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Which metals to choose for steam "accessories" - pigtails, elbows, nipples, etc.?

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Jim_NY
Jim_NY Member Posts: 46
For us amateurs, when there is a choice, what compositions shold be preferred or avoided, or what metals are compatable or incompatible with each other?
Many here make their system more useful with additions or replacements, and often see good advice calling for things like a nipple, a street L, a pigtail, etc. Seems there are often choices, especially from online vendors.
Thanks for the education.

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  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,533
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    The old rule used to be steel & iron above the water line and brass below.

    Obviously no one does that at least not 100%

    And this is just my opinion:

    Steam: steel pipe malleable or CI fittings

    City water make up, brass or copper ....at least for the final connections if using pex or plastic

    Blow off pipes from low water cutoffs, pressure relief valves etc steel or copper. I would use copper on a back flow preventer. No threads allowed on the bottom end

    Condensate: steel pipe copper is ok below the water line only.

    Pigtails and small fittings for gauges, pressure controls etc should be brass

    JMHO others will differ
    delcrossv
  • Jim_NY
    Jim_NY Member Posts: 46
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    Thanks for your HO.
    Wondering if the color of steel or iron indicates differences that matter? See pics of pipes, fittings, etc. of black metal called either steel or iron, and silver/gray metal called steel.
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    edited November 2021
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    Silver or light gray color means galvanized. NOT for heating purposes. If you go to a supply house and ask for "black" fittings you'll be fine. (Most will look dull dark gray, pipe will be black)

    If you see my pictures, all that "black" near boiler piping was painted with aluminum paint long ago. Pretty, no?
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • Jim_NY
    Jim_NY Member Posts: 46
    edited November 2021
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    Thanks.
    And did take a look at the pics.
    Besides the inherent beauty of elegant and efficient pipe routing, perhaps there does need to be more consideration given to the color palette. :smile:
    delcrossv