The Plumbing Connection

Volume 2 | Issue 4

Brought to you by Herkowski Stickler & Associates

Your Trusted Rep Solution Since 1931

Tech Talk

Testing of Plastic Piping

Although water is the predominant testing method for plastic piping systems, some installers opt for air pressure due to its perceived speed and simplicity. Yet, employing compressed air for testing could pose significant risks to the installer in the event of system failure.

“When testing with air, the air compresses and stores energy in the exact same way a bomb would, creating the possibility for an explosion,” said Brian Conner, director of codes and standards and international technical support at Charlotte Pipe. “If such an explosion were to occur, shards of pipe, test plugs, fittings, and debris would be released in all directions, leading to serious injury — or even death.”


Air testing for PVC, CPVC, and ABS plastic piping systems not only poses the threat of significant property damage or injury but also falls short as a reliable testing method compared to water. Despite potentially saving time on the job, air pressure fails to pinpoint leaks with the same precision as water, thereby rendering it inadequate and inaccurate.

In a water test, it’s easier to get a visual confirmation of leaks at the joints. Water testing requires minimal extra time for installers and is error-proof, making it a win-win and ensuring a safer jobsite.



  • Isolate each section of pipe being tested by inserting plugs through test tees. Plug or cap all other openings with test plugs or caps.
  • Fill the system being tested with water to the highest point. The hydrostatic pressure created as the water fills the vertical pipe increases as the water height climbs. Filling the system with water slowly should allow any air in the system to escape as the water rises. Charlotte Pipe recommends testing at 10 feet of hydrostatic pressure (4.3 pounds per square inch.)
  • Ensure all air trapped in the system is expelled before beginning the test. Failure to remove entrapped air may give faulty test results or cause system failure.
  • If a leak is found, cut and discard the joint. Then install a new section using pipe and fittings.
  • Drain the system and prepare the next section for testing.
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What's Happening at HSA?

HSA Gives Back

Last month, several members of our team took part in the first HSA Gives Back event of the year. We joined a packing session for Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. Together, we packed 116 boxes, totaling 25,056 meals to feed 68 children for the year. Additionally, HSA made a monetary contribution, providing food for a family for an entire year. We're deeply grateful for the opportunity to support such a worthy cause. Keep an eye out for updates on our next HSA Gives Back event scheduled for later this month.

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2024 State of Illinois Apprentice Contest

HSA stands strong in its support for Local 130! We're thrilled to have contributed Jay R. Smith carriers and Gerber shower valves to aid apprentice competitors in showcasing their skills during the 2024 State of Illinois Apprentice Contest. This donation also assisted 10 other locals from around the state of Illinois in participating in this competition as well. These closet carriers were essential for the contest's success. We're especially thrilled to spotlight a female plumbing competitor from Local 23, following our recent celebration of Women in Industry Week. 

2024 Illinois PHCC EXPO and Education Day

We had an incredible experience presenting our premier manufacturers' products at both the Illinois PHCC EXPO in March and the Wisconsin PHCC Product Show in April. It was delightful engaging with plumbers and contractors, conversing about our highlighted products from esteemed brands such as Bradley, Bradford White, Laars, Gerber, Potter Roemer, T&S, Oatey, Whitehall, Acorn, Jay R. Smith, Murdock, Elmdor, Chronomite, and many others. Looking forward to next year's shows!


Penny Rimdzius, Tara Jensema, Brenda Holz, and Katie Goodman had the pleasure of participating in Elevate2024 Women in Industry last week. The event was brimming with esteemed guest speakers, including AmyK Hutchens, Selena Rezvani, and Mollie Elkman. They also attended numerous networking events, engaged in a dynamic Panel Session on Influencing Change, and concluded with insightful Best Practice Round Table sessions. Amidst all this, they explored downtown Nashville during their downtime. It was a remarkable opportunity to connect with women from various backgrounds who share their passion for the plumbing industry. Witnessing the diverse roles these remarkable women hold and their everyday influence on the industry was truly inspiring. They eagerly anticipate the upcoming ASA events and the 2025 Women in Industry event!

Manufacturer Highlights

Struggling to find the perfect flapper for your Gerber toilet? Your search ends here! Explore our comprehensive guide to discover the ideal flapper for your needs.

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The Bradford White For The Pro® Contractor App has been updated to better assist Bradford White pros. With this app: Scan any Bradford White product barcode; Search Bradford White model numbers; Get fast access to resources; and Call or live chat with our 24/7 technical support. Get Professional Resources at Your Fingertips!

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Price Increases

Bradford White will be implementing the following price increases on specialty commercial products effective April 16, 2024. Please note there will be no increase on the Brute® XTR Boilers and Water Heaters and the Brute FT® 301-399 Boilers. See the chart below for the affected products:

LAARs implemented a price increase on most Commercial Products and Replacement Parts, effective Monday, April 1, 2024. Please note there will be no increase on NeoTherm XTR Boilers and Water Heaters and FT Series 301-399 Boilers. See the below chart for the affected products.

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Herkowski Stickler & Associates

203 South Curtis Road, Milwaukee, WI 53214 

890 Supreme Drive, Bensenville, IL 60106