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Copper pipe for new steam radiators.. Yes or No?

Jamie Hall
Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,949
with copper for steam radiators is stress. As the pipe expands when the steam hits it, it wants to move. Threaded pipe can move (just a little) at the threaded joints and do this forever; sweated copper pipe cannot -- so unless there is some pipe configuration to take up the expansion by flexing the pipe itself, the stress on those solder joints is going to be terrific. I have a few bits of copper radiator pipe which are OK after about 50 years -- but the joints were made up by a real old time master plumber, and in each one there is opportunity for the pipe itself to flex.

Spinning threaded pipe -- even threading pipe -- isn't that hard once you get the hang of it.

Corrosion can be a problem, but not usually.
Br. Jamie, osb
Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England

Comments

  • Ja_3
    Ja_3 Member Posts: 7
    Copper Pipe for Residentia Steam Radiator Additions - Yes or No?

    I just had a Burnham Megasteam boiler installed, and am happy with the installation. I do, however need to add 1 or 2 radiators to a room that I'd previously taken the radiators out of for a renovation, and I had a couple of questions regarding their installation.. The existing pipe system is blackpipe (this is a 1 pipe system), but I'd like to use copper steam pipes instead to tie in the two new radiators to the blackpipe main. When I removed the two radiators, I also removed their piping all the way back to where they tap into the main, and used plugs and pipe dope to close off the two tappings. Now... I've purchased two new radiators with 1" NTP tappings (from steamradiators.com). I've heard both opinions regarding copper pipe for steam.. 1) It can be done no problem, and 2) Copper piping for steam boilers is a cardinal sin. I'd like to use copper rather than blackpipe to supply the new radiators, because I know how to solder pipe, and have the tools to do it, and I have no tools to thread blackpipe, which seems a bit harder to do anyway. Should I use 1" copper piping to go from the radiators to the main? Should I use a different diameter? What grade/type of copper pipe should I ask for when picking up the pipe, elbows,couplers, etc.? Do I use the same type of solder to sweat the pipes as would be used for copper/hot water systems? (I planned to go to Home Depot to get the materials, but am not confident that a Home Depot employee will know enough to answer these questions). From the main, most of the pipes feeding the existing radiators look to me to be about 2, maybe 2.5 inches in diameter, but some seem to reduce down to 1 inch a few feet from the radiator. Does this reduction in diameter have an effect on the way the steam/heat is transferred? Thanks very much for any advice you might be able to provide.. -- Chris
  • Ja_3
    Ja_3 Member Posts: 7
    Copper Pipe for Residentia Steam Radiator Additions - Yes or No?

    I had a Burnham Megasteam boiler installed, and am happy with the installation. I do, however need to add 1 or 2 radiators to a room that I'd previously taken the radiators out of for a renovation, and I had a couple of questions regarding their installation.. The existing pipe system is blackpipe (this is a 1 pipe system), but I'd like to use copper steam pipes instead to tie in the two new radiators to the blackpipe main. When I removed the two radiators, I also removed their piping all the way back to where they tap into the main, and used plugs and pipe dope to close off the two tappings. Now... I've purchased two new radiators with 1" NTP tappings (from steamradiators.com). I've heard both opinions regarding copper pipe for steam.. 1) It can be done no problem, and 2) Copper piping for steam boilers is a cardinal sin. The gentleman who installed my boiler used about 3 feet of copper between the headers and the main horizontal run. I'm doing these additional radiators myself, and I'd like to use copper rather than blackpipe to supply the new radiators, because I know how to solder pipe, and have the tools to do it, and I have no tools to thread blackpipe, which seems a bit harder to do anyway. Should I use 1" copper piping to go from the radiators to the main? Should I use a different diameter? What grade/type of copper pipe should I ask for when picking up the pipe, elbows,couplers, etc.? Do I use the same type of solder to sweat the pipes as would be used for copper/hot water systems? (I planned to go to Home Depot to get the materials, but am not confident that a Home Depot employee will know enough to answer these questions). From the main, most of the pipes feeding the existing radiators look to me to be about 2, maybe 2.5 inches in diameter, but some seem to reduce down to 1 inch a few feet from the radiator. Does this reduction in diameter have an effect on the way the steam/heat is transferred? Thanks very much for any advice you might be able to provide.. -- Chris
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,033
    do you know

    what the difference between a cathode and an anode is?

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    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Ja_3
    Ja_3 Member Posts: 7
    You can fix

    the anode with Preparation H ?
This discussion has been closed.