Other Compatibility Topics

Updated: March 8, 2019
Supersedes: October 16, 2018

Primers, cleaners, and solvent cements containing appreciable amounts of acetone may cause rapid environmental stress cracking of CPVC metal insert parts during installation at freezing temperatures. Contact your primer/cleaner/solvent cement manufacturer for more information or recommendation of alternatives.

Crude glycerin from biodiesel manufacturing is not recommended for use as an antifreeze or heat transfer fluid in BlazeMaster, FlowGuard Gold, or Corzan CPVC piping systems. Crude glycerin from biodiesel manufacturing may be contaminated with the biodiesel, its intermediary chemicals, and/or waste products from the biodiesel manufacturing process. NFPA 13D calls for the use of USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) or CP (Chemically Pure) grades when glycerin is used as an antifreeze in fire sprinkler systems. For a listing of glycerin products that have been determined to be compatible with Lubrizol brand CPVC, refer to FBC System Compatible Program.

It is acceptable to use BlazeMaster pipe and fittings in Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) systems provided the product manufacturer has a listing. Chemical compatibility of the system components with CPVC should be confirmed with the ASD product manufacturer. If chemical fumes are anticipated in the aspirated air, compatibility with the chemicals in question should be confirmed. The ASD system should comply with all applicable codes and be installed per manufacturer's instructions.

While common ordinary soaps are not detrimental to CPVC, most modern dishwashing liquids contain synthetic detergents, some of which may cause environmental stress cracking of fittings. A mild ionic detergent solution to remove incompatible oils or chemicals is recommended. A rinse with clean water to completely clean the system is advisable as a final flushing. Contact your dishwater detergent manufacturer for more information or a recommendation of alternatives. For a listing of ancillary products that are compatible to Lubrizol CPVC, refer to FBC System Compatible Program.

Household bleach solutions may be used for cleaning and disinfecting piping systems. The bleach used should be plain, without added thickeners, detergents, scents, etc.

CPVC should not be used to connect a dishwasher drain to the sanitary drain due to incompatibility with food oils and surfactants in the dishwasher wastewater. This incompatibility could lead to premature failure in the CPVC

Joint Compound/Taping Compound/Mud/Finishing Compound used with Gypsum board is generally not incompatible with CPVC.

Cementitious or gypsum-based fireproofing material is not incompatible with CPVC.

Nylon or polyolefin jacketing used on many types of standard electricity-carrying wire is not incompatible with CPVC. Plasticized vinyl jacketing, which is often used on communications or signal-carrying wire is often incompatible with CPVC. Contact with vinyl-jacketed wires should be avoided.
 
Section 334.30 of the National Electric Code (2002 Edition) requires wire and cable to be secured by staples, cable ties, straps, or hangers. Air ducts, pipes and ceiling grid are not acceptable supports for wire and cable. Also see section titled "Rubber & Flexible Materials containing plasticizers."

Scented products such as cologne, perfume, or essential oils (peppermint oil, orange oil, spearmint oil, etc.) should not be put into a CPVC piping system for the purpose of being able to detect leaks by odor. Most fragrance chemicals and essential oils are strong solvents and/or environmental stress cracking agents for CPVC.

When performing repairs to leaks in existing systems, care should be taken to isolate CPVC pipe from direct contact with heavy concentrations of fungicide products which may be applied during cleanup of water damage. Vinyl piping materials such as PVC or CPVC may be damaged by fungicides when fungicides are sprayed on surrounding drywall and wood framing to prevent the growth of mold and mildew in the affected area. Common sense precautions will prevent problems with repairs to existing systems. When repairs are made to an existing system, and the possibility exists that fungicides will be applied to treat damp drywall and wood framing surrounding the repair site, exposed piping should be sleeved with a compatible plastic sleeving or pipe insulation material to prevent direct contact of the fungicide with the plumbing system.

