When a steam or high temperature pipe requires repair, there is often a misconception that the job requires a greater level of expertise than knowing how to fix a ‘normal’ pipe.
To fix a pipe which handles extreme temperatures, you deploy the same repair methods as with any other pipework. The aspect of the repair which changes is the materials.
Products which are effective on your average domestic copper pipe may not be able to cope with the pressure or heat exuded by high temperature pipework.
If you need to fix a steam or hot water pipe, then here are some specialist products which can ensure a successful application.
J-B Weld is one of the most famous high temperature repair products on the market. It is a two-part epoxy which comes in two tubes. When equal measures of the two parts are mixed together, it will initially sag and run.
After 20 minutes, the mixture begins to thicken into a putty which can be applied to high temperature pipes, acting as a filler to seal leaks. Once cured, J-B Weld can withstand temperatures of up to 260°C.
The downsides to J-B Weld are that mixing part A and part B together can be arduous. The application of the epoxy is not always easy either as it is recommended that a tool such as a knife or spatula is used to shape the epoxy.
If you are looking for a simple-to-use alternative, then read on.
High temperature epoxy putty
Most epoxy repair putties have temperature resistance up to 200°C. When it comes to steam or pipework in industry, you need to go further – which is why specialist high temperature epoxy putty has been invented.
Capable of withstanding heat of up to 280°C, Superfast Titanium is a titanium-filled epoxy which is used for repairing motor engines, steam pipes, and for high-strength bonding in extreme temperature conditions.
Superfast Titanium comes with part A and part B combined in one stick. Rather than having to mix the parts together as with J-B Weld, you simply break off the amount of epoxy putty you need from the stick and knead it by hand.
It will turn a uniform colour and can then be pushed into holes and cracks in steam and high temperature pipes where it harden, sealing the damaged area of pipe.
Silicone Repair Tape
One of the most common reasons for the failure of a high temperature pipe repair is because a below-spec repair tape has been used. This is most common in automotive repairs, where somebody attempts to use a tape which cannot handle the temperature created by car parts, such as exhaust pipes.
The most suitable tape for a steam pipe or extreme temperature repair is silicone repair tape. Silicone repair tapes is capable of resisting temperatures up to 200°C and pressure up to 30 bar.
When wrapped around a pipe, it fuses into a solid rubber band over the area requiring repair, completely sealing the leak.
Specialist pipe repair wraps
A relatively new concept when it comes to steam and heat pipe repair are fire retardant pipe bandages, which can be used to reinforce existing repairs and increase the temperature resistance of pipework.
These wraps work in the same way as normal composite pipe repair bandages. You use water to activate the resin and then apply the bandage to the pipe work, where it will cure to form a rock hard, impact-resistant layer around the pipe.
If you are a believer in the old adage that prevention is better than a cure, then protecting pipes which are exposed to extreme temperatures using a specialist repair wrap will reduce the chances of system failure in the future.