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Thread: Test ball / balloons?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member exeunt's Avatar
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    Default Test ball / balloons?

    So I'm finally finishing up the new DWV pipes and am preparing for an inspection. First I wanted to do my own water test, and I installed a test tee at the bottom of where my new plumbing joins the existing plubming. I've been to Home Hardware, Home Depot and Lowes and not only do they not have test balloons / balls, no one even knows what I'm talking about.

    If inspections regularly require pressure testing of some sort, where are people buying these things from? Makes me wonder how many renovations actually have building permits and inspections if they need to special order parts for a normal test.. Where do I find these things, or do I even need to worry about this unless an inspector asks for it?

    Thanks

    Last edited by Terry; 06-13-2010 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #2
    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    You go to a regular plumbing supply house such as a ferguson pipe in you area

    but if they will sell to you i don't know ?

    Here in the states different wholesalers have different policy's on that

    some do and some don't only licensed trades people !

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  3. #3
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    Plumbing supplier will have all the test caps, plugs, balloons , except the billiard ball.

    I beleive there is a Westburne plumbing supply close to you in New Market. 110 Harry Walker N. #905-895-8625. If they did not shut it down

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The flip side of that could be that not many want to go through the hassles of doing their own plumbing, and the professional installer already has the testing equipment. Let us know how your FIRST inspection goes.

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    When I did mine, I ended up buying what I needed online. Cherne is a big manufacturer of these things.

    http://www.cherneind.com/Pneumatic/Default.aspx

    I tried all the local rental places around here, and none of them carried these (not surprising, since the demand would be small). One did rent the parts/pump to air test the system, but did not carry the balls.

    If you can't get any from your local plumbing supply, just take a look online. I used a 4" long test ball and a 2" normal one for my setup. The other spots were able to be capped with knockout style caps.

    I passed mine on the 1st try. The inspector even commented that I must have done plumbing before because all the fittings were used correctly, properly sized, etc. I told him that I had not, but I spent a lot of time reading/understanding the code and took my time in figuring the layout.

    Do the test yourself a day or two before the actual test to make sure there are no leaks or any problems with your testing equipment. Here, they wanted the system filled and ready to go before they came. I was able to setup a fixed time for the inspector to come, so that the system would be ready for him when he arrived.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Terry; 06-13-2010 at 10:40 PM.

  6. #6
    DIY Member bsperr's Avatar
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    I recently had the exact same experience at Lowes, which makes me wonder how they decide what products to stock, but my local plumbing supply store had exactly what I needed. Good luck with the inspection.

  7. #7
    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    I think that many DIYrs don't bother testing or getting permits. And the plumbers already have the testers. There are also a number of different sizes of test balls and different configurations, so there would be a fair number of items to stock to cover most situations. The rubber also has a shelf life (2 years, IIRC), so that might be an issue if they can't turn over stock quickly enough. Then there will also be the people who don't know what they are doing and overinflate the ball, lose the ball down the line, etc.

    If you situation calls for several balls, it might be cheaper/easier to have a plumber come out and do the test for you. The balls (especially the long ones) get expensive quickly.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member asktom's Avatar
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    There is also a certain pescentage of folks that would use the test plug, then return it after the test. Big box stores are about inventory turns, slow turns and lots of returns makes no money.

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    DIY Senior Member Rich B's Avatar
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    If you want one.....I have a 4" exactly as pictured in your post. I bought it but never used it. It's brand new.....I paid about $30 for it....

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member speede541's Avatar
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    Since embarking on my project, I've drifted away from the big box stores and gotten to know a handful of supply houses which stock the previously obscure plumbing and electrical parts I need and, coincidentally, often have "Supply" as part of their name. It's like a whole new toy store with goodies I've never seen before!

    But the outfit where I bought my test balls quickly noted, "No returns on this item!" when I whipped out my credit card. They'll go to Craigslist once I've finished with them.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member exeunt's Avatar
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    After calling 4 different supply stores, I'm just going to order one from the other side of the country. Suprisingly the supply stores hadn't even heard of test balls / balloons. They only carried test plugs. What an odd experience.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I once had to snake a tub drain, but could not get through it. After cutting a hole in the foundation and excavating over to it, I cut the pipe apart and found the remains of a test ball in the pipe.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member exeunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    I once had to snake a tub drain, but could not get through it. After cutting a hole in the foundation and excavating over to it, I cut the pipe apart and found the remains of a test ball in the pipe.
    lol.. well i called for a plumbing inspection and asked if i needed a pressure test. he said no, that if it looked ok i shouldn't need one. i'd still feel more comfortable with my work if i could test it, but perhaps i'll just load up a hose to the rough in and like it go for a while.

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