General-Purpose Gap Filling: For general-purpose filling of small gaps around FlowGuard Gold, BlazeMaster, or Corzan pipes in wall or floor penetrations (not fire-rated constructions), either RTV silicone sealant or polyurethane "foam-in-a-can" may be used. Other types of general purpose sealants may or may not be compatible. Always check with the product's manufacturer for recommendations. See also Lubrizol's list of caulks and sealants known to be incompatible.

If spaces larger than small gaps in wall or floor penetrations are anticipated to be filled with polyurethane foam around FlowGuard Gold, BlazeMaster, or Corzan pipes and fittings, see also Lubrizol's published information concerning foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation. For sealing gaps in fire-rated constructions, a compatible firestopping product must be used.

When CPVC pipe is installed in kitchen areas the pipe must be protected from contact with grease or cooking oils. Consideration must be given to not only protecting the pipe from direct contact with grease or oil but also contact that may occur from airborne grease or oil.

Plastic hangers, straps and grommets made of 100% polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide or nylon may be used.

Most metal hangers and straps designed for metal pipe are likely suitable for use. Hangers and straps should not have rough or sharp edges that come in contact with the pipe. Hangers and straps with a flexible coating or pads may contain incompatible plasticizers and are not preferred. Also see section titled "Rubber & Flexible Materials Containing Plasticizers".

See pipe manufacturer's installation instructions for proper use of hangers and straps.

It is acceptable to heat trace FlowGuard Gold, BlazeMaster, and Corzan pipe and fittings provided the temperature of the heat tracing material does not exceed 180°F (82°C). Steam heat tracing should not be used. Chemical compatibility of the heat tracing material with CPVC should be confirmed with the product manufacturer. The heat tracing material should comply with all applicable codes and be installed per manufacturer's instructions.

Tubing insulation for use with CPVC should be fiberglass, foamed polyolefin (polyethylene), foamed polyisocyanurate or phenolic. Foamed rubber tubing insulation may contain incompatible plasticizers and is not preferred. Foamed polyolefin, foamed polyisocyanurate and phenolic insulations should not have any oil lubrication applied to the interior surface.

Paper Faced Batt, Unfaced Batt and Fill insulation made of Fiberglass, Glass Mineral Wool, Mineral Fiber, Stone Wool, Silica Aerogel and Cellulose may come into contact with CPVC.

Fiberglass Duct insulation with aluminum, paper, metalized polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene facing may come into contact with CPVC.

If it is necessary to use leak detectors on CPVC systems, only leak detectors that are included in the FBC System Compatible Program should be used. While common ordinary soaps are not detrimental to CPVC, most modern dishwashing liquids contain synthetic detergents, some of which may cause environmental stress cracking of fittings. For a listing of ancillary products that are compatible to Lubrizol CPVC, refer to FBC System Compatible Program.

Scented products such as cologne, perfume, or essential oils (peppermint oil, orange oil, spearmint oil, etc.) should not be put into a CPVC piping system for the purpose of being able to detect leaks by odor. Most fragrance chemicals and essential oils are strong solvents and/or environmental stress cracking agents for CPVC.

Sharpie® markers are recommended for use with Lubrizol CPVC.

CPVC may be damaged by torches and/or chemicals used to install metal piping. When metal piping is installed in proximity to CPVC piping systems, care should be taken to protect the CPVC from burning with torches or contact with molten solder and solder flux, as well as incompatible thread sealants, leak detectors, lubricants, or other chemical products which may be used on metal piping.

Transitions from steel pipe to CPVC pipe can be made through a variety of methods such as threaded connections, flanges, and grooved adapters. Occasionally the steel pipe may contain residual oils that were used to aid in the cutting process. Some of the oils used for this purpose, especially those marketed as "environmentally friendly" or "vegetable based" may be incompatible with CPVC. These cutting oils should be removed from the steel pipe prior to connecting to CPVC pipe. If a cutting oil is used, consult with the manufacturer of the cutting oil for a specific recommendation as to compatibility with CPVC. Those cutting oils which are listed in the FBC System Compatible program have been tested and confirmed to be compatible with FlowGuard Gold®, BlazeMaster®, and Corzan® CPVC.

