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Copper vs Black Iron?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Tennman, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    beautiful! i don't care how good you can make pex look it can never compare to something like this. nice work!!
    GS7 and BoilerMan like this.

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  2. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    the first one is just a simple 2 zone baseboard. the second one is was an emergency radiant in slab. did it in two days, that's why it looks a little out of whack. but the owners were still impressed. is there a thread of photo's? i love looking at other peoples work.

    Attached Files:

  3. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Those look like Z-one valves from Caleffi and Watts manifolds.............. Both my favorites.

    Very nice looking work! Thumbs up to you sir!

    TS
  4. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    thanks. i have had great luck with calleffi. i do have trouble with the autofill/ back flow preventer though. always venting and sticking, so i use watts for those as well now
  5. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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  6. fuelfarmer

    fuelfarmer Burning Hunk

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    Sure am. Is that a bad thing?
  7. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks all. I'm sure I could get comfortable with soldering. I do know that plumbing all my boiler loop with LOTS of valves, unions, nipples, etc in black iron was hard to get everything the right length. I didn't have any threading capability so was forced to use available length nipples. And after all these years seeing the fancy control rooms like fuelfarmer's, I'm leaning copper because I don't think the final cost will be much different. All my advice, brainstorming, and experience comes from you guys 500-800 miles north, so I really appreciate it. Closest thing to a boiler with storage around me is up the road at Jack Daniels..... and what the neighbors are running back in the hollers.
  8. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Tennman
    If you have the time and aren't rushed you could do the copper and solder.
    When i did my boiler and storage install i had never done anything like that,soldered up a basement suite and a few repairs was the extent of my experience 3/4 was the biggest pipe i had soldered.I used about 50% used fittings and all used pipe for my boiler room.I had over 150 soldered joints and ended up with 2 leaks,both were sealed with a little heat and solder.I bought a Map gas kit and got the B tank.Lot's of cleaning,lot's of care and attention.The shop i got all my stuff from told my wife to be patient because i was saving over 25K in labor.She had been bitching about how long it was taking me,that stopped:p
    Thomas
  9. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    25k in labor. wow, what did you build? can we see pics? I love seeing massive copper jobs.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  10. Briquetmaker

    Briquetmaker Member

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    Nice install Fuelfarmer. I went with black pipe to go with existing conditions. It sure was harder to do with the crappy import fittings
    053.JPG
    BoilerMan and Coal Reaper like this.
  11. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    That is a beautiful BI job!
    woodsmaster likes this.
  12. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    incredible!! a true work of art!! you should be proud of yourself. so pristine. excellent job. this is magazine worthy, no doubt!! do you mind if I copy this and show it to my employees? they are all cocky and need to see what real craftsmanship looks like. plus I am a member of another site and they would appreciate this.
    Briquetmaker likes this.
  13. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    It wasn't all that massive,but we live 100 miles from any trades so travel adds up,and we are up where shop time starts at $80.00.I'm sure the underground lines.and the work in the house would have been in that figure.
    Thomas
  14. Briquetmaker

    Briquetmaker Member

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    No problem. Tell them I'm a cabinet maker, not a plumber.
  15. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

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    c'mon a cocky plumber, but realistically it is not that difficult with forthought, patience and the right tools. From what I see alot of plumbers dont care what it looks like because its hidden behind sheetrock, and often not caring what it looks like leads to leaks and alot of finger pointing later on. We general contracted a 22,000 sqft house with plaster walls, 15 geowells and gas boilers, the plumber paid for alot of plaster repair, the heating contractor not one leak. Sorry for going off topic, I to appreciate the excellent copper and black iron porn!
  16. MarkW

