If labels made with DuraLabel Premium Vinyl fail within five years of purchase,
we will provide a one-time replacement roll of the same supply.
Pipe marker labels should be properly maintained to ensure legibility and readability. Under normal conditions outdoor labels will last five to seven years. Labels used indoors will typically have a longer life, depending on the environmental conditions.
Pipe markers should be inspected on a periodic basis such as once a year. Here is what to look for during an inspection:
Pipe Marker Inspection
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1. Identify missing pipe markers. Pipe markers should be located every 50 feet, near valves and flanges, near wall, ceiling and floor penetrations, and near changes of direction. A good rule of thumb is that a pipe marker should be visible from any location from which the pipe can be seen.
2. Identify deteriorated or damaged pipe markers. Any pipe marker that is partially missing should be replaced. Also look for corners that are starting to come lose. Corners are commonly a point of first failure and labels with corners coming unstuck should be replaced.
3. Identify dirty pipe markers or pipe markers covered by oil, grease or debris. These pipe markers should be cleaned. If oil, grease or debris is an on-going problem, then alternate methods of labeling the pipe might be appropriate to consider. For example, use a sign blank and hang the pipe marker label from the pipe in order to reduce the potential for debris to accumulate on the pipe marker.
4. Identify pipe markers that are being damaged by their environment. If a pipe is so hot that it damages the pipe marker, then a high temperature material should be used for the pipe marker. If the pipe is regularly exposed to extreme cold, then a low temperature pipe marker material might be appropriate. DuraLabel has a wide range of specialty supplies available that make pipe markers that stay stuck on oily surfaces, that resist chemicals, or that can be applied to uneven surfaces.
5. Identify locations where pipes have changed - look for newly installed pipes, locations where temporary pipe is being used, a new valve that has been added, or places repairs have been made to a pipe. These are locations where pipe markers may not have been installed or existing pipe markers may have been damaged. Pipes need to be properly marked, even if they are temporary pipes.
6. Identify pipes that are no longer in service. A pipe marker identifying a pipe as having certain contents, when that pipe is no longer in service, is an incorrectly labeled pipe. This can cause serious problems and, in particular, delays in responses during an emergency. If a pipe is no longer in service the existing pipe markers should be removed and replaced with pipe markers that say "OUT OF SERVICE".
Never paint over or cover up existing pipe markers on out-of-service pipes. Always remove the old pipe markers and replace them with appropriate new pipe markers.
Pipe Marker Replacement
When a pipe marker needs to be replaced, the old pipe marker should be completely removed. If a new pipe marker is installed over an existing pipe marker, the adhesive on the old label may be close to failure with the result being that the failure will be transferred to the new pipe marker.
A common cause of label failure is the adhesive drying out. Once a part of a label starts to peel up, air can get at the adhesive and begin to dry it out. The drying of the adhesive will generally spread out under the label where it cannot be seen. Thus if part of a label is damaged, the entire label can be close to failure. This is the reason partially damaged labels should be replaced and old labels should never be covered by replacement labels.
Many labels can be removed by scraping them off with a putty knife. However, with strong labels such as DuraLabel Premium Vinyl Tape, this can be a labor intensive process. Heating the label with a heat gun will speed this process.
For some applications a powered wire brush can be used to quickly remove labels. The use of this type of tool must take into consideration the type of surface the label is applied to and whether that surface will be damaged.
Another alternative is to use WD-40. After peeling up the corner or edge of the label, spraying a generous amount of WD-40, or any oil-based lubricant, around the label will accelerate the separation between the label and the application surface. The oil-based lubricant has a deconstructive reaction with the adhesive that weakens the bond between the label and the surface. This allows it to come off cleanly and quickly. (This technique does not work with DuraLabel Oily Surface Tapes.)
Applying A New Label
Always thoroughly clean the surface before applying a new label. This includes removing dirt, dust, debris, oil, grease, moisture, ice or any other material.
If an adhesive residue is left after removing a label, it can be cleaned using isopropyl alcohol or, if it is difficult to remove, an organic solvent such as acetone can be used. (Use appropriate precautions when using strong solvents such as acetone.)
If a pipe is rusty, the rust should be cleaned up before applying a pipe marker. If the rust can not be completely removed, then the use of pipe marking sleeves such as the DuraLabel Pipe Grabbers would be appropriate. Another option is to use pipe markers made for application on rusty surfaces (available from DuraLabel).
Pipe Marker article by Steve Hudgik
We recommend the DuraLabel PRO as your pipe marker printer as well as a general purpose label printer