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Pipe ?

Master Member Posts: 1
Recently added Heating to my Plumbing Business. When doing a Boiler change out, is it easy to run copper or black steel. It seems no matter what size (residential) boiler we install, it takes a good day and a half. Buy the time we drain the system, remove the HEAVY OLD Boiler, install the new, then spend half the day at the supply house, which does not have the parts i need.


  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067

    Hi- Copper is okay for Hot Water systems but Steam Systems require black pipe on all steam pipes. This is due to the higher temperature involved. The threaded joints of the black pipe allow for slight movement if necessary to relieve the strain of expansion where as over time, sweated copper joints tend to come apart.

    Steam is a little trickier than it looks as there are certain rules which must be followed to assure a properly functioning steam system. With steam, be sure to always closely follow the piping instructions in the manufacturer's I&O manual.  The pipe sizes, measurements and layouts are very critical to achieve a properly operating system.

    There are several books on steam which would be a great help to you and they are available  in the shop section of this website. I would get the "Steamy Deal" which contains 3 books you need. (They are also available individually.)


    Dan Holohan, who writes these books, also offers seminars on steam heating  to heating professionals. (See the "Events" section at the top of the webpage for a schedule).

    I might also mention that there are also a lot of good books on other types of heating systems in the shop section - Hot Water, Radiant etc.

    Good luck with your new venture.

    - Rod
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    If hydronic you can also go with pre-made copper headers. They save alot of time. I like to do a preinspection on all install and have most of what I need in hand with the boiler. No time wasted unless I forget something...which happens..
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    supply house

    Sounds like you need to eliminate the hanging at the supply house from the equation. For hot water heat we always run copper, maybe a few black fittings just to get things to line up easier. Make sure you have a nice supply of fittings and pipe on board so you don't have to run to the supply house for more parts.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    edited September 2011
    I agree with Paul

    The key is knowing the zone sizes and types of pipe beforehand and having the parts on the job all at once .Our salesmen have a boiler worksheet and take pics of the job for us to look over . When we used to stock our boilers and fittings at our shop I was able to pick everything we needed and pack it into 1 or 2 cardboard boxes . That alone would save us maybe 20 trips to the truck and over an hour in time . Not to mention the extra time to replenish and restock the truck .......   

    What also helps is standardizing the near boiler piping . Just about every one of our boilesr has the same header tree and return piping ( space willing ) .

    Like Paul said , cut the parts house time out of the equation and you should easily be able to get a regular residential replacement done in one day .     

  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    Like a good Boy Scout

    Preparation is the key here. I had materials ready and the subs I used for hauling/removal lined up and ready to go. Very rarely was the time where I could not complete a changout in a day, albeit a long one..except for larger steam boilers.
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