Stainless steel pipes, despite the fact that more innovative materials appear, remain in demand. They are used to organize heating and water supply systems. Compared to products made from ordinary carbon steel, stainless steel has its own advantages. At a minimum, we are talking about the hygiene of the material and its long service life (up to 400 years). But in order to achieve all the positive qualities, it is necessary to understand how the installation of pipelines made of stainless steel is carried out, what tools are useful in the work and what subtleties you need to know.
Stainless products are used in many industries, so when choosing it, you should start from many parameters. For example, with the help of anti-corrosion types, internal and external pipelines are laid, monumental and lightweight structures are erected, and they are also used to design design projects. When choosing a suitable material, you need to know what loads it will be subjected to during operation.
Pipes differ in cross-sectional shape. For example, water pipes through which liquid is transported are assembled from products with a familiar circular cross section. And it is recommended to mount the load-bearing elements of the frame using products of square or rectangular section.
Stainless metal also differs in surface, which depends on the characteristics of the finishing treatment with abrasives or on the electrochemical reaction. As a result, manufactured pipeline products have a smooth or rough, matte or glossy surface.
There are 2 ways to produce stainless pipes:
- Hot rental. This method is reduced to two main operations: first, the round billet is heated until it becomes plastic, then it is processed on a piercing mill. The resulting hollow sleeve is crimped, stretched and rolled. Further, the finished product is cut into segments, in accordance with GOST 9940 81.
- Cold and warm rolling. The technology is similar, but immediately after the end of the firmware, the product is cooled with water. The minimum length parameter is 300 mm, the maximum is 12.5 m.
Profile water pipelines are made from sheet blanks. They are cut and rolled in a forming mill, where the cross-sectional shape changes from round to square or rectangular. At the same stage, the seam is welded.
Advantages of stainless steel pipelines
Any product has both strengths and weaknesses. In the case of pipes made of stainless steel, they have more advantages than disadvantages.
- Withstand high temperatures and pressure. The normal level of pressure is 15 atm, where the limit should not rise above 50 atm. Operation of products is allowed at a working temperature from -50 to +110 degrees Celsius. Here we make a reservation: the maximum temperature is a conditional value. If it rises higher, then the seals and couplings will deteriorate, and the stainless steel itself begins to collapse only at +800 degrees.
- Application areas. With the help of stainless products, radiator and water heating systems are bred, “warm floors” are equipped, gas and water pipelines, fire extinguishing systems, air conditioning systems, and so on are installed.
- No susceptibility to corrosion.
- Stainless steel is chemically inert to other metals. This means that if the pipes to be installed in the adjacent room are made of copper or aluminum, nothing bad will happen.
- High level of durability. This means that they successfully withstand high mechanical loads.
- Easy installation. All work is done, if desired, with their own hands. Of course, you will need skill to quickly assemble the connections, as well as a couple of tools for installation: a hacksaw and an adjustable wrench.
- Flexibility. The minimum allowable bending radius is equal to the cross section of the pipes, which makes laying even easier.
- Life time. The operating time is not affected by the temperature of the circulating coolant.
They have enough benefits. But, ideal products do not yet exist, so even stainless types have disadvantages.
- High price. For example, it is cheaper to mount a system from black rolled metal.
- Oxidized on contact with chlorine. If the water circulating through the pipeline contains a lot of chlorine, then over time, rust spots will begin to appear on the inner surface of the pipes. As a warning, it is recommended to flush the system with plain water from time to time.
At the moment, such a variety of stainless products as a corrugated pipe is being produced, which has become an excellent analogue compared to rigid products. Thanks to their free-flexing shape, they are even easier to install, especially where space is limited. They are not afraid of sub-zero temperatures and water hammer.
There are several methods for laying water pipes or other communications using stainless pipes.
Possible connection types:
- with the help of flange connecting elements;
Welding is the most difficult connection method. In addition to the availability of special equipment, you will need to invite a specialist to perform the work. To implement the procedure, a tungsten electrode is used, and the welding process itself is carried out in an inert gas environment. Now there is another, more advanced method called plasma welding. But it also requires special and expensive equipment. For domestic work, this method is not always relevant. Therefore, other connection options are preferred — using flanges or fittings.
Flanges are called 2 ring elements, for the connection of which studs or bolts are used. When using flanges, it is necessary to ensure the tightness of the connection, therefore, sealing rubber (or polymer) materials are additionally used. Flange sizes vary. The connection method itself is in demand in cases where, over time, it may be necessary to dismantle or maintain the pipeline. The only drawback of this installation method is that the sealing materials do not resist temperature changes well, losing their properties.
A more reliable way is to use fittings with a silicone gasket, which provides the required level of tightness of the connection. The assembled water supply can be dismantled, while nothing will happen to the fittings.
When installing a stainless steel pipeline, it is necessary to adhere to certain nuances. For example, corrugated products are famous for the fact that they bend well, but this should not be abused: with repeated bending in the same place, there is a chance that a crack will appear and, as a result, leakage. For flexibility, the norm also applies, therefore, having given the product the necessary shape, it is no longer recommended to change its configuration.
The installation of corrugated products is similar to how systems are connected using compression fittings. The only thing is that a fitting is not provided in the connecting elements for the corrugation. The crimping process is carried out thanks to the internal lining of the fitting. Corrugated pipes are flexible, so they require less time to install.
Important! When choosing fittings for connection, be guided by the recommended list offered by the manufacturer. You should not save on connecting elements, which can cause an emergency.
Sequence of work:
- We separate a piece of pipe of the required size, for which we use a pipe cutter or other cutting tool. Before starting this operation, it is recommended to first measure the distance of the pipeline, taking into account the bends.
- The union nut is loosened on the fitting. To do this, you will need a wrench. A piece of tube is inserted into the fastener until it stops.
- Using the same wrench, the flare nut is tightened until the product is fully seated in the fitting.
- At this stage, you can bend the corrugation, reaching the desired configuration. Next, it is attached to the wall.
- The final step is a leak test. That is, the water turns on and, if no leaks are found, the installation was successful.
Installation of stainless steel corrugated pipes is a simple procedure that everyone can handle.
The service life and quality of the installed water supply depends on many things, so you need to carefully select the appropriate products.
What to consider:
- inspect the purchased product: it should not have cracks, kinks or other visual damage;
- the product should bend easily, while maintaining its strength — this allows installation in cramped conditions;
- you should not save and buy cheap products — it’s better to choose a reputable manufacturer, a high-quality stainless pipe can have a price of 1 to 3 thousand rubles, which depends on the type of product and type of steel;
- follow the instructions during installation;
- having installed the system, be sure to check its integrity, for which you will need to set the maximum level of allowable pressure;
- make sure that the fittings are complete;
- if you need to combine corrugated stainless steel with a pipe made of another material, use fittings made of brass;
- if you want the system to last longer, do not install cheap low-quality fittings;
- when tightening plastic elements, you do not need to overdo it, otherwise they will simply burst;
- prepare the necessary tools in advance: open-end wrenches, metal shears, fittings.
Corrugated pipes are durable and reliable products, the demand for which is gradually growing. They are popular in the fields of construction and repair: gas and water pipes are assembled from them, heating systems and even chimney structures are laid. In addition, they are quite easy to install. The only condition for the long service life of the assembled system is that the materials must be of high quality, so approach the purchase thoughtfully.