Useful Tips to become Firestop System Savvy

Useful tips to become firestop system savvy

Firestop systems are critical in protecting buildings during a fire. Designed to prevent fires from spreading horizontally or vertically within fire-resistance-rated walls or floor assemblies, firestops close down passages through which fires would otherwise spread. Besides saving property damage – and potentially lives – during a fire, firestop systems are also a building code requirement that requires both inspection and maintenance to maintain compliance and safety.

Why are Firestop Systems Important?

Firestop systems are critical in building construction, for three main reasons:

  • They are a building code requirement.
  • They can save lives.
  • They can limit losses during a fire.

By separating areas within a building from each other, firestop systems play an essential role in slowing down a fire’s spread and can also slow down its smoke and toxic fumes. Firestop systems need to be included in the design of a building and are an integral element of its safety.

General Tips for Firestopping

General tips for firestopping

  • DO establish policies and procedures for firestopping. Review them regularly. Keep them updated and available for your staff to find and use.
  • DO ensure your procedures reconcile with manufacturers’ specifications when you are discussing products like putties and caulks. Be sure not to exceed product limitations.
  • DO contact local building inspectors and fire marshals before you start a job to make sure you know the area’s fire code. Spend the time now and save time later.
  • DO verify that a reputable testing facility, preferably nationally recognized, has approved all assemblies and materials that you plan to use.
  • DO take photographs at the penetration to document your work, in case less careful work is performed later that violates fire code, or is otherwise unsafe. Protect yourself from liability.
  • DON’T drill your holes too small. When you are drilling holes for core-drilled conduit, you need to drill them so that they are larger than the sleeve.
  • DON’T use the wrong insulation. Use mineral wool batt insulation, not regular insulation.
  • DON’T keep a fire code violation going. Inspectors may blame you for all cables running through a noncompliant fire barrier, not just the ones you installed.
  • DON’T exceed a sleeve’s fill capacity.
  • DON’T switch out products from one manufacturer’s system with those from another’s. They may not be interchangeable.

Read Also: Engineering Judgements: What They Are and Why You Need One >>

Firestop Systems

When you are selecting firestop systems, it’s best to choose one made for the actual conditions of the building. The best firestop systems match in terms of materials, building configuration, and penetrating item. Sometimes, if you are unable to match the firestop system to the building’s conditions, it’s best to find the one that is the closest match, and discuss with the local building inspector or fire marshal.

For 30 years, HoldRite firestop systems have been used in many different types of building projects, including residential, commercial, and institutional properties. HoldRite prides itself in converting makeshift methods into engineered solutions that can offer you a higher degree of safety while complying with today’s code requirements. The HydroFlame firestop sealants, wrap strips, putty pads and pipe collars are HoldRite’s latest offerings of UL-listed water, smoke, and firestop product systems that protect properties from water intrusions by providing a water seal that also impedes smoke, gases, and fire. Also, with its patented telescoping design and locator whiskers, the HoldRite HydroFlame Pro Series transforms the installation of cast-in-place firestop solutions.

Firestop Sealants

A critical component of a firestop system, firestop sealants are used to seal around joints and openings in a fire-resistance-rated floor or wall. Firestop sealants, like HoldRite’s HydroFlame 100 & 200 Firestop Sealants, protect horizontal and vertical construction assemblies, protecting them from smoke, flames, and gases. HoldRite also offers HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant, for use in sealing around penetrations in non-rated vertical and horizontal construction assemblies.

READ ALSO: Introducing HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Firestop Sealants >>

Without firestop systems, buildings would suffer much more damage from flames, smoke, and water during a fire. Firestop systems can limit losses, may save lives, and help buildings comply with code requirements. Finding the right firestop system and firestop sealant is critical in constructing a building that complies with the applicable building code and provides a safe place for residential, commercial, or industrial use. In the plumbing industry, HoldRite is recognized as an industry leader and category expert in many of the products it offers, including firestop systems and firestop sealants.

No-Hub Fitting Restraints: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Property

Piping systems are essential for transporting fluids from one location to another in a safe and sanitary way. However, it is still far too common today for contractors of above ground cast iron hub-less piping systems to underestimate the importance of utilizing no-hub fitting restraints, which serve to prevent no-hub pipes and fitting from separating under thrust force.

