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copper near boiler piping.change or not??

your advice is most appreciated. I have a boiler that was installed 2 years ago, and has never provided even heat and my fuel bills have gone up. have purchased the psot art, we got steam... learned alot and corrected several mistakes that were made by the "knuclehead".  still have short cycling, but most concerned about the near boiler copper piping ( i did insulate these pipes).. I know what the books say about copper,  but \was not clear on if I should call a plumber to remove the copper and install iron... what are the short and long term advantages to doing this.. would like to do myself.. but prefer to give to a Pro..  what do you all think..??


  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624

    If the piping is not the source of your problems then I would leave it alone. What exactly is the problem?
  • copper pipe

    at the risk of being controversial, i will say keep the copper pipe for this winter, unless the layout is completely wrong;  and concentrate first on fixing other things, which can be done now with minimal downtime. in the summer, you will have time to re-pipe yourself.

    1. compare your piping layout to that shown in the on-line installation instructions. in particular compare pipe diameters, and height of the riser. if it is only the choice of pipe material that is wrong, leave it until the summer.

    2.check your main venting, as you can never have too much. leave the radiator vents alone for the moment, as they are only responsible for 15% of the air getting out, and cannot do the whole job by them selves, without a lot of help from your wallet, and the gas company!!

    3.take your pressure using a good low-pressure gauge, and keep it as low as it will go [ounces]. a vaporstat makes this easier, and in some situations will pay for itself in 1 season.

    4.check your thermostat for location and anticipation. not all modern thermostats are steam rated, so check the instructions for the word steam. some knuckleheads will say don't worry...no difference, but it is not true.

    5.your assignment, should decide to accept it, is to make the steam arrive at all the radiators at the same time as it once did when the house was first built. of course, the secretary will be forever in admiration of your new-found talents!--nbc
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,573
    If it ain't broke...

    don't fix it.  It shouldn't have been done that way, true.  And it may well give you problems down the road, depending on just how it is assembled -- and how careful the plumber was in cleaning and assembling and all.

    The problem with copper is its expansion rate, which is much greater than iron.  If -- and this is a big if -- the copper is arranged in such a way that it can give when it expands without stressing the boiler itself, and if the joints are so arranged that it trys to bend, rather than twist, as it expands, you may be perfectly happy for quite a while.

    Take a good close look at the way the copper is arranged, and try to visualise what happens when the lengths of the pipe change as they expand...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
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