Plumbing Test Plugs are a fundamental requirement in plumbing tests. The integrity of testing plugs determines the success of the process while ensuring the safety of plumbers.

New methods using modern testing plugs have been developed, improving time and cost efficiency, and enhancing safety. Traditional testing plugs have many drawbacks, making them undesirable to contractors and building owners.

This article gives a comprehensive overview of the types of testing, problems encountered during testing, and possible solutions.

Types of Testing

Various Plumbing Test Plugs are used to test the integrity of pipes, such as inflatable test balls, hydraulic test plugs, plastic test plugs, etc. However, there are two main types of testing, namely:

Hydrostatic testing

Hydrostatic testing is a type of testing where a liquid, usually water, is pumped into the pipes before being pressurised with air or gas. Water can’t be compressed, unlike air or gas solely used in pneumatic testing. It has fewer hazards making it the most recommended method.

There are instances where hydrostatic testing may not be applicable, such as

Pneumatic testing

Pneumatic testing/pressure testing is the use of compressed air or gas, often nitrogen/helium, as a test medium. Air or gas is easily compressed in the system in the absence of a liquid. However, this method creates potentially dangerous stored energy making the procedure risky for the workers involved.

The dangers of pressure testing arise from the sudden accidental escape of stored energy which in some cases has been considered categorically equivalent to the strength that causes bomb explosions.

Problems Encountered During Testing

Whatever the method used, a plumber may encounter various problems.

Issues with hydrostatic testing:

Depending on the plumbing testing plug a plumber uses, especially for test tees, the water may go back and douse the workers. This can be uncomfortable and hazardous, especially if the water is polluted.

If a residential plumber isn’t cautious, some types of test plugs can be pushed down the pipe by the force of the moving water. For instance, a plumber may have to bring down a concrete basement floor to retrieve a deflated ball that the water has pushed in.

Some testing plugs, such as inflatable balls, make the process tedious and time-consuming. They also require various tools and are non-repairable if they fail or develop a leak. Most contractors claim that an inflatable ball lasts for a maximum of five uses.

A traditional plumbing testing plug, often an inflatable ball, can expose a plumber to various safety issues such as

Hazards of pneumatic testing

The pressure exerted during pneumatic testing is massive. It sends flying objects such as fittings, gauges, valves, and flanges toward the plumber. It can also send flying shrapnel (elements that shatter into small pieces due to the pressure).

The most common injuries from flying objects include eye damage, bruises, broken bones, lacerations, puncture wounds, mild brain traumatic injuries, and other internal injuries.

The inert testing gases may also escape and accumulate, causing asphyxiation to plumbers working in confined places.

There are various reasons why pneumatic/pressure tests backfire and cause injuries. They include

Possible Solutions

Although plenty of dangers are encountered during testing, plumbers can observe various measures to minimize hazards and ensure the work is completed efficiently. Such measures include

The Best plumbing testing plug

K-Valve is a safe and highly efficient testing plug designed to test sewer and stormwater systems in residential, commercial, and industrial environments. Its unique design makes it time and cost-efficient and prevents plumbers from injuring their hands, wrists, and fingers.

A plumber may encounter various problems during plumbing tests with current plumbing test plugs. This can lead to property and equipment damage, injury to personnel, and added costs to property owners. Some of these problems arise due to inappropriate or substandard testing plugs, among other factors.

Whether you need a stormwater test plug, a pneumatic test plug, or a sewer test plug, ensure you get it from a reputable manufacturer for time cost efficiency and safety to plumbers.

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