Steam pipe repair is an essential part of keeping your facility safe. Steam pipes work in the heat distribution chain within HVAC and boiler systems. These pipes are crafted in order to withstand an immense amount of heat, but long-term use can cause extreme wear. The integrity of these pipes is crucial in order to transport heat throughout a facility. Erosion is one reason these pipes fail. During use, small amounts of water may still be present in the steam flow and can cause damage to the lining of the pipe wall. Erosion is the slow and silent killer of steam pipes due to how the damage accelerates over time.
Another cause of steam pipe leaks is water hammer. DFT Valves explains it as,
This is a phenomenon that can occur in any piping system where valves are used to control the flow of liquids or steam. A water hammer is the result of a pressure surge, or high-pressure shockwave that propagates through a piping system when a fluid in motion is forced to change direction or stop abruptly.
The result can be catastrophic; pump damage, leaks, and ruptured pipes are all possible. And with these comes the possibility of loss of time due to maintenance, facility damage, and repair costs.
There are multiple tells that can help facility managers identify steam pipe leaks before it is too late. Dampness and puddles are good indicators that one of your pipes may be leaking. Depending on where your pipes are located, signs can be seen on the walls, floor, or celling. Stopping this leak early is a great way to save on repair costs. Another warning sign is rust on your pipes. Leaks have the ability to speed up the oxidation process, causing rust. Rust can lead to contamination and a decrease in quality, which is detrimental to any operation.
If you’re unsure if a pipe needs fixing, make sure to call a service professional!
Types Of Steam Pipe Repair
There are a few different ways that a specialist is able to repair broken steam pipes safely. Here are some of the products that help ensure long-lasting fixes.
J-B Weld is a brand that specializes in two-part epoxy applications. This type of repair is extremely good for high-temperature applications, but can sometimes give users a difficult time during the application.
The product works by combing equal parts of the mixture together to create a putty-like solution. Initially, the mixture will be wet and runny, but after 20 minutes, hardening begins. Next comes application. Using a knife or spatula, the putty should be applied to the area of the crack or hole on the steam pipe. Once there, the mixture will finish its hardening and provide support for the pipe.
J-B Weld offers some of the best protection on the market. One large part of this product is the importance of prepping your surface. The area around the crack or hole should have the paint removed, along with the grease and tarnish. This lets the epoxy attach more securely.
High Resistant Epoxy Putty
This type of repair is a simpler, stronger version of the J-B Weld putty. This specialized putty has the capability to withstand temperatures of over 285 °C and uses titanium-filled epoxy to repair all types of complex leaks and holes. One difference between this and the J-B Weld epoxy is that both mixtures are present in one stick. All the user must do when applying the putty is break off the amount needed, and mold the putty in their hands. Application prep of the steam pipe is still extremely important for this putty.
Silicone Repair Tape
Repair tape is an alternative to the traditional epoxy putty route that many people use. Silicone tape has the ability to withstand temperatures up to 200 °C, so it is generally used on pipes that operate at lower temperatures and pressure outputs. The tape works like a rubber band. It molds to the area that has a leak or holes and is able to provide a strong plug.