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brazed fittings ok for oil line?

sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
The supply line between our fuel oil tank and the furnace includes about a 25' run of rigid copper tubing, the copper fittings (elbows and couplers) of which are brazed.  Here's a picture where you can see part of the rigid line installation with a few brazed elbows: http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb153/sgull1/IMG_2098_zps88175536.jpg

An HVAC pro who noticed this informed me that brazed fittings on a fuel oil line is usually against code and he seemed surprised that the installer would've chosen this method for the supply line.  I myself know next to nothing about brazing, but anyway he said something about he thought the reason brazing is considered unacceptable had something to do with the phosphorus content of the brazing rod, alloys, and/or flux used can have a corrosive effect on copper.  Any comments about this please?  Advisable for me to get this run of line replaced with soft copper tubing?  Thanks
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Comments

  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 527Member ✭✭
    Copper is brazed and soldered all the time

    without any deteriorating effects to the pipe . Not sure about the code issues of brazing oil lines , but if it was my home I'd get rid or the rigid pipe and brazed fittings . Maybe run a whole new line from tank to burner if it's feasible . And definitely keep that OSV ! 
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    specify why, please

    Ron Jr., if as you say there is no deteriorating effects to the pipe because of the brazing then what would be the reason(s) you'd get rid of the rigid pipe and brazed fittings if it were your home?  Because of possible code issues, or other?  Just asking.  thanks
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  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 527Member ✭✭
    Just personal preference

    We don't see much oil line that is brazed . In some homes we see soldered joints and sometimes when reworking them , they break loose at the joint . Not sure if it's just bad soldering or oil affects the joint .....



    Also , I like to have the least amount of joints as possible with oil lines . How many brazed joints are there on the piping ? And how old is it ?
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    edited March 2013
    It's my understanding

    that using soldered joints in an oil line is a big no-no, and will  always be against code,  the reason being that in a fire a soldered joint can easily come apart because of the heat, whereas a brazed fitting will not.  In regard to your reply, yes it makes sense to me also to prefer the least amount of joints in a line, therefore opting for soft copper run(s) of line instead of rigid. Perhaps the reason brazed fittings on a rigid oil line might not be typically used is because as you mentioned with the soldered fittings you've encountered the brazed fittings may also have a tendency to break loose at the joint upon any reworking of the line.  I don't know, just guessing.

    I think there's a total of about eight brazed fittings on this approximately 25' run of rigid pipe which runs from the supply tank at ground level down to the furnace in the basement. The installation was done about 15 years ago.  It's apparently unusual, and I'm not sure about against code,  to utilize rigid copper piping with brazed joint fittings for oil supply lines.  I'm asking about it here because I do know a competent professional did this installation and it appears a quality job etc, yet another competent professional commented it may be against code and that if anything bad were to come of it then a possible insurance claim could be denied payment.  That in itself would of course be valid reason to replace the line with soft copper, but if in reality the line is in fact not a code violation and is trouble-free otherwise, why bother changing it? 
    Post edited by sgull on
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2013
    Silver Brazed:

    I think you are confusing low temperature soft solder with high temperature Silver Brazed. Like on Refrigeration lines.

    Silver bearing low temperature solder like Silvabrite 100 melts at 600 degrees or less. You can solder it with a air/acetylene torch or LP/Mapp Gas torch.

    Silver braze is done with silver alloy rods that melt at over 100 degrees and need a Oxy/Acetylene torch. I have used high temperature Silfoss hard brazing rod on oil lines in the past when I had solder couplings but no flare couplings. Refer guys use it all the time. It is a legal water connection for underground connections in Massachusetts. I remember it being in the oil burner code as an allowable connection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazing
    Post edited by icesailor on
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    Okay, well all I know

