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Pex for Steam Supply and Return

Ted_RyanTed_Ryan Member Posts: 27
Can Pex be used for steam supply and returns. I am doing a renovation and found some copper supply/return buried behind a wall. The pipes need to be moved a bit. The spot is a little tricky to route threaded iron pipe and the plumber is suggesting an easier solution with pex and some heavy duty fittings. Sounds sketchy to me. I have de-coppered the rest of my system where copper was exposed. Is pex ok for steam and if not, does that mean I am talking to a "knucklehead?. Thanks.

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 7,470
    No and yes, in that order.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,366
    Throw them out of the house with that silliness. And give them a copy of the lost art for Christmas.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,807
    This could be the ideal use for the mini tube system by Gerry Gill. Unfortunately the whole system would probably need to be changed.—NBC
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 716
    Hum. Had a contractor who wanted to run a steam pipe outside the house to a third floor bedroom. Not quite sure which idea is worse.
  • Ted_RyanTed_Ryan Member Posts: 27
    Quick follow-up. Now proposing steel with mega-press fittings rather than threaded. Not sure how they will hold up with the expansion and contraction. Thank you all for your input, as always!
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Member Posts: 728
    Ted_Ryan said:

    Quick follow-up. Now proposing steel with mega-press fittings rather than threaded. Not sure how they will hold up with the expansion and contraction. Thank you all for your input, as always!

    They are rated for low pressure steam. I’m a traditionalist so it’s only black threaded pipe and cast iron fittings.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating & Cooling 732-266-5386
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving most of NJ
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter




    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • I am in the "find someone else" camp. If you have steam, you need a contractor who knows how to thread pipe and has the proper equipment to do so.
    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,964
    edited January 11
    Though Mega Press is rated for steam and would probably be ok, any dipstick that would suggest using pex on steam needs to be flogged for such stupidity.

    Find a real steam pro - he will be able to thread pipe.
    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Mike CascioMike Cascio Member Posts: 69
    If I heard those suggestions, I would escort the contractor to the door.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 3,190
    Toss him. All he want's to do is take the easy way out
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,573
    Wonder how many steam systems the "dipstick" has done with PEX like that?.....

  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 3,964
    Gordy said:

    Wonder how many steam systems the "dipstick" has done with PEX like that?.....

    None that will last.

    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,573
    Must be a fresh batch if he threw it out there. I don't think that maneuver has ever been posted on this forum.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,807
    Maybe he would like to learn, and do a good job, but has no knowledge of this site. All he needs is a little education!—NBC
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,728
    got to admit....it would be fun to watch what happens >:)
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

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

  • Ted_RyanTed_Ryan Member Posts: 27
    I think the jury has spoken and the verdict is clear. Black iron and threaded fittings. I miss Joe Starosieliec. He would roll over if he new I was considering these methods. I am humbled and thank you all.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,366
    If you used to use Joe you need to contact either @Dave0176 or @EzzyT they both work the NJ area.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Ted_RyanTed_Ryan Member Posts: 27
    Thank you. The boiler is in Skytop PA (Poconos)
  • j aj a Member Posts: 1,747

    Maybe he would like to learn, and do a good job, but has no knowledge of this site. All he needs is a little education!—NBC

    Sorry but it takes a wee bit more than a LITTLE training, and besides,if he’s at the point he’s out selling jobs with recommendations like mixing pex with steam,he needs to find another career field....I’ll be a SOB if I would ever let an unskilled individual work in my home...jmo
  • Mad DogMad Dog Member Posts: 3,256
    You need to track down MURPH. He's out that way. I'll try to find his # for you. Mad dog
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • SteveSteve Member Posts: 511
    I think it’s worth mentioning we always use copper below the waterline wet returns
    Guys would you not agree the copper is better for a wet return it will not rust
    I’m not for one second suggesting it gets used on the steam
    Side
  • JackmartinJackmartin Member Posts: 44
    NO NO NO NO NO and NO NO NO All he best Jack
  • JackmartinJackmartin Member Posts: 44
    We have had good success with copper on return lines we use at minimum type L but if you can afford it K is better it will outlast us all. We are in the HVAC field so we do a lot of hard soldering using silver bearing hard solder we use for AC work and we have had really excellent success. An old engineer told me if you use a product such as Stay Bright siver bearing soft solder and you will be in good shape as well, so perhaps we are over killing the problem with hard soldering? All the best Jack

  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,084
    What's wrong with soft copper bent to accommodate expansion and mechanical connections? Eventually there won't be enough of us who can deal with threaded steel. Toronto was HHW town but by the eighties many skilled plumbing&heating guys were uncomfortable. They had no trouble with gas piping but the hot water pipes were assigned to old timers.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 7,470
    Soft copper might work, @jumper . Might not, too. The problem which I see with it -- and I don't have the inclination to go look it up now! -- is that soft copper work hardens and then is subject to fatigue cracking if it continues to be cyclically stressed. What I don't have an answer to right now is just how many cycles at what level of stress will it take before it fails in fatigue. That, of course, is the main reason why one can't use it for brake lines, of course, and shouldn't use it for fuel lines either (although people do...). I suppose if the bends were of large enough radius relative to the pipe -- say a radius of 10 times the pipe diameter, or more -- it might not be a problem. Interesting thought.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Phil53Phil53 Member Posts: 29
    My one pipe HW system uses soft copper run outs and returns. House built in 1961 no problems with pipe failure although I've had one joint fail in the last 10 years
  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,084
    Phil53 said:

    My one pipe HW system uses soft copper run outs and returns. House built in 1961 no problems with pipe failure although I've had one joint fail in the last 10 years

    What sort of connections?
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