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can you dissassemble steam pipe?

JBM
JBM Member Posts: 1
Hi folks,

We have decided to put in a sliding glass door where three windows used to be.  Beneath the windows was a radiator which is part of a larger one pipe steam system.  We decided to install the door first and worry about moving the radiator to an adjacent wall later.  I am new to steam.  This is my first house with it.  I have disconnected and removed the radiator.  I was hoping (praying actually) that I could dissassemble a part of the branch that comes off the main in the basement and then redirect the pipe to the wall we have planned for the radiator.  It will not budge with a large pipe wrench and penetrating catalyst.  I read in another post that it looks like I may need to cut the old pipe and then rethread it, but is there a clean way to preserve the old pipe thread, put in some elbows and get to where I want to be? 

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Sure

    Anything is possible. I always favor a pipe wrench over cutting. Sometimes you need a longer piece of pipe on the end of the wrench for leverage.



    Then, as long as you can pitch the run-out correctly, you can pipe the new radiator anywhere you want.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,377
    If it was me..

    After the small amount of work I've done with 80+ year old steam pipes I'd pretty much plan to cut that pipe off an inch or so from a fitting, cut a notch in it and crush it in with a hammer and chisel\ punch and then pull it out of the fitting.  Then I'd go get a piece of new pipe of the right size and put it together.



    Also I recommend using caution when using a piece of pipe on a pipewrench for leverage.  I would ONLY do this if it is a quality Ridgid pipe wrench and not a knockoff cheapie.  I have two 4 foot wrenches I bought which I think are Pittsburg brand, they did the job for me when I put my header together but I'd never consider really stressing them.  A Ridgid on the other hand will take anything you throw at it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    edited September 2012
    With enough force, anything is possible.

    I keep telling myself that over and over. It's like an article of faith.



    I'm in the middle of taking my mains apart so I can build a header. So far I'm winning, but there comes a moment of doubt when you've applied all the force and leverage you can muster and the joint won't break, and that's when you call on the spirits of the Dead Men and recite the mantra, "with enough force..." I've been known to utter a few other incantations, but I can't repeat them here.



    Other than brute force there are a few techniques that sometimes yield results.



    I always use a pipe as a lever if I can. It doesn't make sense to grab a tee or elbow with a wrench when you can screw a long pipe in at a right angle and pull on that.



    Sudden impact is the best thing for breaking joints with old, fossilized thread sealing compound. Penetrating oil won't penetrate sealant--it's made to resist chemical solvents. I use a 3 lb. dead-blow hammer to smack pipes around. It doesn't leave dents. Very cathartic too.



    Heat can help if you can heat the fitting and move it before the pipe expands too. It's all about expanding the outer component to reduce the pressure on the inner. Both are circular, so you don't get that 3:1 ratio like you do with a nut and bolt, so speed matters.



    When unscrewing a short nipple with a pipe wrench, leave a fitting on the free end to keep it from collapsing.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,050
    if he's lucky

    try bashing appropriate fitting. Maybe it will shatter and leave threads intact.
  • Steam_Starter
    Steam_Starter Member Posts: 109
    But...

    If you bash it, wear protective eyewear!



    Learned that first hand...still have scar on my forehead from it!
    "Hey, it looks good on you though..."
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    Oh, no!

    You put out your third eye?



    Sorry. Don't mean to make light, but when I saw "eye protection" and "scar on forehead," that's what I pictured.



    But you make a good point. You can break things just by turning a wrench, and when things break under that much force, you never know where it's going.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,377
    breaking fittings

    You should also cover it with a heavy rag. Cast iron exploding throws shards all over including at you.



    Eyewear protects eyes, not everything else.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    I'll wear a cup.

    So far the worst thing that's come at me has been chunks of fossilized joint compound, but I don't press my luck.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Steam_Starter
    Steam_Starter Member Posts: 109
    And it was an "ouch"

    Ha ha...third eye...funny.



    And it hurt like hell...
    "Hey, it looks good on you though..."
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,377
    cup

    You can laugh but I've got a feeling it could come in handy!
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
This discussion has been closed.