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Thread: Test Ball Woes...

  1. #1
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Wink Test Ball Woes...

    I have set up to do the rough plumbing inspection for my new house. All DWV is capped and good, except for the darned main drain. The only real place to seal off the drain from the septic is where the first cleanout tee is. I have a Cherne 4" test ball inflated to 30psi and bring the system up to 5psi and I can hear air going around the ball to the septic...

    Now for the good stuff... The tee is 8' under ground and I'm afraid it is a sani-tee. I wasn't there when it was installed by my excavator / septic system installer. I have a custom 10' test ball extension hose and 12' of chain on the ball...

    Any ideas? Water from the house slows it down, but not for 15 min... I had thought of Jell-o...

    Last edited by Terry; 06-13-2010 at 10:41 PM.
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

  2. #2
    Tradesman Plumber Kristi's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm not sure how it works everywhere, and really it's up to the individual inspector - but i would get what pressure i could on there, water and then boost it with air, and if you could hear that water was sputtering past the ball, i would point it out to the inspector and say "damn that ball! it doesn't seem to be working for me today!"... chances are, he would agree with you that the ball isn't doing a great job, and know that the amount of pressure you seemed to be losing was in line with what sounds/sights were coming from the ball, and know that if there was a significant issue elsewhere that it would be showing itself. Other than that, is it possible that a joint has not been glued around there and is allowing the air/water to escape? Are you positive it's coming from the ball not fitting? That's a deep main considering it's right at the house... is it possible to set the test ball at the end of the line where it dumps into the septic tank? I'm sure some of the pros on this forum will be able to provide some other suggestions...!

    ~k~

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default ball

    First, you need a long test ball, not the common small one. Then you have to find some way to get it to turn down the main line at least a short distance.
    Second, if it is a sanitary tee rather than a Y or combo, then it is almost useless for any purpose it would be needed for.

  4. #4
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default

    My excavator said that it is a Y. I could do it at the tank, but that inlet is about 15' down an 18" access... if you can call it that. (The bottom of the septic field is 25' down.)

    What I'm thinking is using a 10' stick of 3/4" copper tube as a sort of handle to kinda jiggle the thing into the main. Worth a try. The tech guy at Cherne said that their 3-4" multi size ball is smaller and shorter than the 4" one size ball. That should be easier to get around the corner...

    If that doesn't work I'll try the "darned ball" technique. With one inspector I wouldn't worry about it. He is good but throws in a dose of real world. The one I got assigned is also good, but a real stickler for the code. I know he'll want to see 5# for 15 min, not 6# at start and 3# at end...
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

  5. #5
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Passed the test!!!

    Well, I passed the test... I wasn't able to get the ball around into the main so I pushed it down as I inflated it. I then put about 3' of water in the system and pressurized it to 6#. When the 15 min was done there was no water left and air was squishing out a little with about 3# on the gauge. The inspector walked the entire house with the pressure on and the only place we heard noise was where the test ball was. Yahoo!!

    Water passed too, after I sweated the two elbows I missed...

    Only some framing issues to tackle to pass the 4-way!!! I'm that much closer to finishing my house...

    Thanks everyone!!!
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

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