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Copper tubing and steam systems

HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited February 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
Copper tubing and steam systems

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  • KiwiFella
    KiwiFella Member Posts: 7
    A question rather than a comment. (I'm 65 & a newbie to plumbing)
    When the article above mentions soldering in the 3rd paragraph, how about when it is brazed with Silfos. Will it also likely get hairline cracks in the Silfos or just in the copper tubing?
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,285
    It all depends. One can make a mess with steel pipe too. Properly done copper can actually be better.
  • RomanP
    RomanP Member Posts: 102
    Sometimes I can get away with relocating radiators with copper, locally, and that’s SOMETIMES. there’s no way I’ll use copper for near boiler piping or steam headers. I’ve seen some horrible things lol
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
    Seems to me that both Gerry Gill's comments and the comments on flexing are right on.

    The comment on flexing is particularly apt, and there is no good reason why copper can't be used -- and used successfully -- provided that there is ample provision for it to expand and contract without putting stress -- either bending or torsion -- on the joints. Which means generous lengths between connections and bends, and expansion loops, and other ways to cope. There are two aspects to the iron usually used -- first, and perhaps most important, is that it is very easy to create a piping layout such that differential expansion is taken up in very slight twisting in threaded joints. No stress build up. The second in that iron (or steel -- but steel rusts faster) doesn't work harden and then fatigue.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    I have heating contractors installing steam boilers using Viega progress copper press fittings with copper tubing? According to Viega spect sheet the fittings should work. Any problems that you professional contractors see coming? Anyone using these fittings on steam? If so how old are these systems? Are there systems out there that are 5 to 10 years old? If so how are the fittings holding up? How is the boiler holding up? Did you have to repipe in steel pipe and fittings? I thought I saw on another post that with today’s new steam boilers the steam part of the boiler is a lot smaller that old steam boilers and that makes the steam come out of the boiler faster now than with the older steam boilers. If this is true will the faster moving steam hurt the copper propress fittings and the copper pipe?
    Anyone using Viega Megapress press fitting for steel pipe?

    Are there any steam boiler manufacturers that require steel pipe and fittings only for installing their steam boilers?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
    A brief comment -- the new boilers do make steam faster than the older ones, but that is meant to say they come up to steam temperature faster, not that the velocity of the steam made is any different for the same boiler capacity and riser size.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 663
    Some years back we installed a vacuum condensate return pump in a school. Some of the near pump piping was done in copper handling condensate only, nowhere near any steam.

    The school's boiler treatment salesman said this was a no-no. Something about corrosion and copper ions which I never did understand.

    The school had us come back and change out the copper for black pipe (on their dime).

    Question: Does anyone know what the chemical guy was talking about? Is there anything from a corrosion standpoint that would recommend against using copper for an application like this?
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 722
    edited February 2018
    @Pumpguy I would think handling condensate would be fine, not much oxygen in it to enable corrosion, at least on the inside of the pipe.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,515
    I was doing reasearch and found this article by the Copper Organization which says Copper works for well for steam. I would not do it but am simply offering a counter argument
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons