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Tape or wick

Spag74
Spag74 Member Posts: 16
I’m having a debate with my partner of which to use on the treads when repiping a steam boiler Teflon tape or wick. I’ve used tape in the past and no issues and wick but the wick can become a pain to fill the treads.Please get back to me on past experiences 

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited October 2021
    It's 2021 not 1920. Should we Western Union your partner our responses? :D

    On really good threads I use Megaloc dope and they always seal.
    On questionable threads (Boiler block, cheap nipples, cheap fittings, old threads) 3-4 wraps of Blue Monster tape followed by a light coating of Megaloc.

    PTFE tape won't rott out like wick does and it's easier to work with.

    I've seem some guys who still use wick.
    But, I've seem many people do a lot of things.

    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
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,358
    Tape is perfectly fine on low pressure steam heating. It's rated for I believe 500° and a residential steam system will never see those temperatures.

    There was a time when all one had was an oil and graphite mixtures, that time has passed.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,574
    KC_Jones said:

    Tape is perfectly fine on low pressure steam heating. It's rated for I believe 500° and a residential steam system will never see those temperatures.

    There was a time when all one had was an oil and graphite mixtures, that time has passed.

    That's still in my finger prints! :)
    KC_Jones
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,062
    I will alway be a wick-and-dope guy. My guys hate it. Wick fills the voids in the threads and expands when it gets wet. It goes on much faster than tape when you know how and it's an active sealant.

    Also, just yesterday I asked one of my guys if he had any Reznor hooks on his truck and he said he hasn't seen one of those in "many many years".

    When did I become the Old Dog?
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting
    Plumbing in NYC or in NJ.
    Take his class.
    Derheatmeister
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,358
    JohnNY said:

    I will alway be a wick-and-dope guy. My guys hate it. Wick fills the voids in the threads and expands when it gets wet. It goes on much faster than tape when you know how and it's an active sealant.

    Also, just yesterday I asked one of my guys if he had any Reznor hooks on his truck and he said he hasn't seen one of those in "many many years".

    When did I become the Old Dog?

    I have a few of those on the gas piping in my basement, no idea on the age, I've been there 19 years and they came with the house. Oh, and said gas pipe actually has what I believe to be the mill name embossed into the pipe, not sure how old that might be. And no, I can't remember the name off the top of my head.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 885
    I have been retired for 25 years, never used tape or wick on steam unless the the dies did not cut perfect threads. I used the wick util I replaced the dies. My choice of pipe compound was Permatex or Rector seal.

    Never had leaks on steam piping.

    PS using wick is a subjective issue, I only used two turns of wick. In this case more is not better as the more you use the wick gets pushed out of the threads and in some cases all the wick is pushed out and that is having no wick at all in the threads.

    Most importantly is to have good threads on the pipe.

    Jake
    JohnNY
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited October 2021
    JohnNY said:

    I will alway be a wick-and-dope guy. My guys hate it. Wick fills the voids in the threads and expands when it gets wet. It goes on much faster than tape when you know how and it's an active sealant.

    Also, just yesterday I asked one of my guys if he had any Reznor hooks on his truck and he said he hasn't seen one of those in "many many years".

    When did I become the Old Dog?


    There's a few Reznor hooks in my house, but none were from me.
    Honestly, I thought they were still used by everyone, I think Supplyhouse carries them. The only reason I don't is hammers and my floor joists are bad, real bad. Like, working on an old car, dirt in your eyes bad. So, I stick to drills and screws. No dirt in my hair or eyes.

    Honestly with all the dirt that's fallen out of that floor in the past 10 years I have no idea how it's still doing it, it's like an endless dirt generator and it's covered by a laminate floor.

    Just last week I used some romex staples and hated 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
    JohnNY
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,165
    @Spag74

    Pipe dope questions on this forum make me laugh LOL :)

    There is no right or wrong answer and you get replies from 1000 posters you will get 1000 opinions. Everyone posting has had leaks a some point and has their favorite tricks to fix them.

    Connecting to used/old pipe and fittings is usually different from a new install. I also do different things on larger more difficult pipe than I do on the small stuff.

    Whatever works for you
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,419
    Wick is a waste of time. Teflon tape/blue monster tape and or good pipe dope is always fine. Wicking is just ridiculous to use in my humble opinion.
    WayneMech
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,915
    With wick can you fix leaky joint by banging on it?
  • DavidDow_2
    DavidDow_2 Member Posts: 11
    Wicking works fine. Just mix up some white or red lead powder with linseed oil. That's what the old man journeyman taught me in the mid 70's. My boss preferred pipe dope. However, I do like PTFE and a PTFE pipe dope along with malleable fittings and unions in strategic places. Never have leaks. Just be gentile on cast iron though.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,062
    jumper said:

    With wick can you fix leaky joint by banging on it?

    Yes. You can push wick into a joint and stop a leak long enough for it to rust up and seal on its own.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting
    Plumbing in NYC or in NJ.
    Take his class.
    PC7060JUGHNEEdTheHeaterManWayneMech
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,062
    Intplm. said:

    Wick is a waste of time. Teflon tape/blue monster tape and or good pipe dope is always fine. Wicking is just ridiculous to use in my humble opinion.


    You have no idea what you're talking about. If you don't like wick because you've got another preference, then go with your gut. But "wick is a waste of time" and "just ridiculous" are uninformed statements. I'll concede that there are options available that make wick seem like an outmoded method but it's got its particular uses and it still works as well now as it has for something like the past 100 years.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting
    Plumbing in NYC or in NJ.
    Take his class.
    EdTheHeaterManmattmia2WayneMechSuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,165
    Somebody told me a trick once to fix leaks in CI plumbing , something about Ivory Snow flakes but I don't remember the rest of the story
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999

    Somebody told me a trick once to fix leaks in CI plumbing , something about Ivory Snow flakes but I don't remember the rest of the story

    I'm 99 and 44/100% sure that iI don't know the "rest of the story either". Where is Paul Harvey when you need him?
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    ratioWayneMech
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,338
    @Erin Holohan Haskell, maybe we could get a badge for "Hey, I got that joke!", or "I see what you did there!"
    Erin Holohan HaskellIntplm.WayneMech
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,419
    JohnNY said:

    Intplm. said:

    Wick is a waste of time. Teflon tape/blue monster tape and or good pipe dope is always fine. Wicking is just ridiculous to use in my humble opinion.


    You have no idea what you're talking about. If you don't like wick because you've got another preference, then go with your gut. But "wick is a waste of time" and "just ridiculous" are uninformed statements. I'll concede that there are options available that make wick seem like an outmoded method but it's got its particular uses and it still works as well now as it has for something like the past 100 years.
    I haven't used wicking in years. It just hasn't been worth the trouble to stock it since Teflon tape has come around. I was once a big wicking user, not anymore. I just don't use it. Not my thing. But hey! "To each his own." and what @EBEBRATT-Ed says above. ^^^
    JohnNY
  • djfreni
    djfreni Member Posts: 13
    I work for the biggest hospital in Boston and we use tape only on everything ,and we have low,medium &high pressure steam and have no issues with leaks
  • Labenaqui
    Labenaqui Member Posts: 67
    We "double-dope" with three turns of "Blue Monster" Tape & a light coat of "Tru-Blu" on all hot water & steam. No leaks in over 25 years .....
  • SethYank
    SethYank Member Posts: 13
    I have never had the chance to use wicking, I've heard about it but none of the supply houses carry it that I know of. I use Gasoila and Monster tape, with the dope on the threads and the tape over it. I have seen many guys put the dope over the tape and that doesn't make sense to me because the tape holds it in the threads. Also I have talked to some engineers who tell me according to codes you should only use tape OR dope not both. I have seen the dope dry out and the seal was being held by the teflon. I welcome your input.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited October 2021
    SethYank said:

    I have never had the chance to use wicking, I've heard about it but none of the supply houses carry it that I know of. I use Gasoila and Monster tape, with the dope on the threads and the tape over it. I have seen many guys put the dope over the tape and that doesn't make sense to me because the tape holds it in the threads. Also I have talked to some engineers who tell me according to codes you should only use tape OR dope not both. I have seen the dope dry out and the seal was being held by the teflon. I welcome your input.

    Putting the tape over dope is a messy disaster and causes most of the tape to push out making using both practically pointless.

    The tape stays in the threads and imperfections better than dope, but dope lubricates better than tape. That's why tape first followed by a very thin coating of dope makes sense.

    Engineers are right, in a perfect world where the NPT threads are cut perfect and everything is clean just dope or tape works beautifully. However, in the real world where you have damaged threads, or threads that were cut poorly like most of the Chinese fittings I've seen, you more often than not need both.


    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
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesSTEAM DOCTOR
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,369
    I recently came across Loctite 5117. It is wonderful stuff by itself and I use it on 100psi steam, and 200+psi feed water pipes up to 2" pipes. Only problem: it is super sticky so if you are messy, it will get all over every thing. But, cleans like a dream with rubbing alcohol.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited October 2021
    SlamDunk said:

    I recently came across Loctite 5117. It is wonderful stuff by itself and I use it on 100psi steam, and 200+psi feed water pipes up to 2" pipes. Only problem: it is super sticky so if you are messy, it will get all over every thing. But, cleans like a dream with rubbing alcohol.

