Ferncos, are they considered temporary?

I never call out a fernco unless its leaking. I have ferncos on my drain pipes in my crawls space as well. When I used to fix sewer laterals we would use ferncos on a regular basis. I recently had an apprentice inform me that one of the instructors that teaches classes in the school that I went to for home inspections always calls out ferncos as temporary. Any info on the use of ferncos as related to code? Does anyone else call these out as temporary

Two thoughts: (1) What is a fernco? (2) You’re not quoting code in your reports are you? Thank you

A fernco is a rubber coupling made to attach drain pipes together. No I dont try too quote code, but a lot of what we deal with winds up being code related.

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I would say, No, not temporary. Why would homeowner need to replace an entire pipe run when you can repair a break with a splice & fernco’s?


Fernco is a brand name, not a product.
Some AHJ’s require a shielded coupling (rubber transition with a metal sleeve).

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I just said fernco because most people know it as that. I should of clarified sorry. Shielded? I’ve seen them didnt know the difference between the two.

If they are properly installed I have no problem with them

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We will stay strictly with Code approval as it is your question and we will use Fernco since that was your general name for this band fitting.

For Fernco, or any other product, if you have a question whether they are approved or not you can start with the ICC Evaluation Services reports and in this case Fernco is a listed coupler here https://icc-es.org/report-listing/pmg-1117/ . Fernco also llists their approvals on their WEB site here https://www.fernco.com/technical/codes-standards .

The other question is whether they can be used in concealed or unconcealed locations. First you start with IRC P2609.2 (2018 version) noted here.

P2609.2 Installation of materials. Materials used shall be
installed in strict accordance with the standards under which
the materials are accepted and approved. In the absence of
such installation procedures, the manufacturer’s instructions
shall be followed. Where the requirements of referenced stan-
dards or manufacturer’s instructions do not conform to the
minimum provisions of this code, the provisions of this code
shall apply.

To note is that unless otherwise stated the manufacturer installation requirements apply. Checking the common Fernco couplers they do approve of their use in concealed locations.

I would suspect that what is being taught is from section P3003.2 which states the following. I have added the bold for emphasis.

P3003.2 Prohibited joints. Running threads and bands shall
not be used in the drainage system. Drainage and vent piping
shall not be drilled, tapped, burned or welded.
The following types of joints and connections shall be pro-

  1. Cement or concrete.
  2. Mastic or hot-pour bituminous joints.
  3. Joints made with fittings not approved for the specific
  4. Joints between different diameter pipes made with elas-
    tomeric rolling O-rings.
  5. Solvent-cement joints between different types of plastic
    pipe except where provided for in Section P3003.13.4.
  6. Saddle-type fittings.

Look at item #3. I would suspect that the instructor might not be reading past the beginning paragraph as obviously ICC-ES has approved these for use as noted in the ICC-ESR at the link above and is not taking into consideration P2609.2 and the manufacturer’s installation and use requirements.

For other fitting manufacturer products you would need to review their listings and approvals.

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If you use a kinetic water ram on a pipe fixed with ferncos, they become temporary.

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That’s actually funny and probably true as well! :rofl:

I would have to wonder what Fernco’s response would be if asked whether their couplers can withstand this?

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We called these “No hub couplings” back in the 70s when we still used poured lead and oakum.


I think “Running threads and bands” was intended to define a single configuration, like “do not use running threads with bands”. If meant to be a discrete list, the use of the Oxford comma “Running threads, and bands” becomes necessary.

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Very informative response, thank you

Very possibly yes and also how it is being misinterpreted by the instructor. Of course only the instructor mentioned could tell us their intention of calling them unacceptable.

Yes, I found out the hard way when I (as a young maintenance man) blasted a stopped up portico roof drain on the county courthouse with one. As it turns out the roof drain pipe (connected with Ferncos) traveled through the drop ceiling of the Sheriff’s dept.


LOL! :rofl: :joy: