Pinhole in 2" Steam pipe

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Last night while checking on one of the buildings I manage, I noticed a pinhole leak coming from a 2" steel pipe that enters the side of the boiler. The leak is not at the boiler, but at the top of the pipe ( it's a horizontal pipe). Fortunately it is above the water line. I assume its probably because of corrosion, but in any event I shut down the boiler and went to a nearby hardware store and purchased 2 part epoxy, and applied it to the pinhole. Waited about an hour, fired up the boiler and let it get to full steam at about 3PSI. I saw no leaks after sitting there about an hour monitoring the situation. I'm wondering how long it will hold. But one thing I noticed is the epoxy dried as hard as steel.
How are these pinhole leaks usually repaired? I heard of JBweld, but you need to wait a while until it sets, plus its rated to only 200-250 degrees. The stuff I used is rated to 300 degrees.
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Depending on the rust isolation...I would opt for a self-treading screw and silicone automotive gasket sealer.
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2011 04:51:22 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

The only other way is to replace the pipe. You'll probably be doing that soon anyhow. Once there is one leak, another will come soon.
Where did you read that about JB Weld? I've used it on engine blocks and exhaust pipes with no problems. Or is that the JB Kwik (Quick drying)? JB Weld is an epoxy, but has always been rated better than others. But they may have new epoxy made to copy JB Weld these days.
Is your epoxy clear, or gray? What brand?
Sounds like you solved the problem at least for awhile.
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plan on replacing the pipe, if the boilwer is older it migh save a lot of money by upgrading to a new more efficent one
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For what its worth, the boiler is a WeilMcClain EGH-95 steam boiler:
http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/our-products/boilers/commercial-boilers/egh.aspx
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On Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:58:19 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

They have been around for many years. A pretty good cast iron boiler and easy to maintain. Just be sure to check the low water cut off periodically.
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The epoxy is made by Permatex. This is the product I used. Dries in grey color.
http://www.permatex.com/products/Automotive/adhesives_sealants/epoxies/Permatex_PermaPoxy_4_Minute_Multi-Metal_Epoxy.htm
Also the boiler is only 2 years old, but the piping I'm sure is a lot older. Fortunately the problem pipe can be removed since there is a union fitting not to far from it, so its not like I have to disassemble a lot, but it is very heavy pipe, at least 2" and 2-1/2" steel piping.
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The only time I worked with two inch pipe, it took some monster big wrenches. And a fireman who lifted weights. I can easily imagine the appeal of an epoxy patch. One time, myself and my boss both wrenched on one fitting, and the two of us working together didn't have enough power to loosen the thread. The job boss, a fireman, did what us two cripples could not.
One trick I've heard, but not tried. Heat the fitting with a torch. As the fitting is cooling, use a wax candle to drip paraffin on the threads. The fitting cools, and sucks in the paraffin, which lubricates the threads. Please let us know if this does any good.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
The epoxy is made by Permatex. This is the product I used. Dries in grey color.
http://www.permatex.com/products/Automotive/adhesives_sealants/epoxies/Permatex_PermaPoxy_4_Minute_Multi-Metal_Epoxy.htm
Also the boiler is only 2 years old, but the piping I'm sure is a lot older. Fortunately the problem pipe can be removed since there is a union fitting not to far from it, so its not like I have to disassemble a lot, but it is very heavy pipe, at least 2" and 2-1/2" steel piping.
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That's probably the safest way to do it. If you go romping on the pipe trying to remove it, you're likely to end up damaging the plumbing further down the line.
Spent a lot of time as a kid helping the old man chase down rotten old iron pipes in the barn. Seemed like you always ended up replacing three pipes for every one that leaked because you wrecked them getting to the leaky pipe.
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Better to use pipe on the wrenche handles which give you the added leverage.

http://www.permatex.com/products/Automotive/adhesives_sealants/epoxies/Permatex_PermaPoxy_4_Minute_Multi-Metal_Epoxy.htm
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote the following:

He didn't say what type of epoxy he used, but he was wrong about the JB epoxy. JB Kwik is rated to 300F and bonds in 4 minutes. Cures in 4 hours. The regular JB Weld is rated to 500F, sets in about 5 hours, and cures in about 15 hours. I have used the JB Weld and it remains runny for a long time. I didn't time it, but when checking it after after an hour or so, I could still move the epoxy. It also still stuck to my finger.