The decision to go without no-hub fitting restraints can prove to be a disastrous and extremely costly, as was the case in high profile cases like the Lucas Oil Stadium disaster of 2008 and the UPHS Translation Research Center flood of 2012.

The Lucas Oil Stadium Disaster of 2008

While the Indianapolis Colts’ new stadium was widely regarded as a marvel in design and amenities when it was unveiled for public use in 2008, it had first become a prime example as to why the failure to install no-hub fitting restraints can prove disastrous.

To make the story short, the plumbing contractor had to work quickly due to delays. Shortly following the installation of millions of dollars worth of IT equipment in the stadium’s basement, a significant rainstorm swept into the area. In the absence of fitting restraints, three of the rainwater leader system’s no-hub cast iron rain leader joints failed, leading to a flood in the basement, substantial monetary damages and a series of lawsuits and project delays.

Evidence of the rushed construction job continued even until 2014, as corroded pipes and deteriorated pipe insulation added insult to injury, resulting in total costs of around $15 million as a result of the three different incidents of pipe failure.

The UPHS Translation Research Center Flood of 2012

The story is similar in the case of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) Translation Research Center Flood of 2012.
Shortly after the project was completed and the owner began moving into the building, a massive rainstorm hit the area, causing significant pressure to build in the building’s piping systems. Flooding inside the building ensued following the failure of an unrestrained 12-inch rainwater leader, which went on to crash through the ceiling of the fifth-floor stairwell.

Top Risks of Excluding Fitting Restraints in Construction

The two most common reasons for pipe and fitting join failure are hydraulic jump and lack of an overflow point.

Hydraulic Jump

Hydraulic jump occurs when water traveling down a vertical pipe at terminal velocity runs into slower-moving water moving through a horizontal and begins to back up through the vertical pipe as a result.

Depending on the severity and duration of the rain flow, the water backup caused by hydraulic jump could result in the separation of the pipe from its fitting. This is precisely what happened in the 2012 flood of the UPHS Translational Research Center, which experienced around five inches of rain per hour and 82 pounds of thrust.

No Overflow Point

The lack of an overflow point can also pose a serious threat to the integrity of a building’s piping system. As an example, imagine a multi-story high rise building with commercial units at street level and residential units above. If the stack serving the upper residential floors lacks an overflow point, blockage at the street level can cause multiple stories of head pressure to build up quickly and lead directly to pipe failure.

Most Common Reasons Why Restraints Are Not Installed

There are two primary reasons why many construction projects, even those completed within the past five to ten years, lack no-hub fitting restraints.

1. Proper Installation of Restraints Costs Times and Money

Bringing a construction project through to completion is a labor intensive and costly endeavor. Constructing an entire drain, waste, and vent system according to the standards prescribed by the combination of the International Plumbing Code, the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute (CISPI) and the pipe and fitting manufacturer’s installation instructions is hard enough, leading contractors to omit or generally overlook the need for restrains unless specially requested.

2. Many Installers are Unaware of the Code

While the International Plumbing Code does spell out the need to install no-hub fitting restraints in Chapter 3, the Code did not specifically address the issue before 2009. Even then, all of the other codes on drain, waste and vent systems are contained in Chapter 7, leading many to overlook the earlier mention of no-hub fitting restraints.

Problems with Field-Devised Restraint Methods

Field-devised restraint methods represent a creative, do-it-yourself approach to constructing pipe restraints. While not installing any restraints is dangerous, using field-devised restraint methods also comes along with its share of concerns, notably the fact that they are often:

Untested, often relying on techniques and materials outside standardized use. As a result of the lack of uniformity and the possible misuse of tools such as riser clamps in thrust restraint, the reliability of field-devised restraint devices cannot be accurately measured until it is too late.

Labor-Intensive, taking a considerable amount of time and money to measure, cut and fabricate.

Temporary, only using the field-devised restraint to perform tests. For example, it was once common practice for plumbers to shackle the pipe and fitting together before the inspection to allow the pipe system to carry water up to a 10-foot head level satisfactorily. Once the inspection was over, the shackling could be removed, leaving no restraint in its place.

