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 steam boiler return pipes
Author: Sims (MA)

HI,

I've used shark bites in the past for house hold water lines, but I have a new project and I'm not sure if they're rated for it.

I have a steam boiler system, where the pipes are all the black steal pipes. The steam rises from the boiler through the pipes and then the pipes incline downward to return the condensation from the radiators. It's a single pipe loop system for heating and return, not a two pipe system. The return pipes are much smaller than the steam pipes 1 inch or 3/4 and they carry the water which shouldn't be under pressure, not that a steam boiler system is much pressure. My problem is that the return is about 2 feet off the ground and runs across the middle of my basement for about 15 feet so we are always having to climb over it, and often hit it. We can't raise it up to more than 5 feet since it has to be lower then the last radiator pipe in the system. At the moment even at 2 feet the pipe is bellow the spot where it re-enters the boiler, so the entire length of pipe is filled with water anyway. To make the basement easier to walk through I want to put them to the ground. I spoke to some plumbers who said they can do it, but the price was kind of high for me. Can I use shark bites to lower these return pipes? I've never tried to get the temperature off the pipes, they are probably still warm, but they are condensed steam and have pulled water, so I can't imagine they're very hot. Is this a suitable use for shark bites?

Thank you for any help you can provide.

P.S. I know that I can set up a pump to pump the water up high and back to the boiler that way, but that requires another piece of electrical equipment that could go bad over time and it would still require moving the return pipes. I'm trying to keep this simple.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: bernabeu (SC)

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
SHARK-BITES

The return may be dropped to rest on the floor or even into a trench and then reattached to the boiler (raised back to enter the original connection) with no ill effects what-so-ever PROVIDED it not looped above the original connection AFTER being lowered below it.

The return is below the water level either way.

see page 2: [www.hoffmanspecialty.com]

the wet return may be placed directly on the floor (or even in a trench) as long as the 'hartford loop' is maintained intact - your modification (piping wise) is no big deal though the labor involved may be 'pricy'



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: Sims (MA)

The work I was pretty sure was ok, especially since a couple of plumbers said they could do it. Still it's nice to hear it confirmed. However, did you say no to shark bites because you don't think they will work here, or because you just don't approve of them? It wasn't exactly clear from your response. I know many people dislike them, and I know many people that are fine with them.

They are supposed to be rated for 200 deg F or about 94 deg C. The steam is obviously above that, but when the water returns it can't be higher than 212 deg F and is probably lower than that since it's going through an uninsulated pipe.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: bernabeu (SC)

generally speaking ratings are the point at which 50% failure can be expected

(let the arguments begin)

not worth the risk to save a few $$$

do it right and relax

ASK FOR MATERIAL SPECS and make sure the work is done by licensed, bonded, pros

much cheaper in the long run

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: hj

I doubt that you will find Sharkbites for steel pipes. Normally they are for copper and plastic.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: hj

Ratings are usually half of the test pressure, NOT the point where there will be 50% failures.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: Sims (MA)

I was planning to get threaded shark bites to connect to the existing black steal pipes after I remove the old lines, and then run copper pipes for the new returns. The plumbers I spoke to said they were going to run copper as well.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

As posted.SAVE the old tubing so you can return it to the system when it gets cold.If you can measure your cold/hot return at temp.I will get off your case!But I get way hotter as you get way colder?



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: steam boiler return pipes
Author: Nayman's Drain Services (Non-US)

Hey Sims,
If they are rated for 200F, how come you're not allowed to use them within 12 inches of a waterheater? Even SB has waterheater connectors that have 12 inches of braided steel line with a SB on the end of that.

I have used SBs on old galvanized water lines (threaded), where a part-time HO is too cheap to replace all his waterlines under his mobile. No leaks after 2 years.

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