--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On 12/30/2011 10:00 AM, willshak wrote:

I use regular JB Weld from Lowes to make pallets of scrap circuit board material to go through our convection soldering oven. We do both leaded solder paste and lead-free solder paste. The pallets go through the oven hundreds of times without epoxy problems. The circuit board material begins to delaminate, but the JB Weld is still good. It does get rather brittle, however.
I have been able to speed up the setting and curing of JB Weld using a heat gun to raise the temperature of the material. Usually is set by the second hour of occasionally heating all the joints. It still lasts as long as joints left alone for 24 hours.
Paul
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I always thought it was not a good idea to add anything to the boiler. I even heard flushing out the boiler and adding new water is bad cause it adds more oxygen, which means more corrosion.
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2011 09:09:18 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

I used a corrosion inhibitor in my hot water system, but can't speak for residential steam boilers. Since it's pretty new, you should check the manual. You should replace that pipe ASAP. If it breaks with somebody nearby it could kill them. Guy I worked with got killed opening an overhead steam trap on a depressurized line. Just the water running out scalded him to death. U.S. Steel, South Works.
--Vic
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Residential steam heat boilers could burn someone but don't operate at the pressures and temperatures that industrial systems do. Fatal injury from a residential steam leak is extremely unlikely.
--
Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler. (Albert Einstein)

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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On Fri, 30 Dec 2011 09:09:18 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

Adding water does add oxygen. Chemical treatment though, on some boiler is a must. If it is a cast iron boiler and you have good water, treatment is probably not needed. The Weil McLain section boilers are rather hardy that way. If it is a water tube or fire tube boiler, treatment may be needed. Industrial boilers are treated and chemical balance is checked every day to be sure it is correct.
If you have a preheat tank, be sure the temperature is up as high as possible as it helps get rid of oxygen. You may want to add an oxygen scavenger too.
Boilers should be blown down on occasion to remove accumulated solids and to check the operation of automatic shut-off devices.
You may want to check with an experience steam boiler operator or treatment specialist to see what you really need. You can even take courses for the operation of steam boilers, but they are geared towards the industrial type of boiler, much more complex that an apartment building, but still the same basics apply.
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wrote:

You actually made sense, but then you had to add the last line to insult a country. Are you really that much of a scumbag? You give the rest of the Brits a bad name. You have a strange way of achieving your orgasm.
You don't know the size of the system so to make a comment it is inappropriate to use steam is wrong. One advantage of steam is the ability to transport energy over long distances and to greater heights than water. With water, you need much more power and larger pumps.
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On 12/31/2011 8:42 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I wonder the same thing. Every human endeavor (including a country) has its pluses and minuses. Sensible people look at the big picture. I don't get the point of Harries constant US bashing.
Maybe he needs to have a talk with someone about why he can only see the bad side of things?

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wrote:

On paper, there seems to be potential savings. Have you seen the building? No? They you have no idea what is needed to refurbish the building to a new system.
The need to run gas lines to each apartment may be impossible, or nearly so and meet codes. Individual boilers are small and efficient, but they still need some space and vents and probably condensate pumps for the most efficient.
I glad to hear that all of the UK has done this to the old buildings though. More oil for the rest of us.
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You guys are talking apples and oranges. The boiler Mike linked to is designed to heat one building. It *is* "decentralized." Industrial and municipal steam systems fit the "centralized" category. There you have long pipe runs to outlying buildings. NYC had an underground line blow not too long ago. I might question using steam depending on the size of the building. Could be a case of "that's how we always did it." Then again the cost of converting to hot water might not work. If it's one pipe steam, probably not. Hot water needs inlet and outlet on the radiators. Steam radiators are usually smaller because steam is hotter. Blah blah. You need an expert to scope that out, and that's not me.
--Vic
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