    Did I ask about that on here?
    I can't remember, but we have Loctite 5117 at work and it seemed to seal anything I used it on. But like you said, it's a bit messy.

    It may have been in my head, but I got the impression that anything it went on was never going to leak.

    I thought I did. https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/180655/pipe-dope/p1
    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
  • I use Superdope or Hernon Dripstop 923 for buggered up threads. Hand-tight will hold 100 psi. Both products are anaerobic and these rapidly cure to form a tough cross-linked plastic that will bond to the metal. And we all know about cross-linking, no?

    https://argco.com/piping-chemicals/super-dope-anaerobic-thread-sealant.html?SID=9goutvfupf07s4eblmameakv8a

    https://www.hernon.com/product/dripstop-923/
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,369
    ChrisJ said:

    SlamDunk said:

    I recently came across Loctite 5117. It is wonderful stuff by itself and I use it on 100psi steam, and 200+psi feed water pipes up to 2" pipes. Only problem: it is super sticky so if you are messy, it will get all over every thing. But, cleans like a dream with rubbing alcohol.

    Did I ask about that on here?
    I can't remember, but we have Loctite 5117 at work and it seemed to seal anything I used it on. But like you said, it's a bit messy.

    It may have been in my head, but I got the impression that anything it went on was never going to leak.

    I thought I did. https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/180655/pipe-dope/p1
    When I read about it, it was described as "self healing if a leak develops" . Who could resist that?
    ChrisJ
  • woodrow
    woodrow Member Posts: 40
    I use blue monster and dope on anything under 2 inch wicking and dope on above 2 inch and loctite sealing cord on problem threads
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,564
    Fwi, I have used blue monster tape on 3" steam lines with no leaks. These day, I use blue monster tape and dope on just about all steam pipe (low pressure systems). Almost certainly overkill. 
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    Fwi, I have used blue monster tape on 3" steam lines with no leaks. These day, I use blue monster tape and dope on just about all steam pipe (low pressure systems). Almost certainly overkill. 
    I used only megaloc on a bunch of 2" and 3" nipples and Ward fittings around my boiler.  Into the block got blue monster + megaloc.   It's still leak free but those nipples were cut beautiful.
    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
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,331
    I just did 3 steam boilers and used blue monster tape and then Megaloc on that.
    The tape seems to set down in the threads as applied with a little stretch.
    I also rub in down to seat it in better. The tape seems to do the male threads and then the Megaloc over the tape seem to do the female fitting threads.

    No leaks so far......3 & 4" import fittings/nipples on the steam side.
    Domestic on the wet side of the boiler.
  • bill_brooks
    bill_brooks Member Posts: 50
    i've not done a great deal of HP steam fitting myself. rather i was taught by steamfitters who worked on
    my hospital steam plant. almost exclusively, the contractors who worked for me used teflon with a
    rectorseal "hardsetting" sealant. i believe it was the bluish dope.
    20yrs. later i've run into youngins' who worked for me and they've reported no issues, except the fact
    that those joints in question are damn near impossible to seperate!
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 3,517
    edited October 2021
    From this and previous discussions, it sounds as though everything and anything works. Tape, dope, wick, hemp, glue, bacon grease............We're just talking about sealing a tiny void between male and female threads. A shorter discussion would be: What doesn't work?

    I worked for a homeowner who tried to do his own gas piping. He said every joint leaked and when I came to look at the job, every joint was neatly wrapped, but on the outside of the pipe. I told him to keep his day job.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    Robert_25STEAM DOCTORLarry WeingartenSuperTechlkstdl
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    edited October 2021

    From this and previous discussions, it sounds as though everything and anything works. Tape, dope, wick, hemp, glue, bacon grease............We're just talking about sealing a tiny void between male and female threads. A shorter discussion would be: What doesn't work?

    I worked for a homeowner who tried to do his own gas piping. He said every joint leaked and when I came to look at the job, every joint was neatly wrapped, but on the outside of the pipe. I told him to keep his day job.

    I guess that depends on the quality of the threads and the pressure you're dealing with.
    I've done a few NPT joints I would consider high pressure and had no leaks.
    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
  • OldPro69
    OldPro69 Member Posts: 4
    We always use La-Co T-O-T pipe dope. Have not had a leak problem. If we have an old pipe joint with the old build up in the threads, we clean what we can and use X-Pando Pipe Joint Compound. The stuff works every time. Don't use it if you ever need to take the joint apart. I have brushed it on an existing leaky joint and heated it carefully with a torch. That fix has been good for over twenty years.
  • Anthony Menafro
    Anthony Menafro Member Posts: 190
    I would still use wick, but have no problem with tape!