Hi all, I’m sure this has probably been covered already but having trouble finding the thread. Where do we stand on Flow Guard CPVC? I know there was a previous Class Action against premature failure but I can’t find much follow up past that. Is this product deficient if so why? Thanks again for the guidance.
Thank you Marcel, yes that is the lawsuit I am referring to and it’s still pending. I was wondering if anyone has any other info on it and if you guys are calling it out as defective and why? If a defect is it because installation practices mentioned or water supply corrosion that causes failure? From what I have read failure can occurs from a combination chemicals added to municipal water supplies and ambient hot temperatures. Most failures appear to be happening in the SE. I am in the PNW where our water is softer and temps are milder. I write it is as a material that is currently under review of class action lawsuit for premature failure. Further investigation recommended by licensed plumber and to make repairs per said professionals standards. I then explain that most of the failures are not happening in our region so may be environment/geographically related.
For me personally, not enough data or verification of defective material. I would end up having my clients chasing ghosts if I were to write that. That said, nothing wrong with being on high alert as an inspector. Such as looking a bit closer for indicators of evidence of past/ current leaks, pipe stress cracks etc.
This is an interesting read from Flow Guard themselves…
Thank you Ryan, i read that as well when it came out. Yes they are correct that they have not been subject of a class action lawsuit, but do have many currently pending against them. Big company ones with big money that it would make sense for them to put out press defending them selves Any way they can.
I guess what I am getting here is no you guys are not calling this out so o will step back and not call it out anymore unless I see evidence of failure or more information comes out form these pending lawsuits. I was just trying to best inform the client but may have gone to far. Thank you to all that commented, and if others have additional info please keep it coming.
We just started writing it up a couple years ago (fwiw, I’m in the Pac NW too). I personally hate the stuff and think it’s junk but don’t want to be too much of an alarmist since, as OP and others have said, there really isn’t a of documented info. Our write-up is pretty soft and just mentions that it becomes brittle and can have a higher than normal rate of failures.
The main problems I’ve noticed, and what some plumbers I’ve talked to have said, is that it gets brittle when exposed to sunlight. I’ve seen several garage hose bibs and mains crack/fail. A whole set of condos I’m near have had numerous instances of those valves snapping when being used. In my company we’ve had two instances of inspectors snapping off the low-point drains in a crawl space where it was buried in insulation (both times inspector was crawling along and brushed it with his back). I get the feeling that time is not going to be kind to that product and in a couple decades it will be called more heavily by us.
Thank you very much for the input Matt. I agree with what you have said. Thank you for giving me examples of where you have seen failure and possibly why. This is very helpful.
Yes! It is brittle even out of the sun. It gets brittle in about 5-10 years or less.
Curious… just to be clear and to better understand your position…
Are you positively identifying the product as FlowGuard Gold, or are you simply observing issues with PVC/CPVC in general?
I ask because of all the ‘Rigid Plastic’ plumbing I’ve seen over the years, only a small percentage of it is FG Gold. Generic PVC/CPVC easily outweighs the Gold, and if it wasn’t for the Yellow-ish stripe on it, I would rarely even be aware of the brand unless there was an issue requiring a close-up look-see at it!
Note: Yes, I am also very familiar with the PNW.
I began my inspection Company in the Vancouver WA / Portland, OR area in 1996.
Thank you Jeffery. Yes I am only calling out FG gold. As that is the specific product in question of the class action lawsuit. I see it quite often actually and when I’m on the crawls and see the yellow stripe with FG Gold written on it I call it out.
I comment on any CPVC. This reminds me of the old LP Siding thing - Everyone was so hung up on the brand but all the composite siding was crap and prone to failure. LP just had the deepest pockets and sold the most. I’m thinking you inspected a few “LP” houses in Portland/Vancouver back in the late 90s
That’s what I assumed, (thanks for being honest), and absolutely YES on the LP crap!
In the PNW the LP was a much larger problem than PB was! (In my opinion). It was rare that I ever saw any PB outside of a Mobile/Manufactured Home.
What is your service area?
I have to assume that is a strong factor, if only for the reason of the higher usage of the product.
For what it is worth, my son is a plumber. He will not touch a cpvc valve on a home over 10 years until he drains the house because it gets brittle. But I’m not convinced a law suit with no settlement is the right narrative. What is your narrative @mfellman ?
Agree… I’ve seen PB one time on a stick-built that was in the 90s but quite a lot on manf. homes, of course. From what I’ve learned the makeup of Oregon’s water is such that it doesn’t each through the plastic like other areas. I still write it up but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a failure.
Remember, the PNW populated areas (cities) relies on snowpack (melt) and rainwater (rivers/lakes) for their water supply, unlike most other areas that depend on groundwater/subterranean aquifers for their water supply.