Since the Pipe Debonder is new technology in the plumbing field, we get asked a lot of questions. Some of the most common questions are posted here, but if you have anything else you want to know, feel free to contact us.
Q: Will ungluing broken pipe compromise the integrity of the existing pipe?
A: When the broken pipe is cut off at the fitting and then heated from the inside with a Pipe Debonder, the heat conducts through the pipe wall until the glue interface is softened. A precise computer program controls both time and temperature for the thickness and size of pipe. When the glue is soft, the fitting is still cool to touch. The warm pipe is soft enough to bend around itself and be removed with the patented extraction tool, but the barely warm fitting socket is undamaged and ready to re-glue immediately.
The integrity of the pipe being unglued is certainly compromised; but that pipe is already broken and being replaced.
Many plumbers are used to using a Rambit or holesaw for the same purpose, which certainly compromises the pipe too as it cuts it into small pieces. It is the integrity of the fitting that matters here and a hacksaw blade, chisel, or holesaw all risk scoring the socket wall, increasing the chance for a leak.
Properly ungluing leaves the fitting uncompromised and with no scar.
Q. Will plumbing inspectors have an issue with fittings that have been debonded and reglued?
Generally not. If a plumber were installing a new piping system in a building, and he quoted using all new parts and then was found to be using used fittings, that plumber would be in violation of his quote, but not necessarily the code. Regluing a fitting that came apart is frequently done in every plastic pipe application around the world and is accepted by most plumbing inspectors. In fact, ungluing pipe is often the preferred repair method because the it requires fewer fittings and fewer glue joints and the repair looks identical to the original installation.
Many of our customers are municipalities, the organizations that employ inspectors!
Q. PVC and plastic pipe is cheap. How is the price of the Debonder justified?
A. The price of the small Debonder is $900 and is for ungluing 1/2″ to 4″ pipe. (Up to 3” for schedule 80). It unglues PVC, CPVC, & ABS pipe. Almost every repair is made in less than 30 minutes and without any new fittings. If you save a few trips to town or a few $100 valves, it pays back fast. Plus, you get your customer back on line much quicker, which many customers will pay extra for. Most of our customers tell us they paid back the price of their Debonder within the first few uses.
The savings in fittings is the least important cost advantage of ungluing broken pipe.
The big savings from ungluing plastic pipe is the reduction in downtime for your customers. The savings to you comes from all the trips back to town to get fittings that are not on your truck. Whether or not you charge for your time, you spend it. Ungluing allows almost every leak repair to be completed without any fittings and in less than 30 minutes by ungluing both ends of the broken pipe and putting in a new piece. If the pipe is long, at most you need only one coupling and no trips to town.
Think about this scenario: One broken pipe coming out of a wall or out of concrete where you have to dig it out generally costs a whole day and $1000. Debond the fitting in 10 minutes and charge for the value you create, not the short amount of time you spent. Your customer is back up within an hour, not a whole day. So you save down time which results in lower labor costs for you or your crew. Repairs are made such that you can’t tell there was a break and you can get rid of previous repair couplings cluttering up the system.
Technology has value. Your customers won’t ever call your competition once they know how quickly you do repairs and make design changes.
Q. Can’t I just use a heat torch and get the same result as the Debonder, for less money?
A. Any heat source supplying the right amount of heat uniformly to a pipe will allow it to soften and be removed. If you really want to avoid buying a Pipe Debonder, but still unglue successfully, you can use a piece of steel pipe or heavy wall tubing just slightly smaller than the ID of the plastic pipe you want removed. Heat it to orange with a propane torch and hold it inside the pipe until the pipe is soft enough to unglue. If you repair plastic pipe often enough, it is far faster and more professional to use the Pipe Debonder. It works every time without scaring the socket with a screwdriver or needle nose pliers.
Can you really unglue 3″ or larger schedule 80 pipe with a heat gun? Pipe Debonder can, every time, no problem.
Q: I haven’t come across the need for a Debonder. Why do I need one?
A. The primary use of the Debonder is for breaks and big design changes. One customer installed 21 two-inch schedule 80 tees in an 80-foot-long run. Then he glued in 21 half-inch reducer bushings into the tees. The next morning the architect changed the design to 3/4 inch. The only choice was to rebuild the entire manifold, taking most of a day. No combination of suppliers had 21 two-inch tees in his town. The cost to rebuild this manifold was $5500 including flying fittings.
The other option was to unglue the bushings. Using a hole saw to remove the spokes on the reducers and a 7 minute Debonding cycle, the half inch bushings were removed in 3.5 hours. The whole job was completed in less than 5 hours and the cost was reduced to $600. These situations don’t happen every day, but justifying the Debonder was simple in this situation.
Q. How else can I use the Debonder?
A. You likely have a boneyard of glued fittings, flanges, and valves you could put back in service. The value of those salvageable parts is probably worth much more than the cost of the Debonder. Unglue those and reuse them or sell them. You can even charge other plumbers to unglue their boneyards of materials! Plumbing schools debond pipe everyday to save the cost of the fittings and the cost of disposal. In that sense, Pipe Debonders are environment friendly and green.
Q. Can older pipe be unglued, even on pipe glued years ago?
A. Absolutely! We’ve had customers unglue pipe that was originally installed more than 25 years ago.
Q. Will the Debonder stand up to being bounced around in my service truck, and can it be used in tight areas without the risk of igniting insulation or wood?
A. Yes. All Pipe Debonders are built very robust. They all come in hard shell cases that you can stand on and the cases are foam lined to protect the tools. They will stand up to being bounced around in a truck.
The small Debonder is 6 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. That is how much space is needed to fit it into the broken pipe so it works in tight spaces. It’s especially useful for closet (toilet) flange repairs where the pipe is cut off from the inside and the Pipe Debonder inserted through the floor to unglue the WYE or SWEEP. The heat element is guarded and only heats the plastic enough to peel way from the fitting. As long as there are no flammable gasses in the area or in the pipe system, there is no fire danger.