    MarkW Member

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    I'm no pipe fitter, either. That being said, I recently finished piping my system. I started with BI because of the cost factor(roughly 2-1). I spent the entire day on the boiler to storage piping before my threader crapped out on me. Ended up doing the storage to house in copper and it went much faster. I'm kicking myself for not going copper to begin with as I value my time over the $300 or so I might have saved doing it all BI.
    Plus, I like the looks of the copper better. ;)
  17. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Briquetmaker/Andy, OMG...:eek:. So.... do you want to do any plumbing on the side when cabinet work gets slow.... Tennessee is very pleasant this time of year with lots of good college football in the area :rolleyes:, tours of Jack Daniels, the Space Flight Center. You need to find Gasifer's "Show me your system" thread from several years ago and add yours to it. Are you able to keep that room spotless like that during the burn season? Something tells me you have a lot of happy cabinet customers. Wow. FYI, when my system was up to temp I painted my BI with red Rustoleum like I had seen in Government facilities. So easy since I dried as I brushed it on. Yours may be insulated now. But congrats on a fantastic job!

    I'm leaning copper since this will the only storage system either I or my heirs will ever own.
    Briquetmaker likes this.
  18. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    Yes and Yes! :)

    K
  19. Briquetmaker

    Briquetmaker Member

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    I have heard Tennessee is very nice. If you were closer I would come to help. I find plumbing to be very interesting, fun to me and always learning something. I did post in Gasifier's thread a while ago and need to show some pics of the tweaks I have been working on. I am putting in a 2000 watt battery backup to run everything except the oil boiler and a few plumbing changes. Always hard to keep the room clean with the little bit of blow back you get when opening the door. I think a small exhaust fan would help and my new freshly painted gloss black pipes are easier to keep clean. It is nice painting warm pipes....no drips. By the way, thanks for your kind words on my workmanship!
  20. Morgan

    Morgan Member

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    As far as flux for soldering, my all time favorite is Griffon S-39 Universal. It is a water soluble red paste, using new pipe and fittings I don't even clean/sand them anymore, just apply flux to the pipe(I don't do the fitting, I like trying to keep as much flux out of the piping as possible), apply heat(get a nice crosstech torch, best on the market in my opinion) and then add the solder, I typically use 95-5 as it makes for a stronger joint.

    Just want to add, there are some nice install pictures in this thread!
  21. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Tennman up here BI is about 1/4 the price of copper so I used BI. I'm a farmer and my buddy is a lawyer . we had never done any boiler work before. Rented a power threader $60 a day , bought way to many fittings as they will take back what you don't use, we used way more than I thought especially unions. It took us about 6 hours to plumb the garn in and plumb the basement up to the manifold. We were done and congratulating each other over a beer the lawyer says maybe we should put a shingle and do this for second job. It's not that hard but I have to admit it's not a work of art like Briquetmakers.
    Briquetmaker likes this.
  22. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    This makes me drool! I've only done simple runs for gas lines but it seems to me that a drawback to black iron is that if you have a leak, you have to rework every joint back to the end or a union. any way around this?
  23. Briquetmaker

    Briquetmaker Member

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    3 wraps in Teflon and apply Blue BLOCK
    Coal Reaper likes this.
  24. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    The guy who told me how to do my system had me use hemp.I did a test when i was testing my tanks and plugged the openings.I used Teflon tape on some,pipe dope on some,and tape and dope on some.And hemp and pipe dope on the rest.I was testing to 80 psi,the only method that didn't leak was the hemp and dope.All the others stopped leaking with more tightening.I had zero leaks in over 150 threaded fittings.
    The prep takes more time,but the results are worth it.He had me score the threads at a 90 with a sharp chisel,that created a rough surface to grab the hemp strands,you keep winding hemp on till you have the treads covered about as deep as it will thread into the fitting.Then a bit of pipe dope to hold the threads.Tighten as tight as you usually would.
    The hemp absorbs liquid,water,oil,ect and swells.So if you do have a little weepage it will stop.
    I even use it on my trucks and equipment.
    Thomas
  25. altmartion

    altmartion Feeling the Heat

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    I guess I don't understand how the solder sticks to the copper if it is not scuffed up. I have done it accidently before and it did hold but it eventually blew apart. maybe I will try this at my house. I will be adding some in floor radiant. I wouldn't do it at a customers house.

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