HoldRite’s Engineered No-Hub Fitting Restraints

The HoldRite #117 Series No-Hub Fitting Restraints are the ideal solution for restraining hub-less cast iron soil pipes against separation during high thrust conditions.

HoldRite No-Hub Fitting Restraints are:


Built with top materials such as stainless steel, black iron, or galvanized components and engineered to meet plumbing codes, pipe manufacturers’ installation instructions, and the CISPI installation handbook.

If properly installed according to manufacturer instructions, the restraint systems are rated for up to 50 feet of head pressure, blowing away the 10 feet of head pressure required by the International Plumbing Code.

Less Expensive

Thanks to reduced costs in terms of time and materials, contractors save from 30 to 50 percent in “total installed costs” by opting for HoldRite’s engineered solutions.

Easy to Install

Installs in minutes without any on-site cutting, bending, measuring, or modifications necessary. Also, no special tools are required for installation, as all components are included in each kit.

Learn More About HoldRite N0-Hub Fitting Restraints

A proven partner in the plumbing industry for over thirty years, HoldRite products are made in the USA and are available through plumbing wholesalers across the country. Should you have any questions or wish to learn more about the benefits of using our No-Hub Fitting Restraints, please get in touch today or give us a call at 800-321-0316.

Contractors, wholesalers, and engineers can also consider taking advantage of the HoldRite No Charge VIP Estimating Service, where you can electronically transfer your construction plans at no cost and receive a comprehensive cost-saving analysis performed by Estimators with over twenty years of plumbing experience.

We look forward to working together to find the right plumbing support solutions for you to complete your project effectively and under budget.

Equality in the Field: Women in Construction and Plumbing

Equality in the Field: Women in Construction and Plumbing

By Holland Webb, featured writer

In nearly office, women make up about half the workforce. At most construction sites, however, you might find one woman among 100 men. Twenty years into the 21st century, diversity and equality are two of the most critical concepts in the U.S. workplace, but these ideals have made little headway into blue-collar professions such as construction and plumbing.

Women started to enter the American workforce shortly after the Civil War, and today, they make up 47% of American employees according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Female employees are not equally represented across all fields, however. About 40% work in management or professional jobs, 32% in sales, 21% in service, and just 0.9% in construction, maintenance, and natural resources occupations.

Construction and plumbing are still considered a man’s domain with just 1% of construction workers being female, most of whom hold the office jobs. Why are women not interested in construction trades? Not qualified? Not welcome? Do many American women perceive construction and plumbing as non-feminine, and so avoid those roles?

“There’s not just one thing that contributes to the lack of females in the profession,” according to Grace Ellis at the Construction Productivity Blog. “Recruitment bias, company cultures where harassment isn’t thoroughly addressed and even reasons as simple as tools and gear not made for women in mind, also all play a critical role into why more women aren’t considering building as a career.”

It wasn’t always this way.

From Rosie the Riveter to Joe the Plumber: The History of Blue Collar Equality in the U.S.

During World War II, the U.S. faced a severe shortage of industrial laborers. Young men, who previously composed the backbone of this labor force, were fighting in Europe and the Pacific. So the country turned to the women still at home. In 1943, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation unveiled its Rosie the Riveter poster, showing a serious-faced woman dressed in a blue jumpsuit with a red bandana and flexing some serious biceps. Rosie became an icon.

Roughly 35% of American women entered the workforce during World War II, many serving as Rosies — industrial factory workers. They earned about 50% of a man’s wage for their labor, and many were fired after the war. Others left as social pressures changed from the needs of wartime to the needs of a country booming with babies. June

Cleaver clad in pearls and high heels replaced Rosie and her red kerchief as America’s ideal woman.
Even the power feminist movement that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s never emphasized women’s work in the trades. So as women increasingly entered the workforce, they tended to take jobs as teachers, nurses, secretaries and other pink-collar employment with movement leaders pushing for white collar opportunities, not blue-collar ones.