Dye penetrants used to test the quality of welds in metal piping may contain plasticizers or other chemicals incompatible with CPVC. Dye penetrants left on the inside surface of welded metal pipes may later wash into CPVC piping connected to it. This situation could create environmental stress cracking in CPVC wherever collections of the penetrant chemical might lodge. These penetrants should be removed from the steel pipe prior to connecting to CPVC pipe or the manufacturer of dye penetrant should be consulted with regarding recommending proper penetrant for use with steel / CPVC piping systems.

Paint is frequently applied to  piping systems either intentionally for aesthetic purposes, or unintentionally from overspray when nearby surfaces are painted.  Lubrizol is aware of only one system failure ever caused by painting of the pipe and fittings, and that was with a two part epoxy paint.  That type of paint is therefore not recommended for painting FlowGuard Gold, BlazeMaster or Corzan piping systems.  Lubrizol is not aware of any failure issues that have ever arisen due to other types of paints being applied in normal coats to CPVC, including water-based latex paints, alkyd paints, enamels, spray paints, or paints with added mold inhibiting ingredients.

When pipe is to be painted for aesthetic purposes, the following pointers should be followed:

  • Lubrizol recommends the use of water-based latex paint, which is the most commonly available type of interior paint.
  • Do not allow the paint to puddle on or around the pipe.  Paint should be applied in such a way that it dries in the amount of time indicated by the paint manufacturer.  Extended exposure to puddles of paint which cannot dry normally may be detrimental to the pipe or fitting material.
  • It is not recommended to paint the pipe or fittings prior to installation.  Paint on the pipe ends or inside fitting sockets will interfere with solvent cementing, potentially causing leaky joints or blowouts.  Wait until after the piping is installed and the cement is cured before painting the piping system.
  • Do not allow sprinkler heads to become coated with paint, as that may impede their function in a fire situation.
  • Do not allow paint to get inside the piping system through openings such as drops or adapters.  Paint inside the piping system may peel off and impede flow through the sprinkler head in a fire situation.
  • Listings and approvals do not include painted BlazeMaster piping systems. Approval from the Authority Having Jurisdiction must be obtained before painting over the markings (product identification, listing marks, etc.) on the product.
       

In understanding spray polyurethane foams there are two general areas of concern for CPVC pipe and fittings: (1) chemical compatibility and (2) potential damage to pipes and fittings due to high exothermic temperatures during installation. These spray polyurethane foams have different cell structures, different flame retardants, reach different curing temperatures and require different installation thicknesses to obtain the required r-value. All of these factors must be considered when using spray foams.

In 2009, Lubrizol assisted the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) to determine if chemical compatibility issues exist with FlowGuard Gold®, BlazeMaster® and Corzan® CPVC pipe and fittings. SPFA findings, although not comprehensive, conclude that those spray polyurethane foams tested did not pose a chemical compatibility problem. In addition, Lubrizol is unaware of a CPVC failure that was the result of chemical incompatibility with properly mixed and applied spray polyurethane foams. When two-component foams are improperly mixed and there is an excess of either component present on the piping, compatibility problems may arise from the unreacted excess. With respect to chemical compatibility, one must always check with the spray foam manufacturer to have them provide assurance that the formulation that they are manufacturing is not incompatible with CPVC.

In a separate, unrelated study also in 2009, Lubrizol conducted testing with a manufacturer of spray polyurethane foam to better understand the effects of high exothermic temperatures on FlowGuard Gold and BlazeMaster CPVC pipe and fittings. These findings demonstrated that temperatures can exceed the softening point of dry CPVC pipe and fittings.

