Corroded heating pipe leaking in basement-is patching an option?

gonets

I have steam heat, and in the basement, I see that a pipe is corroded and leaking. It's a drip, drip right now. The dripping actually increased in frequency over the course of the last 4 hours. Was wondering if there's a reliable way to patch the pipe. If it's just a temporary fix, how much time could I expect it to by me? Leak is on pipe in basement.

 


gerritn
  1. Get a piece of rubber and secure it to the leak with some clamps
  2. Then call a plumber to replace the pipe

Sundays

I patched (clamp lined with rubber) a water pipe about 7 years ago and it's held up fine since. But I assume steam packs more heat and pressure. Might get you thru the season, but that's just a dumb homeowner guess.


Is the leak mid-pipe or by a joint?


gonets

Hi

Thanks for the responses. Leak is mid-pipe as opposed to at the joint.


FilmCarp

Actually a steam pipe has lower pressure than a water line, but I'd get it replaced soon.


gerritn

Is it a return pipe or a feeder pipe?


Sundays
FilmCarp said:
Actually a steam pipe has lower pressure than a water line, but I'd get it replaced soon.

Interesting. I suppose you're right, because the pressure is so constant, but it's a little counter intuitive for me. Thinking about the lid blowing off a pressure cooker, steam engines, and just the spec of the parts used for each (the thickness of steel piping vs copper or pex, and the puny little valves used to shutoff water vs steam).


gonets

So, I don't know whether or not it's a feeder or return. It's on the ceiling of the basement and 8" circumference. Don't know if that helps.


gerritn

When the boiler is on, does it get really hot?


gerritn

Probably feeder. My own experience is that these rubber + clamp patches work really well (assuming the hole does not get too big), but once it starts leaking in one place there are likely other spots that are about to start leaking. So we put a patch on, and then the same winter we had to do a few more so we had plumber come in and replace a section of the pipes. And once that was done every winter other sections had to be replaced, so within 3-4 years all pipes were replaced.


mrincredible
Sundays said:


FilmCarp said:
Actually a steam pipe has lower pressure than a water line, but I'd get it replaced soon.
Interesting. I suppose you're right, because the pressure is so constant, but it's a little counter intuitive for me. Thinking about the lid blowing off a pressure cooker, steam engines, and just the spec of the parts used for each (the thickness of steel piping vs copper or pex, and the puny little valves used to shutoff water vs steam).

 Your whole steam heat system is regulated by multiple valves which keep the pressure from getting too high. They're pretty small. There's a main pressure detector which will shut down the boiler if the pressure goes up too much. 

I'm not sure why the steam pipes are so much larger and thicker. Maybe so they retain heat better and don't cool the steam inside them too quickly.


tjohn

A residential steam boiler should operate at a pressure of 1 PSI or less.

https://inspectapedia.com/heat/Steam-Boiler-Pressure.php

I don't know the speed at which steam travels through the pipes - the experts say around 25 fps.

https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/158666/steam-velocity





master_plvmber
mrincredible said:


 Your whole steam heat system is regulated by multiple valves which keep the pressure from getting too high. They're pretty small. There's a main pressure detector which will shut down the boiler if the pressure goes up too much. 
I'm not sure why the steam pipes are so much larger and thicker. Maybe so they retain heat better and don't cool the steam inside them too quickly.

What in the **world** is this ^^ answer?


mrincredible

Well, break it down for me. Take me to school. Give me a good larnin. 

Doesn't every radiator have a valve on it to release air? Isn't there a pressure regulator on the boiler to keep the pressure from rising too high?

A steam heat system isn't like a sealed pot that will pop open.  That's my point. It's not high pressure and there are lots of mechanisms to keep it so. 


annielou

ok so back to the second suggestion. Why rubber? What kind of rubber? Won’t it melt?


yahooyahoo

Get pipe replaced before catastrophic failure occurs.  Much more convenient to schedule an appointment than call a plumber in the middle of the night.


gerritn
annielou said:
ok so back to the second suggestion. Why rubber? What kind of rubber? Won’t it melt?

No, because it will plug the hole. You can go to Home Depot, Plumbing department. They may sell clamps with built-in rubber for situations like this. But they also sell little red rubber pieces (4" x 4" or so, a few $'s each) and then some clamps ($0.25 to $2 depending on size). You cut the rubber to what you need, put it on the hole, apply and tighten the clamps, and voila. Will last several years.

But sooner or later you will need a plumber to replace pieces of the pipes, I do not disagree with that. But clamps and rubber are a very good stop-gap.


steel

I know a guy who had a bucket under a steam pipe leak in the basement and every day had to add water to the boiler all winter. I won't recommend it.


tjohn
gonets said:
I have steam heat, and in the basement, I see that a pipe is corroded and leaking. It's a drip, drip right now. The dripping actually increased in frequency over the course of the last 4 hours. Was wondering if there's a reliable way to patch the pipe. If it's just a temporary fix, how much time could I expect it to by me? Leak is on pipe in basement.
 

Bottom line - get a plumber to fix it.  You aren't going to have a steam pipe explosion as seen in movies, but it could fail completely at an inconvenient time.




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