Just as more women were heading out to jobs, the prestige of blue-collar professions tanked. Employees in construction drew hourly wages, not salaries, and they worked in dirty, noisy environments, which caused Americans to label these jobs as “bad.” The situation didn’t shift until 2008 when Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, herself the product of a blue-collar home, introduced America to her campaign standard bearer — Joe the Plumber, a blue-collar man who, while he couldn’t carry Palin’s campaign to victory, did reignite a national conversation about industrial work.

Modern Ideas About Equality in the Workplace

Modern Ideas About Equality in the Workplace

Burdened with student loans themselves for college degrees that hadn’t propelled them as far as they’d hoped, American parents began encouraging teenagers to consider skilled trades training instead of pricey humanities degrees. A plumber holds a well-paid, recession-proof skill, they said, and a history degree has little utility in the workforce. For many middle-class Americans, the future of staying in the middle-class depended upon industrial jobs, not a college education. However, were parents encouraging their daughters to take this route or just their sons?

When Americans talk positively about equality, they typically mean equality at work not at home. Young Americans, in particular, say they value working with people of other genders, races, religions, and sexual orientations. However, while it was once acceptable to employ a variety of people, many modern Americans expect companies to balance diversity at all levels. It’s not enough to hire a person of color and call yourself diverse, for example, if all the employees of color are stuck in low wage jobs. It’s not enough for women to work in the construction office, either, if they aren’t welcomed and accommodated on the site.

Merging the conversations about blue collar jobs and workplace equity hasn’t happened at scale yet. Women still aren’t considering, training for, or welcomed in traditionally male settings such as construction sites. But maybe they should be.

Why We Need Women in Construction and Plumbing

Construction companies that are gender diverse are generally more profitable. “According to the Peterson Institute,” Grace Ellis wrote, “companies who were in the top 25% in gender diversity of their workforce were 46% more likely to outperform their industry average.” Hire more women, make more money.

Women provide a valuable perspective. A gender-diverse workforce benefits from a variety of perspectives. Women often see things men don’t, just as men see things women don’t.

Single female homeowners feel more comfortable with women service professionals. The number of single female households is substantial, and many unpartnered women feel uncomfortable with a man they don’t know coming into their home to work. A qualified woman can provide the same service without making the customer feel ill at ease.

Girls shouldn’t miss out on lucrative and exciting career options. Guidance counselors don’t often suggest industrial jobs to girls as future careers, but maybe they should. After all, plumbers and construction workers earn strong wages and hold recession-proof skills.

Want to learn more?

Check out this great piece about why NOW is the best time to be a woman in construction from Engineering News Record.

BigRentz has a great infographic about the state of women in construction.

The NAWIC is a great resource for career and education in construction for women.

Stop the Noise through Acoustic Isolation with HoldRite Silencer System Products

Vibrations cause shaking and shaking produces noise. When machinery, piping, or ductwork vibrate, the resulting sound can travel throughout the structure, causing noise and unwanted sound. Such vibrational noise serves as a common irritant to building occupants and is a primary reason for tenant complaints.

While there are several ways people have discovered to “soundproof” a house, as this piece in the Chicago Tribune attests, soundproofing plumbing systems poses different challenges. Plumbing system noise is generally considered one of the most intrusive and difficult sounds to mitigate. Once such an issue arises, it can quickly become complicated, labor-intensive, and expensive problem to solve.

While it once took extensive time and energy to locate the proper materials and perform a quality installation, recent advances in materials and methods have made the mitigation of plumbing system noise one of the easiest and most affordable tasks in sound-proofing a building.

Enter Acoustic Isolation

Acoustic isolation is the key to preventing noise problems stemming from vibrations, effectively dampening the noise transfer between piping and building structures. Such noise may originate from a variety of sources, including:

  • Drainage systems such as sanitary waste piping, storm drainage piping, and bathtubs.
  • Water supply and distribution systems such as pressurized potable and non-potable water systems
  • Fixtures, faucets, and appliances manufactured from a material such as stainless steel, cast iron, fiberglass, and plastic.
  • Valves, pumps, and equipment, which emit noise levels depending on the friction or turbulence they generate.

