Steam Boiler - Return Line Issues


Old 07-08-08, 07:48 PM
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Steam Boiler - Return Line Issues

Recently I've noticed that the return line (into the boiler) on my steam boiler is showing signs of pitting and of prior leakage (white powder residue). From what I've read, the return line needs to be replaced. The section that needs replacing is from an elbow directly into the boiler, approximately 12 inches in length. Is this something that can be easily repaired as a do-it-yourself project? What are the major issues with the repair? Should it be easy to replace the pipe? (Note the pipe is ~2" diameter galvanized threaded pipe...I've have run copper lines before, but this will be a first with galvanized).

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Old 07-09-08, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Galvanized piping should not be used in a steam heating system.

Whether or not replacement of your soon-to-fail pipe is a DIY job depends upon your talents and toolbox. You will need some pretty husky wrenches and possibly a sawsall to remove and replace the piping. Some pictures of the job may help.

To post pictures you need to first upload the pictures to a photo hosting site such as or and then post the public URLs for the pictures (or album) here. More pictures are always better than fewer. Please have CLEAR pictures and have both close up pictures and ones from a far enough distance that we can see how the various parts are interconnected.
Old 07-09-08, 05:39 PM
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I would not suggest this as a DYI project. Uou need the tools as Furd stated but this could turn into much more that a 12" repair. You do not know the internal condition of the rest of the returm line. I have seen this type of repair turn into half the return line as joints leaks elsewhere as you start moving the return pipes around.
After that the boiler may need skimmed to rid the boiler of the oil from the pipe, fittings and dope.
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