Repairing leak in 2" steam return line pipe running along basement floor

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Last night I peaked in the basement of a building I manage, and noticed rusty water on the floor. It turns out that a 2" steel return pipe along the floor close to the wall apparantly corroded to a point that its leaking. And now my boiler is cycling on and off to refill. I will probably call someone in to fix it since it looks involved. It is a 10 foot length of pipe with elbows at each end. There is no union, so it will probably have to get cut out.
My question is besides steel, what is another alternative to replacing the pipe? I'm pretty sure copper, but that would be expensive for a 2"-10 foot length. Again this is the return line, not the steam riser.
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I'm not sure if white PVC would take the temperatures, but it's a thought. Cut the old steel several inches from each elbow, and put the PVC in with Fermco connectors.
The ideal answer is to cut the steel in the center. Wrench it out with monster size pipe wrenches, and a couple of gorillas to supply torque. Replace with two shorter pipes and a union. However, the world is seldom ideal.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Last night I peaked in the basement of a building I manage, and noticed rusty water on the floor. It turns out that a 2" steel return pipe along the floor close to the wall apparantly corroded to a point that its leaking. And now my boiler is cycling on and off to refill. I will probably call someone in to fix it since it looks involved. It is a 10 foot length of pipe with elbows at each end. There is no union, so it will probably have to get cut out.
My question is besides steel, what is another alternative to replacing the pipe? I'm pretty sure copper, but that would be expensive for a 2"-10 foot length. Again this is the return line, not the steam riser.
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On Feb 8, 8:42 am, "Stormin Mormon"

You know, PVC did cross my mind. If that's the case, then I would just need to sawzall out a section of the bad pipe, and replace with a PVC pipe with 2 Fernco or no-hub couplings at each end. But I think the temp is too high for PVC. I wonder if I can just cut out the bad section and replace with a steel pipe with 2 clamps on each end.
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http://www.harvel.com/pipepvc-sch40-80-derating.asp Says max 140F. So, the couplers and some galvanized seems to be the way to go. I didn't know that about PVC Temps, until I had a bit of a web search.
I didn't look long enough to check temps of Fernco. http://www.fernco.com/plumbing/flexible-couplings
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
But I think the temp is too high for PVC. I wonder if I can just cut out the bad section and replace with a steel pipe with 2 clamps on each end.
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On Wed, 8 Feb 2012 13:18:42 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

will just balloon/deform and pop.
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Really? Looks like hard black rubber, to me. Something new every day.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Ferncos are PVC, so they are a non-starter for this application. They will just balloon/deform and pop.
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On Wed, 8 Feb 2012 06:11:14 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

finite pressure/temperature limit - but if within range would definitely be less likely to turn into a real CF , with each part needing replacement causing 2 more.
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On Wed, 08 Feb 2012 16:45:52 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I've seen a hundred patches with Ferncos. Eventually, every one was re-piped the way it should have been done the first time. We've used them at work during the week to get through to Saturday, but they are not a solution.
FYI, if some of you did not know, a condensate line will corrode faster than a steam feed line. Carbonic acid
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Well I ended up fixing it tonight. Got a family member to help me.We replaced it with 2" copper with Di-electric nipples at each end. A little pricey, but was a lot simpler than replacing with black steel pipe.
Thanks for everyones input.
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On Wed, 8 Feb 2012 06:11:14 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

No, it has to be done right. Cut it out, put in two sections joined by a union. Don't even think about pvc. Copper is too costly.
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On Wed, 8 Feb 2012 06:11:14 -0800 (PST), Mikepier

I wouldn't use PVC for a steam pipe. Why do you need to call someone. Just cut it somewhere with a sawsall. Unscrew the two pieces. Buy two pieces of pipe plus a union to make the exact same length (the unions add a few inches). Just take the old pieces to a hardware of plumbing store and fit pieces together with the union to match the length. A 9 foot piece and a 9 inch piece would probably be about right. (or any combination). Put the union in the easiest place to turn it.
Of course you have to drain the boiler or shut off valves, etc.
Using copper to steel will cause a dielectric issue, causing both metals to corrode and decay faster. That steel pipe was probably there a long time, stick with the same material. Since it's on the floor, spray paint it, or brush on some rustoleum red primer to protect it if you want.
If the pipes dont want to come out of the elbows, smack the elbows with a 5 lb sledge a few times. (not hard enough to crack them if they are cast iron type).
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On Wed, 8 Feb 2012 08:42:53 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

The big problem I see, is if that pipe is corroded enough to leak, puting the gorilla on the wrench to remove the pipe from the Elbow is quite likely to disturb more weak pipe, requiring replacement father up - where again the required gorilla on the pipe wrench would do the same to the next pipe. In my experience getting involved with repairing old galvanized (or black) iron pipe seldom has a happy ending.

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You are exactly right, that unthreading rusty pipe is nearly guaranteed to break other pipes in the system. Sawzall and iron pipe and Fernco connectors looking better now.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
The big problem I see, is if that pipe is corroded enough to leak, puting the gorilla on the wrench to remove the pipe from the Elbow is quite likely to disturb more weak pipe, requiring replacement father up - where again the required gorilla on the pipe wrench would do the same to the next pipe. In my experience getting involved with repairing old galvanized (or black) iron pipe seldom has a happy ending.
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Just put a can of Bar's Stop Leak in. It works wonders.
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+1 to the clamp on leak stop device...
A Fernco by itself is enough to seal against sewer gasses at close to no discernible pressure difference from the base atmospheric pressure... A steam boiler operates above that pressure inside the system... You would just end up popping it... The specialized leak stopping clamps have metal which can withstand the pressure and hold in the water or steam which is beyond the pressure capacity of a Fernco...
~~ Evan
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-1 to any clamp on leak stop device. He has 10 ft of old iron pipe that is corroded through and leaking. Putting a bandaid on the one spot isn't a real repair. I'd do it in an emergency to buy some time until the right repari can be made, but never suggest it as a correct repair.

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Mikepier wrote:

I think this is a good place to post your question, but since it is about a steam heat system, another good place is at: http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-category/93/Strictly-Steam .
That is a steam heat forum on the http://www.heatinghelp.com website.
If someone does come in a fix it, let us know what they say and what they do. I have steam heat in one property that I own, so I had to do a "crash course" in learning about steam heat when I bought the place. One thing I did was go to the http://www.heatinghelp.com and buy their book called, "We Got Steam Heat!", and I found it to be very helpful.
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Yep, Dan Holohan's site is the best forum on the intertubes for steam heat questions and information. I drove through Bethpage, NY two weeks ago and was shocked to see a storefront with "Heatinghelp.com" on the window sign. I never really thought about the place having an actual physical presence. Bought a T-shirt. :)
To the OP: the section you cut out wasn't corroded, was it? It was a connection that gave up the ghost, right? That's what I've found every time I worked on a return line. Some corroded from the outside in.
Working on black iron (don't use galvanized) condensate returns isn't bad as long as you can get to the joints and you have big enough wrenches and use a cheater pipe over the handle to increase the leverage.
R
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It corroded in the middle of the pipe at the bottom. The pipe was halfway buried in concrete.
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Okay. I probably missed the part where you said it was buried. When the return lines run along the floor they usually corrode at the threaded fittings unless there's something else going on. In my experience they rust through from the outside in when they're partially buried. I had one that rusted through from being buried in the sand from an old concrete foundation leaking and leaching over the years.
If you ever have call to do it again go with black iron. You won't need any dielectric fittings and you can use a union or a left/right threaded coupling and nipple in lieu of the union.
R
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