The HoldRite Silencer System

To provide effective acoustic isolation, HoldRite has put together an excellent package of products called the HoldRite Silencer System. This product system is complete with variable-length acoustic isolation solutions such as:

  • Clamps & Inserts: Ideal for sound-rated and isolation application these products are specifically engineered to dampen noise transfer.
  • Isolation Liners: Composed of either rubber or felt for sound and vibration isolation.
  • Riser Pads: Minimize noise and vibration transfer at piping stacks and risers.
  • Hangers: Ideal for noise & vibration isolation and dissimilar metal isolation.
  • Galvanized Brackets: Ideal for vertical or horizontal use in rooms like lavatories, showers, and water closets.

Benefits of HoldRite Silencer System Products

HoldRite Silencer System products are specially engineered to dampen noise transfer between piping and building structures. Products in the HoldRite Silencer System have a proven track record of being:

  • Effective: Reduces plumbing noise by an average of 75%.
  • Flexible: Compatible with a range of the most effective materials such as Copper, PEX, CPVC, cast iron, and more.
  • Accessible: Simple to install, with easy integration with HoldRite Pipe Support Systems.

The HoldRite HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant

In addition to the above acoustic silencing products, HoldRite also provides the HoldRite HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant, which can be used to effectively seal around penetrations in non-rated horizontal or vertical construction assemblies.

The HoldRite HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant is easily dispensed via a caulking gun and provides a flexible paintable sealant once cured.

Key features of the HoldRite HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant include:

  • Low volatile organic compound (VOC) content
  • FBC™ system compatible
  • Clean Air Gold certified
  • Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 69
  • ASTM G-21 Mold Resistant
  • 2-year shelf life

Learn More About HoldRite Acoustic Isolation Products

A proven partner in the plumbing industry for over thirty years, HoldRite products are made in the USA and are available through plumbing wholesalers across the country. Should you have any questions or wish to learn more about the benefits of using products in the HoldRite Silencer System, please get in touch today or give us a call at 800-321-0316.

Contractors, wholesalers, and engineers can also consider taking advantage of the HoldRite No Charge VIP Estimating Service, where you can electronically transfer your construction plans at no cost and receive a comprehensive cost-saving analysis performed by Estimators with over twenty years of plumbing experience.

We look forward to working together to find the right plumbing support solutions for you to complete your project effectively and under budget.

Improve Time Utilization With HoldRite Firestop Systems

Improve Time Utilization with HoldRite Firestop Systems

The HoldRite HydroFlame Pro Telescoping Cast-in-Place Sleeves Series can help you optimize your time utilization by:


  • Eliminating the need to cut sleeves on the job sites.
  • Making it easier to locate sleeves after the concrete has been poured.
  • Eliminating field applied sealants, which reduces human error factors while improving UL fire ratings.
  • Expedites cover inspections with built-in UL Listed Firestop Devices
  • Reduces time to dry floors and complete building – especially in high-rise construction.
  • Reducing today’s field installation errors and tomorrow’s potential concerns.

Want to learn more? Check out this video about our Cast-in-Place Firestop System.

Introducing HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Firestop Sealants

You spoke. We listened. HoldRite understood your needs and based on your feedback we have expanded our product line beyond our cast-in-place solutions to offer a complete line of firestop solutions designed to exceed your expectations. Our goal? HoldRite wants to be your single source for firestop and sleeving solutions.

The new HoldRite line includes:

Our new series was created to work efficiently with:

  • A wide variety of wall and floor penetration application solutions
  • Commercial and residential construction
  • Wood-framed and concrete construction

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Firestop Sealants

New HydroFlame sealants protect vertical and horizontal construction assemblies from:

  • Smoke penetration
  • Acoustic penetration
  • Flame intrusion
  • Gas intrusion

Our sealants are compatible with:

  • Interior rated gypsum
  • Concrete
  • Block walls
  • Rated concrete floors
  • Concrete over metal decking floors
  • Wood floor and ceiling assemblies

HydroFlame sealants also work with:

  • Cast iron
  • Steel and steel conduits
  • Copper pipe and tubing
  • Non-metallic pipes such as PVC, CPVC, ABS, PVDF PEX, PP, XFR and more
  • Cables and bundles
  • Sheet metal ductwork

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ 100

HoldRite HydroFlame 100 is an elastomeric water-based single-component non-sag firestop sealant. When properly installed, HydroFlame 100 prevents the passage of smoke, gasses, and flames through openings around penetrating items and can be used in areas and conditions where dynamic movement is expected.

