are not permitted(Table P3002.3).

The fitting also reduces the diameter as the diameter was increased at hub.

Also don't forget that NYS does not license plumbers. Any license the guy claims to have is a municipal contractor license. Tell your client to request an opinion from the municipal code inspector. He or she is the AHJ not the guy that did it wrong for 30 years.

I can't wait till Chad chimes in!

Tom Corrigan

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Thanks for the info Tom!

I've been searching the plumbing code and couldn't find these rubber fittings anywhere. Figured I was missing something.

Haven't contacted my client or the plumber yet. Still taking in info and formulating my response. I'm going to hold off until Monday and make sure to get Chad's opinion before I respond.

Hi Tom,

Rubber fittings are not permitted(Table P3002.3).

The fitting also reduces the diameter as the diameter was increased at hub.

Also don't forget that NYS does not license plumbers. Any license the guy claims to have is a municipal contractor license. Tell your client to request an opinion from the municipal code inspector. He or she is the AHJ not the guy that did it wrong for 30 years.

I can't wait till Chad chimes in!

Tom Corrigan

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Fernco fittings are UPC approved and marked as such for use on drainage systems, are not made of rubber but elastomeric polyvinylchloride, and meet the ASTM standard C564 (https://www.fernco.com/sites/default/fi ... mittal.pdf) as called for in the 2012 IRC section P3003.6.3.

However, make sure to look for the UPC code on the label, there are some imitations showing up that are not approved.

The workmanship of the installation is another question though.

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Fernco fittings are UPC approved and marked as such for use on drainage systems, are not made of rubber but elastomeric polyvinylchloride, and meet the ASTM standard C564 (https://www.fernco.com/sites/default/fi ... mittal.pdf) as called for in the 2012 IRC section P3003.6.3.

However, make sure to look for the UPC code on the label, there are some imitations showing up that are not approved.

The workmanship of the installation is another question though.

Section P3003.6.3 deals with couplings. The op was asking about the "elbow fitting".

Fitting material must comply with Table P3002.3.

Am I reading the wrong?

Tom Corrigan

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If easily accessible, I would ignore any code questions in my report. They call them hubless fittings around here and it is an awesome way to save time connecting drain pipe. If there is a problem/failure, fixing it is a breeze.

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In the strictest sense, the installation isn't compliant because as others have pointed out, the Fernco isn't designed to go over the hub, there is a reduction in diameter in the direction of flow, it isn't listed as a connection method,the connector is designed for gravity systems with a maximum pressure rating of around 4 psi. Clearly, a *plumber* isn't responsible for the installation.

The photo doesn't include backflow prevention or venting- was there any?

Fernco's website states that many municipalities and AHJ's accept these connectors but they do not go so far as to say they're code compliant.

As Jim said, there are usually bigger fish to fry, but if the issue exemplified fubar plumbing throughout, it'd make the report.

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Thanks Chad. There was no venting or backflow prevention on this installation either. I was surprised that a "plumber" would take credit for it and defend it.

In the strictest sense, the installation isn't compliant because as others have pointed out, the Fernco isn't designed to go over the hub, there is a reduction in diameter in the direction of flow, it isn't listed as a connection method,the connector is designed for gravity systems with a maximum pressure rating of around 4 psi. Clearly, a *plumber* isn't responsible for the installation.

The photo doesn't include backflow prevention or venting- was there any?

Fernco's website states that many municipalities and AHJ's accept these connectors but they do not go so far as to say they're code compliant.

As Jim said, there are usually bigger fish to fry, but if the issue exemplified fubar plumbing throughout, it'd make the report.

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Not great workmship, but does not look like much of a problem. I would also question (and probably note) the use of the connector on the hub of the elbow.

The link below indicates they are approved for use on plain-end pipe. One ASTM standard applies to underground installation. The report says above ground use is subject to approval by the AHJ.

http://www.icc-es-pmg.org/Listing_Direc ... 1117.pdfan

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The op wrote that he called out "the rubber Fernco fitting (on the elbow)" and I was pointing out that the Fernco is not rubber, it is a flexible PVC ( elastomeric polyvinylchloride), bears the UPC stamp of approval - it is on the label, and is allowed by the aforementioned table of materials and subsequent paragraphs. The plumber in this case is correct in the choice of materials. The workmanship is the issue, not the material.

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Fernco fittings are UPC approved and marked as such for use on drainage systems, are not made of rubber but elastomeric polyvinylchloride, and meet the ASTM standard C564 (https://www.fernco.com/sites/default/fi ... mittal.pdf) as called for in the 2012 IRC section P3003.6.3.

However, make sure to look for the UPC code on the label, there are some imitations showing up that are not approved.

The workmanship of the installation is another question though.

Section P3003.6.3 deals with couplings. The op was asking about the "elbow fitting".

Fitting material must comply with Table P3002.3.

Am I reading the wrong?

Tom Corrigan

Aren't the things in the picture couplings?

For everyone who thinks that the use of Fernco couplings here is wrong: How else would you transition from the copper pipes to the PVC pipes?

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Sorry Jim and all.

Senior moment. Thought I was commenting on a rubber fitting not a coupling. Shit, it a good thing I'm retired.

Once again, "oops".

Tom Corrigan

Well, if it's any consolation, I was expecting you to come up with a slick reason as to why it was actually a fitting. . . .

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On 3/6/2017 at 3:13 PM, Trent Tarter said:

I would not call that out. How else would you connect copper to PVC? Many times in older homes there are things that are not quite perfect but are acceptable.

A no hub transition fitting would be legal around omaha,a fernco is not though.

It would have to be used underground,past the footing in omaha.

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On 3/5/2017 at 10:10 AM, Jim Baird said:

My plumber friend calls those "no-hub" connectors, for making difficult connections between old cast iron and new PVC DWV pipes.

Those are not no-hub couplings,They'e fernco.

These are no hub couplings.

sc-nohub-main.jpg

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