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Buried ABS at Pool


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I have ABS installed for my in-ground pool (not my choice) and the fitting or joints are cracking and the clamps are rusting apart and have come/coming apart….without MAJOR $ and replacing the entire pipe system is there a way to repair the union via means PVC or are ABS unions and elbows still made? I still have a lot of cement to break up either way and dig down several feet.

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OK let me be a little more clear...I have an older home with an in ground pool that had broken and cracked joints made of/with ABS with a large poured concrete surface around the pool area. I have to start digging out the area that I believe where the joints have failed because of pressure testing failures on the ABS lines buried therein. I have potentially identified four areas that seem to fit typical installation patterns and where a radius is needed. Is there any adhesive that will repair the union and elbows or join ABS to PVC or do they still make ABS joints?

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I have ABS installed for my in-ground pool (not my choice) and the fitting or joints are cracking and the clamps are rusting apart and have come/coming apart….without MAJOR $ and replacing the entire pipe system is there a way to repair the union via means PVC or are ABS unions and elbows still made? I still have a lot of cement to break up either way and dig down several feet.

I have only questions.

I've never heard of ABS pipe being used for water distribution, only for drain, waste, & vent applications. Is it common to use ABS pipe for in-ground pools?

Up here, ABS is the material of choice for DWV systems. It's available in a full range of appropriate sizes with a full range of DWV fittings to go with it.

I don't know much about in-ground pools, but digging several feet down next to such a pool seems like a really, really bad idea to me, especially if the pool is full of water at the time.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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OK let me be a little more clear...I have an older home with an in ground pool that had broken and cracked joints made of/with ABS with a large poured concrete surface around the pool area. I have to start digging out the area that I believe where the joints have failed because of pressure testing failures on the ABS lines buried therein. I have potentially identified four areas that seem to fit typical installation patterns and where a radius is needed. Is there any adhesive that will repair the union and elbows or join ABS to PVC or do they still make ABS joints?

ABS cement is readily available for joining ABS to ABS. If you want to joint ABS to PVC, get a product called "transition cement."

If some of your ABS pipes or fittings have failed, the others will probably fail in the future. If it were me, and I were planning on digging things up, I'd just replace all of the piping with PVC.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Would it be possible to 'pull' another pipe through the existing ABS?

There are alternate repair methods that involve pulling a sock through the pipe, and injecting a hardener to form a patch on the inside of the pipe, which might be too cost prohibitive for your application.

It's really difficult to offer an opinion without photos and detailed information.

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Hi,

I'd wondered about using ABS for supply as well. For a pool, it's constantly circulating heavily chlorinated water, no? Are there issues with scouring of ABS when it' used under pressure with chlorinated water?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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ABS is code allowed for water distribution but it must have a marking on it designating that the pipe is pressure rated ("PR"). It will also have the NSF 61 marking on it.

As to the ABS pipe itself, in this area (DFW) it is almost impossible to find ABS now. Apparently ABS was in use over 15 years ago, but was phased out because of problems with the heat down here. I was told by older plumbers that during summer it was frequently someone's job to go out and turn the ABS so that it would not bend from the heat while it was on the truck's rack.

If the piping is ABS then you will have to find some abs to pvc cement. It will be specifically marked for this purpose (Hercules cement for this purpose has a brown label and says ABS/PVC cement). Check a plumbing supply store (not Home Depot or Lowes).

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ABS is code allowed for water distribution but it must have a marking on it designating that the pipe is pressure rated ("PR"). It will also have the NSF 61 marking on it.

Which code allows ABS for water distribution? Neither the IRC nor the UPC seems to list it.

As to the ABS pipe itself, in this area (DFW) it is almost impossible to find ABS now. Apparently ABS was in use over 15 years ago, but was phased out because of problems with the heat down here. I was told by older plumbers that during summer it was frequently someone's job to go out and turn the ABS so that it would not bend from the heat while it was on the truck's rack.

That sounds like an apocryphal story. Most summers we see temperatures in the low 100s for at least a few days each year. We use ABS nearly exclusively for DWV installations and I've never heard of anyone having to turn it. Now it does sometimes arrive at the job site a little wavy but if it's installed correctly the distortion should dissappear once it's been secured in place.

If the piping is ABS then you will have to find some abs to pvc cement. It will be specifically marked for this purpose (Hercules cement for this purpose has a brown label and says ABS/PVC cement). Check a plumbing supply store (not Home Depot or Lowes).

Yes, but you have to look out for multi-purpose cement, it also says ABS/PVC on it. That kind can be used for ABS or for PVC, but it isn't meant to connect one to the other. The proper product has the word, "transition" on the label. And they actually do sell it at both Home Depot and Lowes.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I have ABS installed for my in-ground pool (not my choice) and the fitting or joints are cracking and the clamps are rusting apart and have come/coming apart….without MAJOR $ and replacing the entire pipe system is there a way to repair the union via means PVC or are ABS unions and elbows still made? I still have a lot of cement to break up either way and dig down several feet.

If it has "fittings" with "clamps", I'm thinking it's not ABS. I'll bet it's HDPE (high density polyethylene), commonly used for well water supply and irrigation.

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I think Kibbel is correct. That's what was used around my pool originally. As problems developed I switched to flexible pvc and have had no further problems. The original connectors were a nylon type material that disintegrated from the chlorine.

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If it has "fittings" with "clamps", I'm thinking it's not ABS. I'll bet it's HDPE (high density polyethylene), commonly used for well water supply and irrigation.

Might it also be polypropylene? At that first link provided by Brandon, there's this (underlining is mine):

Older pipe and clamp systems also use black pipe but this is rarely ABS material. The black pipe used with clamp style fittings is a polypropolyne pipe that was industry standard for many years. Poly pipe has a "memory" since it is semi-rigid and comes in a big coil so poly plumbing runs tend to be curved.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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ABS is allowed for water service pipe by the IPC on table 605.3. My old UPC 97 code book has it listed in the Manditory Referenced Standards section under Water Service.

As for the ABS turning story, I have no confirmation but I have dealt with certain pipes that will wilt in the sun (the one I am thinking of is a current type of acid waste piping system). I am certain that in the DFW area that I have not seen ABS pipe, cement or fittings at a supply house (much less an installation using it) in at least ten years. I don't know the reason, but it does not seem to be used down here anymore.

And I agree that the pool installation mentioned in this thread is almost certainly not ABS.

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ABS is allowed for water service pipe by the IPC on table 605.3. My old UPC 97 code book has it listed in the Manditory Referenced Standards section under Water Service.

Well, of course. That's not "distribution" it's "service" or "supply" (depending on the code). I've never seen a code that allowed ABS for distribution.

As for the ABS turning story, I have no confirmation but I have dealt with certain pipes that will wilt in the sun (the one I am thinking of is a current type of acid waste piping system). I am certain that in the DFW area that I have not seen ABS pipe, cement or fittings at a supply house (much less an installation using it) in at least ten years. I don't know the reason, but it does not seem to be used down here anymore.

And I agree that the pool installation mentioned in this thread is almost certainly not ABS.

Yes. There are large regions of the country, maybe most of the country, where ABS simply isn't used. Sometimes newer inspectors around here run into a DWV system plumbed with PVC. They call me in a panic, "I just inspected a house where the entire DWV system was plumbed with PVC!!!!!!!! Can you believe that dumbass plumber?" I have to let them down gently.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Wrong choice of word on "distribution". My apologies.[:-ouch]

Oh, sure, apologize. First you build up my hopes only to dash them on the rocks of despair.

Ha! Men! You're all the same.

(oh, wait a minute, that's my wife's line . . . )

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