HydroFlame 100 is ready to go right out of the package and doesn’t require thinning or mixing. Simple to install, it can be dispensed from any standard caulking gun or bulk loader designed for 10, 20 or 30-ounce packaging. You can also trowel it out of a 5-gallon bucket.

Characteristics include:

  • Flexible (Elastomeric)
  • Low VOC
  • Paintable
  • Excellent freeze-thaw
  • High STC Rating 65
  • 3-year shelf life
  • FBC™ system compatible
  • Easily dispensed with a caulking gun or trowel
  • G21 tested for obstruction of mold growth
  • Clean Air Gold certified
  • Safe for plastic and metallic pipes

READ ALSO: Save Time And Reduce Your Waste Stream With The HoldRite Hydroflame Pro Series >>

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ 200

HoldRite HydroFlame 200 is for applications requiring high-performance intumescence, and otherwise, has the same features and characteristics of HoldRite® HydroFlame™ 100.

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ 50

HoldRite HydroFlame 50 Smoke & Acoustic Sealant seals against smoke and sound in non-rated horizontal or vertical construction assemblies. It’s designed to work with and complement HoldRite Silencer™ series noise and vibration dampening systems.

Characteristics include:

  • Easily dispensed using a caulking gun
  • Provides a flexible, paintable sealant once cured
  • Meets LEED criteria
  • Low VOC content
  • FBC™ system compatible
  • Easily cleans up with water
  • Clean Air Gold certified
  • High STC rating 69
  • 2-year shelf life
  • Safe for plastic and metallic pipes
  • Will not react to bituminous coatings on cast iron pipes
  • ASTM G-21 Mold Resistant

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Wrap Strips

HoldRite HydroFlame Wrap Strip is a high-performance, highly intumescent flexible wrap strip designed to prevent the passage of flames and toxic gases. When heated, the wrap strip forms a protective char that seals openings around the penetrating items or completely seal the annular space that is exposed once combustible pipes melt away to prevent the passage of hot gasses and flames to migrate to the other side of a fire-rated assembly. HydroFlame Wrap Strips can be used with a custom collar.

Use HydroFlame Wrap Strips with:

  • Fire-rated assemblies
  • Large combustible pipe
  • Insulated pipe penetrations within concrete or masonry walls
  • Concrete and wood floors
  • Gypsum wall assemblies

Characteristics of the new HydroFlame Wrap Strips include:

  • No curing time
  • Excellent freeze-thaw properties
  • Simple to apply
  • Systems up to 12” (PVC)
  • Flexible
  • Forms hardened char after expansion
  • Highly intumescent
  • Can be installed from the top side of floor eliminating the need for ladders (refer to specific UL details)
  • FBC™ System Compatible
  • Clean Air Gold certified

Other new HoldRite HydroFlame products:

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Pipe Collars Featuring an interlocking tab for easy installation, HydroFlame Pipe Collars help save time and expense compared with other manufacturer’s smaller collars. Our collars are pre-assembled with highly intumescent material and are ideal for use in open and closed through-penetration firestop systems. Use HydroFlame Pipe Collars for firestopping larger pipe penetrations.

Our collars are compatible with:

  • Concrete floor and wall assemblies
  • Gypsum walls
  • Rated wood floors

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Putty Pads

HoldRite HydroFlame Putty Pads are made of a moldable, non-curing, single component fire-rated material. Used for membrane-penetration firestop systems, our putty expands when exposed to heat to form an insulating char to protect against spreading flames, smoke, gas, and water through penetration openings. No mixing required.