    is this one HVAC pro who looked at the line said these joints appear to be brazed, that he's never seen that used for oil line, and seemed fairly certain but not sure that it would be a code violation, with the explanation about the phosphorus etc as in my first post this thread.  Didn't seem to make sense to me because of I know copper is brazed to copper all the time, as necessary depending on the application; but I too have not heard of nor seen brazing fittings on a copper fuel oil line either.  But I'm no pro, know next to nothing about brazing, and simply lack the experience/knowledge a pro might have.  Thus my inquiry here.  It's a mystery to me why the installer would've gone to the trouble he did to install the line utilizing this method, but if it's okay I certainly have no problem with it. If it's not okay, somehow a bad idea and improper/irresponsible to leave it as is, I'll go ahead and get it changed.  Otherwise I have no problem leaving it alone. Thanks!
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    Brazed Oil Lines:

    If I had an oil line to run, and I didn't want a mechanical joint (flare fitting) in the line, and I had a piece of Silphos with me, I'd probably silver braze it rather than all those flare fittings. The HVAC guys do it all the time with their refrigeration lines.
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    edited March 2013
    Seems to me then

    the HVAC person got me all alarmed and concerned about a non-existent problem with the line with the brazed fittings.  It looks good, all plumb and straight and secure, and with the elimination of the mechanical joints, as icesailor mentioned, seems more of a first-class installation job rather than something improper or to even consider changing.  Good!  Thanks.  And thanks too icesailor for the wikipedia link. Good reading.  I learned a little something.
    Post edited by sgull on
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  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Posts: 991Member
    I'm not sure

    about codes and if it is OK to use brazed fittings, while I wouldn't do it, because it would take longer, cost more, and be much more work than doing it the "rite" way... I would think it should be fine, as long as someone did a good job with tight joints it should last a long time... I dont think the oil harm the joints and there is no real pressure to speak of, after all I braze joints in refrigeration systems that see 400+psi and never budge....
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    It looks good, clean, and tight

    "I would think it should be fine, as long as someone did a good job with tight joints it should last a long time"



    Heatpro, yeah whoever did it took the time/cost for whatever reason to install the line using this method.  So far it's lasted fine for 15 years or so with no trouble.  You can pretty much tell by looking at it that they did a quality job, all straight and plumb and secure and clean looking.  So I think nothing for me to worry about after all.  Thanks.
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    Silver Braze:

    In 1967, when I took my Massachusetts Journeyman's exam, the Practical part of the exam was to silver braze a wrought copper fitting to a piece of copper tube. My years of metal shop in the Los Angeles City School System and all the projects I did that included brass brazing, made it a piece of cake.

    Sounds like you have a really clean and professional job.
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Posts: 991Member
    if its not broke don't fix it, unless its almost broke & I don't wanna come back later.

    I have a customer with severe OCD, and when I installed his oil line which was a roll of encapped' orange oil line, he couldnt stand how it didnt look straight like the rest of the install, and asked me if I could make it straight, and it was very straight, I go out of my way to make sure everything is straight, I unroll the copper tubing in a corner of the foundation to make sure htere are no bendy wangs' in there... Well he hated it, I ended up running conduit {THREADED conduit!} with the oil line inside it and braided connections to the tank and burner.... I went out of my way to get a 20ft length for the long run so there was no joints, when we were done it looked really nice, and he later came down and painted it Blue to match his Buderus boiler... {I gave him the paint, I paint all my circs to match the Buderus units on the higher end installs, I used to do the expansion tanks too, but they wouldnt warranty one I painted so I stopped}... But moral of the story is, if it looks good, doesn't leak, and works, leave it alone...
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  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Posts: 991Member
    if its not broke don't fix it, unless its almost broke & I don't wanna come back later.

