INSTALLING FIRESTOP SYSTEMS OR FIRE CAULK?’s latest issue has an excellent artcile about whether or not to choose firestop systems or fire caulk:

MANY HAVE HEARD ABOUT ‘FIRESTOP.’ WAIT, WHAT? WHAT’S FIRESTOP? Firestop is a tested and listed SYSTEM. The SYSTEM comes from the many fire tests conducted at leading laboratories like FM Approvals, Intertek or Underwriters Laboratories. The manufacturers of these materials invest a lot of money and time ensuring that they—the materials— in fact, work for the specific application and required time, based on proven fire test procedures, such as ASTM E 814 and UL 1479 for penetrations and ASTM E 2307, ASTM E 2837, ASTM E 1966 and UL 2079 for joints. Therefore, firestopping should be all about listed, classified firestop SYSTEMS. The SYSTEMS are an assemblage of materials—the floor or wall assembly, annular space or joint size, type, size of penetrating item and possible coverings that have been tested for a particular application, a particular hourly fire-resistancerating and/or smoke-resistant property. The SYSTEMS are then listed and classified by FM Approvals, Intertek or UL, and/or other credible independent third-party testing labs. Now we come to the installation of these firestop systems, and it seems that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars invested by the manufacturers in testing, that some in the industry continue to refer to it as, “we installed the fire caulk, so the floor and wall are now rated.” Really? There’s a magic product that provides fire-ratings?

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20 Oct

Food smells coming from basement?

range-hood-bgeraserturds asks:

I tried a couple searches and nothing really seems to fit my situation.

There are tenants that live in the basement and every time they cook, the smells come up in to the main floor. I think the smell is making it’s way through cold air return in to the basement straight up to the cold air return on the main floor.

Is there anything I can do to stop this? It can be pretty strong at times.

Answer: I would think the smell is wafting through the floors. Each apartment should have individual heating/Ac units and should have their own returns and should not be tied together. A range hood vent outside over the stove might help reduce the odor.
– Rick Ensley
SureSeal Product Manager

12 Oct

RectorSeal® Paircoil™

paircoilPaircoil, Pre-insulated, paired lineset for mini-split installations is now available in 50ft length with markings every 2ft for quicker, more accurate cutting.

• Malleable copper tubing and insulation easily shapes to fit any application.

• Sturdy, protective cardboard box

• Easily stacked without damaging line-set

• Fully illustrated package

06 Oct

Is this as bad as it looks? Mold in apartment A/C vent

r63idkvUser RobotDrZaius writes:

I took off the vent cover because I was trying to close it and the switch was stuck. Looks like death inside. Now, I’ve lived in this apartment with my g/f for almost 6 months with no health or respiratory problems…is this as awful as it looks to my untrained eye? Should I contact my apartment’s maintenance people or just clean it myself (wearing a dust mask, of course)?

zeimbo answered: It’s hard to tell from the pic- your best bet would be to get a spore test kit which most hardware stores will have relatively cheap. I would not attempt to do anything to the insulation as it may contain asbestos. If the kit comes back positive for mold spores, keep your receipt and tell the management you’d like to be reimbursed and have it cleaned..


29 Sep

Plumbing: Looking for advice with water service fix?

0llq4jcternarybit writes:

The valve farthest right is leaking. Below that is heavily corroded galv that goes into the ground. Moving right, the first tee feeds into a sprinkler system which is the PVC you see in the lower-right of the corner. I want to leave that stuff intact because it’s working fine and it would be a huge hassle to mess with.

Moving right again, I guess that’s a pressure regulator? No idea what the ball valve is doing there, I guess just another shutoff option. Then it goes into PVC and back into galv into the house.

I partially exposed the corroded buried galv going into the first valve, and it’s horrible. Super corroded, must be original from 1956. Got about 2′ exposed before I ran out of time. The valve and exposed pipe is leaking pretty good, 2-3 drips per second now.

I want to replace the corroded galv and leaking valve, but I also want to do everything else as correct as possible.


  1. What do I replace the galv with? I guess UPC states I can put almost anything underground. Thinking either poly or PVC, then backfilled with sand. Open to input.
  2. Do I need a pressure regulator at all?
  3. Any other recommendations for cleaning this up and doing it as properly as possible?


Answer: Check code to see what see if they allow PVC or Pex  for underground water supply. I personally like copper, use rolled soft copper or PEX for the water service from the water meter to the house, with those products you will have no connections underground. The ball valve was probably installed because the gate valve for the water service was bad.

The pressure regulator is there for a reason so make sure you reinstall it.

As far as cleaning up that mess, I would run the new water service straight up to the house service. Between the ground and the service install a ball valve, after that install the regulator, tee off for the sprinkler and tie into the house service. You should be able to install the regulator vertically. Get the model number and call the manufacturer to make sure. Also if you use copper you will need a di-electric union to isolate the copper from the Galvanized pipe to prevent electrolysis. Pex will be the easiest to install if it is allowed in your area

– Rick Ensley, SureSeal Product Manager

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22 Sep