When can a pneumatic pipe plug be repaired versus replaced?

Large diameter test ball in wastewater sewer pipe

April 2nd, 2021

Cherne sets the standard for high-quality and reliable pneumatic pipe plugs, offering a two-year warranty on pneumatic plugs from the date of manufacture, and a limited one-year warranty on mechanical plugs and other testing, maintenance and repair equipment.

As long as you follow instructions in the Cherne Safety Instruction Manual, pneumatic plugs can last for many years. If kept in controlled conditions — i.e., not exposed to sunlight and kept at temperatures between 0-125 degrees Fahrenheit — pneumatic plugs will remain in good condition for an extended period.

Still, sometimes pneumatic plugs get damaged in the field.

For this reason, Cherne’s pneumatic plugs should always be inspected for visual damage before every use. When you spot damage, the next step is to determine whether the plug can be repaired, or if it is better to replace it altogether.

Cherne handles all repairs at the factory based in Minneapolis, MN. Returns to the factory require a return goods authorization (RGA) and must be done through one of Cherne’s authorized distributors.

If a pneumatic plug becomes damaged in the field, the first step is to contact Cherne at 1-800-321-9532 / 1-800-THE PLUG.

A Cherne Technical Specialist will ask you to email a picture of the damage on the plug to the Cherne Quality Assurance Department along with a brief description of the damage. The specialist will then use this information to determine if the plug needs repairing or replacement.

Generally speaking, pneumatic plugs that do not have sealing rings may be eligible for patching.

Cherne can likely patch the pneumatic plug if the damage or cut:

  • ...is four inches in length or shorter;
  • ...does not go deep enough into the surface, so as to expose the reinforced cording; and
  • …the plug has four or fewer patches on it.

Cherne cannot patch a pneumatic plug if the damage or cut:

  • ...is longer than four inches;
  • ...goes deep enough to expose the reinforced cording.

There are several other types of repairs and replacements Cherne offers, such as:

  • replacing inflatable bladders
  • bypass Hoses
  • castings
  • eyebolts
  • fittings

In most instances, pneumatic plugs can be repaired. But there are times when it’s actually more cost-effective to buy a new plug, depending on the number of repairs needed. Repairs can add up and, pretty soon, you may be paying the price of a new plug. If that is the case, Cherne will send pricing and availability on a new plug.

It is always a good idea to contact Cherne Support and provide a picture of the plug and its damaged area(s) to determine whether a plug is repairable. If the plug is so damaged that it can neither be patched nor have the bladder or other parts replaced, purchasing a new plug would be the alternative.

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