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problem with old pipe

REM
REM Member Posts: 15
I have a 2 pipe steam heating system that is old. one of the return pipes sprung a leak. it is in the middle of the run. I put compression tape and some jb weld but after about a year I see a drip now that the heating season is in full swing. How do I do a good repair without replacing the whole length of pipe which is about 40 to 50 feet? my heat guy says it is gonna be a disaster to try and replace the whole run of pipe, tearing down dry wall and since the pipes are so old it may make more of a problem. I am at a loss as to what to do. Any suggestions please?

Comments

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,053
    edited February 2020
    Without seeing what you are up against, I would say a saws-all, a hand ratcheting pipe threader, a nipple threaded on both ends and two unions will take care of the job. I do it all the time. Unions are my friends.
  • REM
    REM Member Posts: 15
    The concern is the shaking or possible disturbing of the rest of the pip while this type of repair is being done. any thoughts of that?
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,053
    If it is that bad, your only choice is to replace it all. But a sawsall with a fresh blade, or even a portaband, shaking will be kept to a minimum. Maybe brace the area you are working on to dampen vibration.
    mattmia2Canucker
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,329
    Ah... yes, you can splice the leaking section as outlined above. However, my experience has been that once a wet return has started to go -- and I take it that this is a wet return -- the whole thing is a leak waiting to happen. For what that's worth...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,400
    @REM
    Go to a big box store or plumbing supply and get a pipe repair clamp and some gasket material or use some big hose clamps with gasket material and patch the leak.

    Then find someone that know steam piping and have them fix it during the summer. I wouldn't rip it apart now if it's just a drip

    Try "find a contractor" on this site.

    For those of us that can repair steam piping it's not that hard to do.

    Where are you located?
    mattmia2STEAM DOCTORWirenut
  • REM
    REM Member Posts: 15
    Woodbridge Township, New JErsey
  • REM
    REM Member Posts: 15
    Thank you everyone for the help. Does it cause alot of shaking and vibration to thread the pipe?
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,053
    edited February 2020
    if it is so bad that you are this worried about vibration, I would follow @EBEBRATT-Ed's advice.
    mattmia2Zman
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,437
    I would note that with someone that knows what they are doing and can support and use backup wrenches properly even very corroded iron pipe is stronger than you would think it is.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,130
    Pro Press
    mattmia2
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,053
    Propress is a great tool and a good idea too
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,437
    They used to make compression fittings for steel pipe that had rubber gaskets, not sure if they still make them. They make dresser fittings for utility work but that would probably be overkill.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,329
    To answer the question on vibration and shaking -- no, threading pipe doesn't make that much. Noise, yes! But vibration and shaking, no.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • sallaberry
    sallaberry Member Posts: 19
    Just get one of those compression clamps that are like 8” long made of stainless they have 4 bolts to tighten it will be the quick easy fix. Not sure how long it will last at high temps but for a bandaid it’s your best bet.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,329

    Just get one of those compression clamps that are like 8” long made of stainless they have 4 bolts to tighten it will be the quick easy fix. Not sure how long it will last at high temps but for a bandaid it’s your best bet.

    That works. Get several while you're at the store, so you'll have them on hand for the next leak that develops. Which it will.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,400
    There are a few contractors in NJ I think @clammy & @EzzyT if I am not mistaken.

    You need someone that knows steam
    mattmia2
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,660
    We replace and repair old steam pipes all the time ,it’s no big deal and usually we don’t cause any other leaks we try to be gentle we know it’s old so we treat it with the respect and TLC it deserves . Give us a call we go towards the issue not away . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    mattmia2
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,328
    A couple of clamps like these can be used to buy you some time till it can be fixed properly.
    @REM , In your case. Try to find one that has a high temperature rating. It will last longer.

  • REM
    REM Member Posts: 15
    Thank you for the input. Ill try the clamp method till the spring and call to get the pipe replaced.