HoldRite® HydroFlame™ Caulking Guns

  • Our new caulking gun is designed for standard viscosity materials
  • Full-size handle for comfortable, efficient dispensing
  • Double gripping plate technology for no slipping and long life
  • Convenient rotating swivel barrel
  • Durable sausage pistons prevent bag-wrap

This newly expanded lineup will make HoldRite your go-to source for all of your firestop and sleeving solutions. We are continuing to evolve our lineup of products and are always listening to what our customers are saying providing you the quality you’ve come to expect from HoldRite. We’ll see you at a job site soon!

Safety First! The Importance of Earthquake Straps for Water Heaters

When building in locations prone to severe weather conditions or destructive natural events, it’s important to understand the risks and dangers posed by the improper installation of materials. Earthquakes can quickly expose infrastructural flaws and weaknesses that might have gone undetected under ordinary circumstances. The resulting failures in building components and utility lines can compound the effects of natural emergencies and lead to property damage, injuries, and loss of life.

Water Heaters and the Danger of Ignition Fires

A staple fixture in most commercial and residential properties, water heaters are particularly susceptible to the effects of earthquakes. Seismic oscillations and ground acceleration triggered by a major quake can destabilize an unsecured water heater and cause it to tip over. The massive size and weight of the tumbling fixture can surely damage its surroundings upon impact, but an even greater concern is the secondary risk of fire. A falling water heater can pull forcefully on and rupture supply lines, leaking combustible gas into the air. The small pilot flame of the water heater itself could ignite the released gas, triggering a fire that rapidly spreads and consumes surrounding structures.

Lessons Learned About Earthquake Straps

In the immediate aftermath of the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake that struck the San Fernando Valley in 1994, officials counted at least 110 fires blazing across the affected region. They traced a number of these fires to gas ignitions caused by toppled water heaters. In some cases, water heaters broke through the straps meant to restrain them, due to:

  • The use of inadequate strapping material, such as plumber’s tape
  • An insufficient number of straps installed, or straps installed at incorrect locations around the water heater
  • The improper installation of anchors into drywall, as opposed to wooden studs

Since the lessons of the 1994 Northridge and 1989 Loma Prieta quakes, experts have updated building codes to include more stringent requirements for safety in seismic zones. In addition, the California state legislature has passed a law requiring the bracing of all new water heater installations and existing water heaters at the time of property sale.

Challenges and Concerns

As a busy and responsible construction professional, you can’t afford to waste company time on inferior materials that contribute to subpar installations. Nor can you afford to compromise on the building code and safety standards of the projects you oversee. In the event of a major earthquake and its aftermath, a faulty water heater installation could cause catastrophic damage. Failure to comply with the bracing requirements mandated by law could even result in the filing of costly liability suits against your firm.

The HoldRite Quick Strap® Solution

HoldRite is a leading manufacturer of water heater accessories, secondary pipe supports and firestop systems. Hundreds of millions of HoldRite products are installed into a wide variety of residential and commercial construction projects.

The HoldRite Quick Strap series offers the most tested, approved, and recognized water heater restraints in the market. All models in the Quick Strap series are independently lab-tested and meet and exceed code requirements for seismic safety. All Quick Strap models are:

  • IAMPO Listed
  • Approved by the City of Los Angeles
  • California Accepted

HoldRite Quick Strap Installation Tips

When securing a water heater to the wall with earthquake straps, follow these recommended guidelines:

  • Position the water heater snug against the wall to prevent it from tipping backward during a quake. If needed, fill the extra space between the water heater and the wall with a wooden block bolted into the wall studs. The best place to locate your water heater is directly in front of t 2” x 4” wall stud.
  • The patented Quick Link™ System provides secure frontal attachment, no need to struggle wrapping the strap around the tank as HoldRite’s Quick Strap secures at the front center of the tank for ease of installation.
  • Position straps around the upper one-third and lower one-third sections of the water heater, as specified by UPC 508.2.
  • Anchor the straps to wall studs, if you are installing against the drywall.

In addition to bracing water heaters with earthquake straps, safety experts recommend installing corrugated supply lines that can flex and bend with the motion of a quake. The HoldRite Quick Flex™ Connector series offers flexible, stainless steel water supply lines that are ideal for water heater installations in seismic zones.

Whether you are installing a new water heater or retrofitting an existing installation, you can count on HoldRite to provide the durable, proven, and approved water heater accessories that you need for a successful installation.

