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Safety Recall - Z-vent in British Columbia, Canada

SpeyFitter
SpeyFitter Member Posts: 422
The British Columbia Safety Authority who regulates & inspects Gas & Boiler (and Electrical) installations in BC has just issued a safety recall for Z-vent Stainless Steel Vent Pipe, which is manufacturered by the Novaflex group. This is a AL294C Stainless Steel Vent Pipe.  Here is a link to the recall: <a href="http://www.safetyauthority.ca/files/Flexmaster.pdf">http://www.safetyauthority.ca/files/Flexmaster.pdf</a>
Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber

Comments

  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Ouch!!!

    There is a LOT of Z vent out there that was used to replace the defective Plex Vent systems...



    Doesn't bode well. If memory serves me correctly, their seal and elbows incorporated a silicone seal (reddish orange). I wonder when the CPSC here in the US of A will recall it, or if Z Vent will voluntairily recall it themselves.



    Bad news. THanks for sharing Scott.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SpeyFitter
    SpeyFitter Member Posts: 422
    It hits home too...

    I had a job last year where we installed 2 Lochinvar Knight KBN 399's in place of a million BTUH behemoth and the 2 gas fired tanks were replaced with 2 Indirects. The Main Gas company in BC has a rebate program and they have some rules on how to get the rebates, but it wasn't clear, so I called them. The meatball (I use that term nicely) on the other end said we couldn't get the rebates unless we used stainless steel venting. I inquired as to why, since CPVC was cheaper, code & manufacturer approved, and easier to source as well, and he didn't have an answer for me. So I had to find a stainless steel vent to use. I selected Z-vent after some research, mainly because it was made in Canada, as well as  you can field cut it to the length you need if the piece you order is too long.

    Well on an initial 4 month service to check the boilers before the bulk of the heating season I noticed one of the 8 - 90's we installed was leaking a bit of condensate through the seams. I then found another one shortly thereafter - 2 of the 8 - 90's (25%!). I had recalled the Lochinvar rep mentioning something shortly after the installation last year that the Gas Safety Authority was going after Z-vent for this but didn't think that much of it at the time. I contacted the Novaflex/Z-vent rep who said "Oh, you must have the  OLD 90's, we have new ones." I said "old ones? we bought them and installed them less than 6 monthes ago...." Anyways, he supplied us with new fully welded 90's where we replaced the original ones. But the recall says that it's also the connections system they may have had failures with.  So it'll be interesting to see if we'll have to replace the entire system. And if it wasn't for the bloody Gas company who specified stainless steel to get the rebates we woudn't have had this problem (I accidently called a contact of mine at IPEX to let them know of the Gas Company rebate programs preferences, they were told by the same meatball I dealt with that they were getting around to changing it.....interesting). Anyways, there's my rant.

    And like you said Mark, it'll be interesting to see what happens in other jurisdictions on top of what they are finally required to do to fix their problems.
    Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    Question

    If this vent pipe, which is basically the reg z-vent we all have used, is on our shelves is not performing in Canada, then why is it performing here in the states? Or has nobody tested it like our friends in Canada have?

    I'm going to call them and find out.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Actually...

    I have seen it (elbows only, no straight connectors) leaking in the field, and just assumed it was a fluke, and dabbed some more RTV silicone on it to clear up the problem. Guess I took a big bite out of the liability sandwich by doing that, but I already did that by using their product in the first place....



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,166
    Mark I have done the same

    I thought I had not got it quite square when I tightened it up. I will be watching to see how this unfolds for sure.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    Mark

    I called the NH headquaters and spoke with tech. He did disclose thay they had a problem with elbows in the past and that the problem had been rectified some time ago. He was however, unaware of the Canadian Recall in April. I actually e-mailed tech a copy of the recall.



    I posed 2 questions to them. Was this recall isolated to a particular batch or mfg run?  Why wouldn't I as a wholesaler expect failures here in the US when Canada is experiencing a 25% failure rate based on this recall notice? He was going to get back to me with a anwser.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 979
    Venting

    FYI The Knights can be vented in Canada with S636 regular PVC. Some of the people in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan have problems with plastic venting. It is a better material when installed properly than AL29-4C. We have had numerous leaks with not only Z vent but with other manufacturer's fittings. The material is extremely hard to weld. We have had cap and elbows that leaked from a month to years later. At least it is easy to spot as the outside of the vent discolours.



    Voting member of the national gas code as well as several sub-com ncluding venting.



    Henry
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Any update on this issue?

    I realize the gubernmint moves like molasses at zero degree temperatures,,



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Mike123
    Mike123 Member Posts: 1
    Z-Vent answers

    Hi, this is Mike from Flexmaster. I saw this post and wanted to answer some of the questions that have been raised here.

    There is no recall on any Flexmaster products. There is a Safety Order that applies to British Columbia. We are cooperating with BC Safety and are confident that all their questions will be resolved shortly.

    The questions that led to issuance of the Safety Order are related to installation, and not to the manufacture of our products. All venting systems, whether manufactured by Flexmaster or any other manufacturer rely on proper installation to function.

    Our installation instructions highlight key points for the proper installation of our products. All of our installation instructions are shipped with our products and can be found online at:

    [u][size=12][color=#0000ff]http://www.novaflex.com/information_centre/zflex/02Z-Vent%20Commercial/Z-Vent%20Commercial%20Installation%20Guide_Updated%204.29.10.pdf[/color][/size][/u]

    [size=12]We are always happy to work with installers to answer any questions. Our customer service can be reached at 416.679.0045.[/size]
  • SpeyFitter
    SpeyFitter Member Posts: 422
    edited June 2010
    clarification

    Hey Mike,

    I'm wondering if you can clarify for me - the Z-vent 90's I had trouble with were leaking at the seams (not the gear clamp joint/connection with the pipe). The Z-vent 90's we were sent as a replacement were fully welded. Can you comment or provide clarification on this?

    Also, if the sheer magnitude of Z-vent "failures" was indeed installer error, can you speculate as to why other stainless steel vent pipe manufacturers are not included in this recall? Would it then be fair to say that the reason Z-vent has had a safety recall in BC where others have not is because it is not as installer friendly?

    I want to make it clear that in the safety recall it points to (2) TWO areas where there are issues - leaking fittings from the seams of the fittings, and leaking connections where the pipe meets the fittings. Are both issues due to o installer error?
    Class 'A' Gas Fitter - Certified Hydronic Systems Designer - Journeyman Plumber
  • Leo_G
    Leo_G Member Posts: 89
    Mike

    , thanx for taking the time to update us on this issue.
This discussion has been closed.

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