This study found that, for the products tested, the spray pass thickness of the manufacturer's nominal two pound density spray polyurethane closed cell foam should not exceed a maximum of two inches per single pass. Lubrizol also found in this study that repeated two inch passes (layers) separated by 10 minute intervals provided sufficient time for the spray polyurethane foam to cool. For the manufacturer's nominal half pound density spray polyurethane open cell foam, Lubrizol found that spray pass thickness should not exceed a maximum of six inches per single pass.  Heat generated and trapped inside foam layers applied too thickly may cause ballooning of pipe or excess flexural stresses on pipe and fittings due to thermal expansion.

Because polyurethane spray foams' resulting exothermic temperatures and chemical compatibility characteristics can vary to some extent, Lubrizol recommends that you consult with the manufacturer of the polyurethane spray foam to be installed.

For more information on the compatibility study conducted by SPFA or on the effects of the curing exotherm on CPVC, visit the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance website at http://www.sprayfoam.org/component/content/article/39-technical/5153-spf-and-cpvc-pipes-and-fittings.

California State Fire Marshal Information Bulletin 14-004
Non-Metallic Piping Systems, Fire Sprinklers And Spray Polyurethane Foam Applications

Spray polyurethane foam (SPUF) insulation has been installed in direct contact with BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems for over 20 years, and its use has grown rapidly, particularly over the last 5 years.  Very seldom Only infrequently do problems arise from the use of these products together; and they can be avoided entirely  by the use of best practices on the part of both the piping and the insulation installers.

SPUF insulation is typically applied with equipment that mixes the two liquid chemical components of the product in a spray nozzle through which the mixture is then applied to the structure.  Upon application, the two components quickly react with each other and foam up, creating a solidified foam structure with good insulating properties.  There are two potential ways that this process can have a detrimental effect on CPVC fire sprinkler systems installed in the same space: heat and compatibility.  Although heat is not strictly a chemical compatibility issue as the focus of these articles is meant to be, it deserves to be addressed here so that all types of potential problems can be avoided. 

When the two components of the insulation react together, the reaction generates a large amount of heat.  Because the product has good insulating properties, that heat is not easily dissipated.  In fact, the temperatures inside the foam as it is curing are usually above both the boiling point of water and the softening point of CPVC.  SPUF insulation manufacturers usually provide instructions regarding maximum allowable application layer thicknesses and wait times between layer applications in order to avoid excessive heat buildup.  It is important that these instructions be followed carefully by the insulation installer in order to avoid excessive heat conditions which can damage installed piping.  Extra care should be taken in awkward building cavities, where keeping the application thickness below the allowable maximum may be difficult.

There are also several things the piping installer can do to minimize the potential for damage to the piping by the heat generated by SPUF insulation.  Since the temperatures experienced can be above both the boiling point of water and the softening point of CPVC, it is best if the sprinkler system is empty and not pressurized when the insulation is installed.  If the pipe is filled with water and/or pressurized, and then heated above its softening point, the pipe may experience ballooning under these conditions.  This causes the walls to become stretched and thin, eventually leading to rupture.  If the pipe is heated above its softening point without being filled and/or pressurized, it won’t balloon and will simply harden back up when the temperature falls.

In addition, the piping system designer should consider the possibility that compensation for thermal expansion may be necessary due to the heat generated by the SPUF as it cures.  If long runs of pipe will be buried in SPUF, expansion loops or offsets may be necessary to account for the expansion of the pipe due to the heat.  If expansion is not properly accounted for in the design, excessive stress can be concentrated in areas (typically  elbow or tee fittings) where expansion is restrained.  Installation manuals available from the piping manufacturers give advice on proper design and placement of thermal expansion compensation.