    I have a customer with severe OCD, and when I installed his oil line which was a roll of encapped' orange oil line, he couldnt stand how it didnt look straight like the rest of the install, and asked me if I could make it straight, and it was very straight, I go out of my way to make sure everything is straight, I unroll the copper tubing in a corner of the foundation to make sure htere are no bendy wangs' in there... Well he hated it, I ended up running conduit {THREADED conduit!} with the oil line inside it and braided connections to the tank and burner.... I went out of my way to get a 20ft length for the long run so there was no joints, when we were done it looked really nice, and he later came down and painted it Blue to match his Buderus boiler... {I gave him the paint, I paint all my circs to match the Buderus units on the higher end installs, I used to do the expansion tanks too, but they wouldnt warranty one I painted so I stopped}... But moral of the story is, if it looks good, doesn't leak, and works, leave it alone...
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  • sgullsgull Posts: 21Member
    Well, okay if you say so...

    "if it looks good, doesn't leak, and works, leave it alone..."

    But maybe it'd look even better if I was to paint it blue... ?
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    Painting Oil.

    No, blue is the universal color for potable water.

    If you are going to paint it, paint it red or a dark orange.
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  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Posts: 1,542Member
    nfpa

    NFPA 8.2.8.4 says that brazing materials uased on oil lines must have a melting point over 1000°
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    Brazing:

    Which is what I am writing about. I'm not talking about soft solder like 95/5 that melts at over 900 degrees.

    With silver brazing, there's no wiping the grapes off the pipe or fitting. And if you try to use a cloth rag, the rag catches on fire.
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  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,087Member ✭✭✭
    Flare fittings

    Makes no sense to connect or lengthen a supply line with anything other than a flared fitting. 
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    Doing:

    Depending on the situation, one does what one has to do.

    It is legal to make high temperature braze connections on oil lines, and I always have a piece of silver braze rod in the truck. If I needed to make a connection and I didn't have the proper flare fitting, I would braze it in an instant. HVAC guys do it all the time.
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  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Posts: 1,542Member
    remembering

    Back in the 80's, if we had an issue with the fitting or line at an inground tank, we'd dig it up, cut the lines, install new drops into the tank and braze them. Never had an issue. Of course, for the last 20 years or so we'd just get rid of the tank. But that was the good old days.
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  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 527Member ✭✭
    Ahh , the good ol' days !

    I can see brazing lines instead of using flare fittings on outside tanks . Had one home where the buried flare unions cracked apart . From what I guess was frozen wet ground around them . They weren't buried too deep .



    Other than that situation , and maybe when you don't have enough line to flare out of a wall ......... I'll have to agree with Bill . Flaring is the best method .
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  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 3,199Member ✭✭✭
    only place I have seen brazed oil lines

    Has been in Massachusetts Commonwealth owned buildings. They often used it for 3/4" oil supply lines coming in from their underground tanks. The headquarters for D.C.R.  in Pittsfield, MA has them.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
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  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member ✭✭✭✭
    I guess:

    I guess that means it is legal to do. If the Commonwealth allows it in their buildings, it MUST be legal.

    I noticed that the copper tune that goes into brass LP tank adapters id silver brazed. It must be OK. I used to buy nice sink adapters from Wolverine Brass. They had brass nose pieces. The brass nose pieces were silver brased to the copper.
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  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 3,199Member ✭✭✭
    Chris that made me laugh

    Legal and state property does not mean legal. We once were looking into a  smell complaint and found the state employee had installed a propane water heater to replace an electric water heater and vented it the same way they vented the electric water heater. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
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  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 110Member
    LP water heaters

    I've seen that quite a few times, the draft hood going to nothing on old standing pilot water heaters.  In the good ol' days the buildings were so drafty it probably made no difference.  It'd set off CO or kill someone now. 
    Always keep learning: observing what works, and what doesn't. Ask questions
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  • burnermanburnerman Posts: 250Member ✭✭
    What I found 1 time.....

    Not sure of code or what  is easier or what you do BUT I had a fuel line that leaked quite a bit of fuel from a brazed fitting. The cost of Fuel oil I think I'd use a flare Just my opinion....
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  • burnermanburnerman Posts: 250Member ✭✭
    edited April 2013
    What I found 1 time.....

    repeated....
    Post edited by burnerman on
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