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Piping Failures in luxury Seattle high rise

Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Posts: 3,212Member

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,050Member
    The company I used to work for got on the Aquatherm bandwagon a few years back. Difficult to manage the fusion equipment in sizes larger than 2". I have only installed a small amount of it myself.

    They (my old company) had a few failures. Did a complete renovation of a hot water heating system in a giant high school with it. Every size up to 6". From what I saw it was all installation related. I think the product is tough as nails if installed right.

    Problem is:
    expansion contraction
    the stuff is big $$$
    Fittings not readily available (in spite of what the sales people say.
    Needs a ton of hangers
    Buying or renting the fusion equipment

    6" if I remember correctly needs hangers every 3' (or less)if run at "normal" heating temperatures of 180 deg

    I am guessing it's all installation related
  • info43info43 Posts: 50Member
    Lol. I googled Aquatherm and the first video i saw has Dan in it. https://youtube.com/watch?v=sNbTkWF_Bro
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Posts: 894Member
    My son was just telling me about this yesterday.I don't know what the tenants problems are about having to get kicked out during the day. I mean, if they were actually paying a lot of money for the places, then they could maybe be a little more upset. I mean, they are only paying $3200 per month. What else would you expect for something this cheap, right? ;)
    The place I am staying at is less than a mile away. I wonder if they need any help with this. Maybe a little sideline work. Give me something to do. :*
    Rick
  • DanInNapervilleDanInNaperville Posts: 24Member
    Since it's polypropylene (which is what the site says it is) it should be every bit as good with chlorinated water (halogens) as polybutylene. https://www.professionalplastics.com/professionalplastics/ChemicalResistanceChartofPlastics.pdf
    Of course, many insurers will refuse to insure a house with polybutylene piping since they pretty reliably burst at between 5 and 30 years.
    The phrase "run screaming" comes to mind...
    :smile:
  • Steve Ebels_3Steve Ebels_3 Posts: 1,290Member
    Do my old "Wall" ears detect faint echos of Ken Secor extoling the virtues of copper piping for ALL uses? ;)
  • Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Posts: 3,212Member
    No, I'm only interested in why the system or piping failed.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,785Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Copper is failing on Long Island and no one knows exactly why.
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,866Member

    Copper is failing on Long Island and no one knows exactly why.

    And pex has been know to fail under certain conditions, hot, over chlorinated water constantly circulating for example.

    I'd suggest chronic failures lead one to believe the fluid and materials are not 100% compatible.

    Assuming the product was properly selected, sized and installed.

    Water, the universal solvent :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • TimtheplumberTimtheplumber Posts: 1Member
    PPR pipe has limitations. Make sure you install it per recommended plastic pipe institute guidelines. Be careful with high flow rates, hot water over 140 degrees Fahrenheit and copper ion's in PPR systems. Be careful of using boilers with copper heat exchangers in a PPR hot water system.
    https://plasticpipe.org/pdf/tn-57.pdf
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,199Member
    There are lead pipes in Rome which the Romans put in, 2000 or so years ago... and they're still OK... but they are lead. Sorry.
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,785Member, Moderator, Administrator
    But look what happened to them, Jamie. ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 942Member
    I am also wondering why it failed.

    I'm also curious if anyone has any experience with the Aquatech pipe that is similar to the Aquatherm. Have there been similar issues? Can the two be mixed or used together?

    The article above is the first I hear of such failures. Not pushing the "Panic" button. Just want to know.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,288Member

    Do my old "Wall" ears detect faint echos of Ken Secor extoling the virtues of copper piping for ALL uses? ;)

    Except for steam, that is. I miss Ken.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,359Member
    Blame the engineer. I can plumb four floor buildings. But no idea how to do fourteen floor let alone forty. Why aren't there enough shut-offs so that one doesn't need to evacuate whole building for repairs or modifications?
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,105Member
    Well, it's engineered right, and there's no possibility of any failure, so isolation valves are just an unnecessary expenditure.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,199Member
    ratio said:

    Well, it's engineered right, and there's no possibility of any failure, so isolation valves are just an unnecessary expenditure.

    How's that again? I hope that's meant as a joke! If it's engineered right, there are isolation valves. If there aren't isolation valves, it's not engineered right.
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,105Member
    Yes, a joke; I was making fun of the engineers who are invincibly certain that any problem is an installation issue.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,199Member
    Actually high rise buildings are a fascinating engineering challenge when it comes to the plumbing. There are a number of ingenious ways to ensure that the pressures on all floors are at least vaguely reasonable -- but none of them are particularly simple (on the other hand, I've seen some outrageously complex solutions, too...)
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,359Member

    Copper is failing on Long Island and no one knows exactly why.

    In the good old days copper was copper and water was water. In modern times,say the last fifty years,particular copper was specified for particular water. But then the water changed. Sometimes only cold ate copper;sometimes only hot water did,and sometimes the new water ate both.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,785Member, Moderator, Administrator
    We had most of the copper in the house replaced recently when we redid the kitchen and downstairs bath. We left just what is in the boiler room. This green spot wasn't there last a few months ago. Copper and Long Island do not get along well.

    Retired and loving it.
  • ScottSecorScottSecor Posts: 311Member
    edited May 6
    Dan, I remember some of your copper piping woes over the years. If I recall, the original copper tubing lasted about fifty years without issues, is this correct? I'm guessing that water chemistry may have changed over the years in your area (same may be true for many areas) and these changes may have a negative impact on the copper?

    For what it's worth, we've worked on at least two hundred homes, businesses, schools, apartment buildings and churches in my town here in NJ. Every one of them have copper for domestic hot and cold water supplies. Very few, if any have developed leaks that I know of. However, in my own house a 28 year old section of copper that I installed 28 years ago, was removed when I relocated boiler and indirect two years ago. It had a blueish tint to in on the inside, almost turquoise in color. What's really odd, is this is the first time I've ever noticed this bluish tint on copper pipe in our town. I am very aware that in recent years our city water often smells like bleach. I am often reminded by the family that the water tastes salty in the winter months and "leaves a film" on your body after showering.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,785Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @ScottSecor, we do have a toxic plume in the aquifer under our houses that the water folks are heavily treating with chemicals. I suspect that has something to do with the copper problems since it's in the domestic pipes and not the heating pipes. But that old copper still lives on without problems, so there's also that.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,785Member, Moderator, Administrator
    I haven’t, @Larry Weingarten. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • KuertchenKuertchen Posts: 5Member
    Trenton, NJ- Copper is failing, old, new, "L", "M" on both domestic hot and cold. Municipal systems water treatment seems to be a cause, and I am confident that a bad grounding system will also contribute to it.
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