As to its compatibility with CPVC, spray polyurethane foam insulation is a unique case, because it depends very much on the proper installation of the foam.  CPVC is not compatible with either of the liquid components that combine to make SPUF, but the cured foam has little or no effect on the CPVC.  Two things happen during the installation and curing process that cause the final product to have little or no effect on the piping.  First, the chemicals react rapidly, turning the largest part of the liquid components into a solid polymer that has no effect on CPVC.  Second, the material is rapidly blown into a foam, lifting the other additive ingredients of the SPUF up and away from the piping.  The foam creates a difficult path for the additives to get to the pipe surface, with many gas bubbles blocking the way.  This effectively inhibits other additive ingredients in the foam from migrating to the pipe’s surface.  All this depends on the components being properly mixed and applied so that they foam up and cure properly.

In 2009, Lubrizol assisted the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) to determine if chemical compatibility issues exist with FlowGuard Gold®, BlazeMaster® and Corzan® CPVC pipe and fittings. A variety of types and grades of foams were properly applied to CPVC assemblies and tested under conditions of elevated temperature and pressure.  SPFA findings, although not comprehensive ,  conclude that those spray polyurethane foams tested did not pose a chemical compatibility problem. In addition, Lubrizol is unaware of a CPVC failure that was the result of chemical incompatibility with properly mixed and applied spray polyurethane foams. When two-component foams are improperly mixed and there is an excess of either component present on the piping or when the material fails to foam, compatibility problems may arise from the unreacted excess or additives of either component being left in contact with the pipe or fittings. 

Some heat exchangers or condenser coils may contain residual oils from the manufacturing process which can cause cracking of CPVC. Caution should be exercised when installing CPVC in combination hot water/air heating units or as condensate drain lines for air conditioning systems. Confirm the compatibility of CPVC with the residual oils prior to installation. The interior of heat exchangers or the exterior of condenser coils may be thoroughly flushed with mild ionic detergent solution to remove incompatible oils prior to piping installation. A rinse with clean water to completely clean the system is advisable as a final flushing.

CPVC is not compatible with some rubber and flexible plastic materials containing certain types of plasticizers. Incompatible plasticizers include, but are not limited to, phthalates, adipates, trimellitates, dibenzoates, etc. Compatibility should be confirmed before selecting rubber or flexible vinyl materials for direct contact with CPVC. Examples of materials which may contain incompatible plasticizers include, but are not limited to, caulks, rubbery hanger padding, vinyl dip coating on metal parts, rubber gaskets, electrical wire jacketing, electrical tape, flexible hoses or tubes, etc. Further, plasticizers may leach from rubber or flexible vinyl materials, such as hoses or tank linings, into the process fluid which contacts them. Plasticizer contamination in the process fluid may also cause environmental stress cracking of CPVC used elsewhere in the system. This can include both CPVC process piping, through which the contaminated fluid may flow, or CPVC ducting drawing fumes from contaminated fluid. Also see section titled "Flexible Wiring & Cable."

In situations where sleeving is required, the pipe should be protected with a compatible sleeving material extending at least 12" above and below the soil. The top of the sleeving should be securely taped to the pipe with a compatible tape product. Backfill over underground piping prior to termiticide spraying. Also see section titled "Termiticides & Insecticide."

Certain types of spray-on coatings which form a peelable film to protect fixtures during construction may be incompatible with CPVC. Care should be used to protect exposed piping from overspray when this type of protective coating is applied.

August 6, 2013 Update

Lubrizol's position regarding the chemical compatibility of antimicrobial coated steel pipe when used with BlazeMaster® CPVC pipes and fittings has been that before using any coated steel pipes with an antimicrobial coating, installers should check with the manufacturers of the steel pipe and/or the manufacturers of the antimicrobial coating for compatibility with CPVC. In response to numerous industry inquiries, Factory Mutual (FM) modified their nonmetallic (FM 1635) and steel pipe (FM 1630) standards to include testing that demonstrates the chemical compatibility of nonmetallic fire sprinkler pipe with coated steel sprinkler pipe. This evaluation is a requirement for both types of pipe that are FM approved. Installers should look for results of testing in accordance with the FM protocols to ensure the compatibility of any coated steel pipes they might use with BlazeMaster CPVC pipes and fittings. Additionally, Lubrizol recommends that Allied Steel pipe coated with ABF II not be used in BlazeMaster CPVC systems.