Save Time and Reduce Your Waste Stream with the HoldRite HydroFlame Pro Series

Building professionals face numerous challenges on each construction project, and as building standards and codes rise in degree and importance, contractors are turning to more innovative, custom-engineered solutions.

The manufacturing company, HoldRite, has responded to the industry’s need for an easier to install, more cost-effective firestop system with its HydroFlame Pro Series. HydroFlame helps you cut both on-site waste and construction time with a smarter, less labor-intensive approach to firestop system installation.

How Does the HydroFlame Firestop System Work?

HoldRite has replaced the time-consuming, waste-producing system that involves temporary sleeves and manual sleeve removal. The company’s HydroFlame Pro Series product is installed before pouring the concrete floor, requiring just four screws and a cordless drill. The telescoping sleeve adjusts to various concrete depths without field modification, saving you both time and resources.

The HydroFlame Pro Hollow Sleeve is a fast, simple concrete sleeve that is UL Listed to remain in the concrete after installation. There is no intumescent material included so you can install the sleeve and firestop with caulk or sealant without the removal of the plastic concrete sleeve!  The installation of this precisely engineered firestop system reduces your person-hours, construction time, and on-site waste while using a more streamlined, cost-effective process.

Waste-Reduction Benefits of HydroFlame Hollow Sleeves

Your job site waste not only impacts the larger environment but also threatens worker safety and increases cleanup time. HydroFlame drastically reduces waste with its streamlined installation method.

3 Ways HydroFlame Reduces Your Worksite Waste:

  1. No scrap materials generated

HydroFlame produces no wasteful byproducts such as temporary sleeves. The permanent, telescoping sleeves remain as part of the firestop system.

  1. No additional packaging

Doesn’t require the use of additional supplies that produce packaging and other material waste

  1. No excess construction materials

Other firestopping methods involve cut-to-length sleeves and backing material such as mineral wool that are left behind as job site waste. HydroFlame’s hollow sleeve eliminates the needs for these excess materials.

Worksite waste reduction positively impacts worker safety and overall productivity, which makes HydroFlame’s Pro Series firestop system a valuable tool for replacing less efficient slab penetration methods.

How to Save Construction Time with HydroFlame Hollow Sleeves

If you’re familiar with traditional firestopping methods, then you’re aware of the material cost and labor required to complete the process according to UL guidelines. HydroFlame hollow-sleeve products virtually eliminate all the additional time and person-hours required for conventional firestop installation methods.

6 Ways HydroFlame Saves Time on Your Construction Site:

  1. Telescoping sleeves

The adjustable hollow sleeves provide the perfect depth without cutting or other on-site adjustments. HydroFlame products eradicate traditionally lengthy installation times.

  1. UL-Listed Cast-in-place sleeves

Temporary sleeves must be removed once the concrete dries, which consumes person-hours as your employees work to remove each sleeve from hardened concrete. HoldRite’s firestop system includes permanent sleeves that remain in place after the concrete is poured.

  1. Minimal equipment involved

Your equipment and supply list for firestop installation is minimal with HoldRite’s firestop system. You’ll only need a cordless drill, screws, and the usual caulking gun.

  1. No messy cleanup

The simplified, cast-in-place method minimizes waste and eliminates the need for messy applications that require tool and job site cleanup.

  1. Easily identify sleeves with locator whiskers

Your workers and subcontractors can quickly identify sleeves in the concrete floor using the locator whiskers on the sleeve cap, saving valuable time.

  1. Threaded caps for ease of use

Maximize workflow on your job site with HydroFlame’s threaded caps for easy access. When in place, they provide a water-tight seal.

Check Out How To Improve Time Utilization with HoldRite Firestop Systems >>

Construction sites are filled with time-consuming variables and unforeseen complications that hinder your project deadline. You can’t always control these factors, but you can look for ways to maximize efficiency and save time in other areas, like choosing a firestop system that helps you achieve your budget, deadline, and worksite safety goals.

Contact us to find out more about how HoldRite’s HydroFlame Pro Series can reduce your waste stream and save you construction time.

Firestopping of Horizontal Plumbing Penetrations