Here are the facts related to FlowGuard Gold® plenum ratings:
There has been no change to the acceptability of FlowGuard Gold CPVC for use in return air plenums.
The following manufacturers of FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and fittings are listed and labeled per ICC Evaluation Service Report PMG-1264 and as required by the International Mechanical Code and Uniform Mechanical Code:
- Bow (Pipe & Fittings)
- Cresline Plastic Pipe Co., Inc. (Pipe)
- Genova Products, Inc. (Pipe and Fittings)
- NIBCO Inc. (Fittings)
Therefore, FlowGuard Gold pipe and fittings manufactured by these companies are acceptable for use in return air plenums.
Any statement or implication that FlowGuard Gold pipe and fittings manufactured by the companies listed above are not acceptable for use in plenums is false.
FlowGuard Gold® Plenum Report Details
Lubrizol has conducted ASTM E84 testing on FlowGuard Gold CPVC compounds which are covered in IAPMO Uniform Evaluation Service Evaluation Report UEL-5002:
“FlowGuard Gold CPVC compound when formed into pipe and fittings…exhibited a flame-spread index of less than 25 and a smoke developed index less than 50, satisfying the requirements for installation in plenums spaces or within ducts in accordance with UMC and IMC Sections 602.2”
The pipe and fitting manufacturers named above are listed in ICC Evaluation Service Report PMG-1264, which states:
“The following ratings were obtained and have been found to meet the 25/50 flame spread/smoke developed requirements:
- ½”-2” water-filled FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and fittings have a flame spread index of no more than 5 and a smoke developed index of no more than 35
- ½”-2” dry FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and fittings have a flame spread index of no more than 5 and a smoke developed index of no more than 25”
Current Code Requirements
2018 Uniform Mechanical Code, Section 602.2:
“Materials exposed within ducts or plenums shall be non-combustible or shall have a flame spread index not to exceed 25 and smoke developed index not to exceed 50, when testing as a composite product in accordance with ASTM E84 or UL 723.”
2018 International Mechanical Code, Section 602.2.1
“Except as required by sections 602.2.1.1, materials within plenums shall be noncombustible or shall be listed and labeled as having a flame spread index of not more than 25 and a smoke developed index of not more than 50 when tested in accordance with ASTM E84 or UL 723.”
The ASTM E84 Test exposes a test specimen to extreme burning conditions, the temperature of the fire near the test specimen is up to 1600°F. By comparison a typical structure fire is between 1100-1300°F. Significant damage to the specimen exposed to these temperatures is expected and in no way indicates whether the product has passed or failed.
The only criteria for the ASTM E84 test are the flame spread index and smoke developed index, neither of which can be determined via visual assessment of samples after testing.
The results of an ASTM E84 test is a comparison of the flame and smoke profile of a test specimen (in this case a FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe and fitting assembly) compared to the flame and smoke profile of a piece of wood. In this comparison, the wood is benchmarked at 100/100 for flame spread and smoke developed, per the IMC and UMC, plenum rated products must have a 25/50 flame and smoke performance.
To ensure the integrity of the testing, listing and labeling process, the industry relies on highly respected 3rd party agencies – such as ICC Evaluation Service (a subsidiary of the International Code Council) and IAPMO Uniform Evaluation Service (a subsidiary of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) – to review test results and issue reports demonstrating the acceptability of the test data supporting the performance of the listed products.
For the latest copy of the ICC-ES and IAPMO-UES reports, please visit: www.FlowGuardGold.com/installation/plenum-ratings.