This has been Lubrizol's position for years. Beginning in 2008, Lubrizol noted that industry concerns were being expressed about antimicrobial coatings, and at that time Lubrizol stated that the Allied ABF II antimicrobial coating "would not be classified as compatible with CPVC if it were applied directly to the CPVC." But Lubrizol began at that time to conduct testing that tried to duplicate a real world level of migration of the ABF II coating to CPVC. The testing did not show a consistent pattern which would indicate a pervasive problem. Nevertheless, in January 2009, Lubrizol said: "Lubrizol recommends that only non-coated steel piping be used with BlazeMaster fire sprinkler systems and that aftermarket coating not be used, unless the coating being used, whether applied by the manufacturer or otherwise, has been added to the FGG/BM/CZ™ System Compatible Program." Lubrizol's recommendation has continued from that time to the present. Lubrizol has never recommended the use of ABF II coated pipe with BlazeMaster CPVC pipe and fittings.

Teflon® tape is recommended as a preferred thread sealant.

When performing installations underslab or where the presence of insecticides or termiticides are likely, care should be taken to isolate CPVC pipe from direct contact with large quantities of these chemicals. Vinyl piping materials such as PVC or CPVC may be damaged when termiticides or insecticides are injected into the annular space between the pipe wall and sleeving material trapping the termiticide against the pipe wall. Termiticide applications per label instructions in an open-air environment, such as slab pretreat applications, should not pose a problem. However, puddling of termiticides on or near CPVC pipe may cause failures. In areas where puddling is more likely, such as areas near tub boxes and retreat applications, extra care should be taken to avoid puddling of termiticides. Exercising caution and common sense should prevent installation problems. Before using an insecticide or termiticide, be sure to consult the manufacturer's installation guide for proper application instructions.

Additional precautions need to be taken when retreat applications are required. Termiticide retreatment is usually required when the concrete slab has been broken to relocate a pipe. The following recommendations should followed in retreat applications:

  • Remove all the plastic barrier material that was installed prior to the initial concrete pour from the area to be retreated. Do not reinstall the plastic barrier material.
  • After the pipe has been relocated, the soil should be pretreated before it is placed in hole around the pipe. Do not apply termiticide directly to the retreat area. Also see section titled "Sleeving Material."

Legal Disclaimer

The FBC™ System Compatible Program is a resource made available to manufacturers of ancillary products intended to be used with CPVC to help determine whether a product is chemically compatible with Lubrizol's FlowGuard®, BlazeMaster®, Corzan®, and products made with TempRite® Technology. Other manufacturers and/or brands of CPVC piping have not been tested as part of the FBC™ System Compatible Program. The FBC™ System Compatible program is, therefore, only applicable to the chemical compatibility of ancillary products with the Lubrizol brands of FlowGuard, BlazeMaster, Corzan, and products made with TempRite Technology. This distinction is made because every brand of CPVC piping is made with unique compounds, some of which may contain resins with different molecular weights and varying chlorine content. These characteristics directly impact the performance of the resulting product. Similarly, various CPVC products contain different performance additives. This too affects the performance characteristics of the ancillary product. For these reasons, Lubrizol has no responsibility for any failures occurring as a result of using products in the FBC System Compatible Program with CPVC products other than FlowGuard, BlazeMaster, Corzan, and products made with TempRite Technology.

Next Steps

Understanding Chemical Incompatibility (.pdf)

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Contact the product  manufacturer for more information on chemical compatibility with FlowGuard® , BlazeMaster®, and Corzan® piping systems, and products made with TempRite® Technology.