Case Study: Seattle apartment project

Since 1968, Best Plumbing has been providing a full range of plumbing services in the Seattle area. From new construction installations to plumbing repairs, they do it all. Recently, Best Plumbing was hired as the plumbing subcontractor on an apartment building construction project. 
Once Best Plumbing installed the waste lines for the entire building, the next step was to test the system from the third floor up through the roof. In the past they had relied upon inflatable DWV testing devices to get the job done.  

Any job site can be hazardous, but DWV testing with traditional test balls and inflatable plugs pose the inherent risk of over-inflation and explosion. Whether due to a malfunction, inattention or some other mishap, the result of a ruptured test ball can be devastating. Hazards can present themselves during the placement, inflation and removal of inflatable DWV testing devices.  Ruptured inflatable devices can mean unexpected water leakage. Power cords snaking through standing water and patches of wet, slippery ground become potential hazards. 

Clearly, the safety issues of DWV testing with inflatable devices are easily identifiable. The greater challenge was developing a safer, easier and faster solution. Years of engineering design work and contractor input went into developing the HOLDRITE TESTRITE Inline DWV Testing System. This project was Best Plumbing’s first opportunity to try out the system.

For the six-story apartment building project, Best Plumbing technicians installed the test/cleanout tee into the line  and were very impressed by the results.  

“In my 20 year career, I’ve never seen a DWV test that can test multiple floors in one pass,” stated Jereme Wickstrom, project manager at Best Plumbing. “With other products you don’t want to test over 30 feet, as that creates too much pressure for the system to handle. If one of the fittings gets loose, it can leak through, and the fittings will blow. TESTRITE has a positive shutoff on every third floor, so it allowed us to test multiple groups of three-level sections at a time.”

Site Foreman Jason Wagner added, “Usually with other products we’ll have to pump them up and then pump them again. With the system, there is no need to pump anything up; we simply installed the test wedge and tested the system. We were able to do this on the first try all the way up through the roof. When we came back the next day, everything was still good to go.”

At the heart of the system is the Test Wedge. After simple insertion, three seals located on the Test Wedge create a seal within the test tee. The operation of the Test Wedge then initiates a safe, fast and dry two-fold operation. A waterway at the middle of the Test Wedge is controlled by a test stem, which is rotated clockwise to close the waterway for DWV testing. The system can then be filled conventionally from above or a hose can be attached to the optional ¾-inch valve at the point of the test stem. Triple seal protection provides for a dry, safe environment.

The system meets plumbing code requirements and is rated up to 50 feet of head pressure, 22 PSI, five floors. TESTRITE is designed for PVC, ABS and cast iron DWV piping systems with 2-, 3- or 4-inch piping solutions. It can be used for both horizontal and vertical testing, and will keep both users and jobsites safe and dry. Tests have shown that the system performs up to five times faster than traditional methods. 

“TESTRITE gave us a very simple, straightforward process,” Wagner said. “It was as easy as turning the handle off, and then when we were done, turning it back on to drain the system.”

“And that’s not the only way it saved us time,” Wickstrom added. “TESTRITE allows us to leave a portion of the testing product in the wall. Typically with other products you have to take the time to remove it after the test.  We look forward to making TESTRITE our shop standard. Our experience with HOLDRITE has always been Class A, top-notch, since day one.”

No plumber enjoys the prospect of having to re‐test a DWV system on a site where labor is critical and water access may be limited. This system provides high value in these situations with its fill‐up or drain‐down option in the Test Wedge. The system offers plumbers control over water flow in a way that surpasses that of inflatable testing devices. Structural water damage or mold, inflatable plug blowouts and soaking-wet plumbers are a thing of the past. 

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