Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Cathodic Protection for old one pipe?

Benedetto Member Posts: 1
In the next weeks I'll be closing on a home in the Northeast with a 100 year old American Radiator Company Boiler, serving a one pipe steam distribution system. The boiler is an has always been a manual feed system, and I believe the piping, Hartford loop to radiators is all original.

When I did the home inspection everything was in working order and looked good visually, however because its a manual feed system and piping was wrapped in asbestos insulation I do not know the condition of the piping. The existing homeowner abated the asbestos, so that is no longer a concern.

I have been thinking that because I don't know the state of the piping but currently its in working order cathodic protection might be valuable to maintain the status quo and prevent any future deterioration.

I have no plans to ever change out the boiler (maybe just a natural gas conversion) as it is a work of art. The craftsman ship of the dead men is incredible.

I am writing to the community to see what there thoughts are on cathodic protection, what might be a good system to install (standard colonial home ~1400 sq ft) and if anyone had some expertise/experience they could offer on how to preserve the system for many many years to come?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,280
    Generally speaking, not required or even particularly useful, since there is no water in most of the pipes most of the time, nor are they in contact on the outside surface with moisture. The exception would be any wet returns which are buried in earth or concrete. There cathodic protection might make some difference, although the problem is more with chemical corrosion in contact with concrete than it is oxidation.

    You mention pipe insulation. I know you didn't ask -- but you need to reinsulate those pipes which were abated.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,290
    Hi, If there were lines buried in soil, you could protect them from the outside. From the inside, if the pipes were full of water, you could pull a ribbon of anode down the pipe and have it do some good. But I agree with Jamie, ... cathodic protection isn't a good fit for your situation. Maybe just keeping oxygen out of the inside and keeping the outside dry will do what you need. 🤔
    Yours, Larry