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Busted Steam Pipe

Laurie_2Laurie_2 Member Posts: 2
The steam (black pipe) in my basement develped a small hole in it creating a leak in my basement.  I've temporarily patched it in order to stop the leak so that I can now remove it and replace it.  I'd like to know if there is anything special I need to do before I remove the old pipe?  Do I need to shut the heat off in the house before begining?  What about water?  Is there going to be a significant amount of water in the pipe when its removed?  Is there a way to drain the water before removing the pipe?




  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,123
    YES turn off the heat.

    make sure to pipe is cool to the touch. Are you planning on cutting and threading the pipe yourself? Use of copper can cause many other problems due to differing expansion rates and electrolysis of the dissimilar metals joining. It is not very common for steam pipes above the water line to rot out. Do you know what caused the issue you are having?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Laurie_2Laurie_2 Member Posts: 2

    Thanks for your help.  I'm not really sure what happened but my neighbor believes it was pressure build up.  He said it wasn't electrical because he checked the area with some sort of machine.  He said he believes that the seam release valve is not working. Since we cannot find it in the wall (my basement is finished). When we replace the pipe my friend is going to add a new one in.  Does this make sense?  Also, I was going to have home depo thread and cut the pipe.  We'll shut the water off but is there going to be a lot of water in the pipe?  If so, is there a way to drain it?

    THanks for your help.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,123
    this is really a job for a professional

    No steam pressure would not burst that pipe. If it did it would have blown apart your radiators first. Your neighbor while well meaning is not very well versed. This is the wrong time of year to work on heating systems as a hobby. Please check the find a pro section at the top of the page. The pipe is rated to 125 pounds per square inch and the boiler is rated 15 pounds for steam. The thing he is looking for is an air vent. This does not relive pressure. Please call a professional.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Oak Park ElectricOak Park Electric Member Posts: 54
    Leak, vents, etc

    I have to agree with Charlie on getting a pro.  Right now, you don't know very much about working on steam systems.  Please don't take offense.  If this has to be fixed right away, call a good heating guy.  If you really want to do your own work, and this patch will hold for awhile, do some reading this winter and learn how to fix it for when spring comes.  Look at the steam books available in the "shop" section here, they will tell you everything about your system and how it works. Also check out  your library for instruction on pipefitting. This should give you a good idea of what will be involved, then you can decide if you want to tackle it yourself.  This is something that a competent and knowledgeable do it herselfer can do, but you have to know what you are getting into and what tools you will need.  Remember, these kind of things frequently do not go quite as planned.  There are all kinds of issues that can come up then working with old pipes, which is why it's best to wait for warmer times if you can.  If you end up doing it and need some more help, we're always here.  Don't add or remove anything on your system ( or allow this neighbor guy to do it ) until you have read up on how steam heat works and what the different components do.
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