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The pros and cons of copper pipes in heating systems
The pros and cons of copper pipes in heating systems, features of operation and ration, reviews and cost.

Pipelines of this metal have a long history: they already have more than 5 thousand. Years. Technology has changed, but the positive qualities of them remain the same:

Long lifespan: with a properly designed and assembled heating system, pipes can last for decades.

A little weight. Copper is plastic and strong, allowing pipes to be made with a small wall thick. The result is that it weighs a little.

It can withstand both high and low temperatures (a range of working temperatures from 115oC to -40oC).

Copper of a certain brand tolerates the water environment well, but for this it is injected a small part of phosphorus. These products have EN 1057 labelling in accordance with the DIN standard. Such pipes do not react with water and are used for both running water and heating.

Do not require an exterior finish. The copper pipes themselves look attractive and over time their appearance does not deteriorate. If there is a need to paint, it is rather because of the inconsistency with the new design of the room.

Not afraid of freezing: after thawing continues to function. This is a very important quality for regions with severe winters.

It does not pass any gases, oxygen including, which is an active oxidizer.
High resistance to oxidation.

Smooth internal surface, which reduces the probability of sediment formation, as opposed to steel pipes (PPR and MP sediment pipes do not).
A small temperature increase factor.

Like any substance, copper enters the environment that is transported (excluding glass and ceramics). At small dosages it is useful - it has disinfectant properties. Previously, there were reports of a negative effect of large amounts of copper on health, but to date no evidence has been found and copper is not considered harmful even in large doses.
A decent list of pluses is enough. But the drawbacks are also quite serious:

Incompatibility with other materials. If there are aluminium elements in the system, active electrochemical reactions begin. When directly connected to products from other metals, destruction occurs quickly. Brass adapters and fittings can be used to improve the situation. But in one system aluminum and copper is better not to combine: they enter into a reaction in which a large amount of gases are released, so that in the absence of gas-release valves the system can break.
High price. This applies to pipes and fittings. You need another stool, which costs a lot and if not the purchase, then the rental of special equipment. The system as a whole turns out to be expensive. Especially when you consider that aluminum radiators can not be put, cast-iron - a little better, but also bad, so that the radiators are desirable to put copper, or bimetal with copper.

If particulate matter is available in the heat carrier, the erasure occurs quickly, as it is a soft and plastic material. Therefore, a mechanical filter is needed to remove abrasive particles from the environment.

Isolation from wandering currents is required: copper is a very good conductor of electricity. Therefore, a perfectly made grounding circuit and the presence of dielectric pads in the system are required.
Complexity of installation work:

necessarily special equipment. But you can use bronze crimping fittings, which require only keys (divorceors or carob).

It is necessary to protect against mechanical influences or careful attitude, otherwise in a few years there will be not pipes, and a shapeless pile of metal.

There are a few other properties, which, depending on the point of view or operating conditions can be attributed to the pros and cons:

The first is high thermal conductivity. If the copper heating pipes are laid openly , they emit quite a large amount of heat. Therefore, radiators may need less. That's a plus. When a closed pad in the wall or floor requires careful insulation, so that the heat carrier through the pipe does not transmit all the heat to the wall (especially it is possible when laying in the walls facing the street). That's a negative.

Softness and plasticity. On the one hand, it is good - pipes with a special device can bend to large enough limits, which leads to fewer connections and fittings. That's nice. But the softness of the material leads to the fact that they need to be fixed through a small period, and in some cases make special boxes: at high temperature of the coolant copper can soften and lose shape.

It's not good. Not the most pleasant point is that when hit copper pipes deform, therefore, the circulation of the coolant deteriorates. As a result, with negligence and multiple contortions, the effectiveness of the system can be greatly reduced. It's not good either.

Most of the problems that can arise when operating water pipes are related to the poor quality of products. And these are not publicity stunts, but the results of operation: a properly designed system, consisting of proven elements, works perfectly. If you have even a small fragment of "left" material, problems begin. Example: the water supply of cold water and THE GWS is collected from copper, all materials are used quality, branded, except for one piece of pipe (not enough) in the wiring of the GWS, bought from the first tray on the market.

The result - after a year and a half of operation there was a blue film on the plumbing, to which the hot water is brought (where only cold, there is no change). The owners had to change the entire GWS comb due to the active corrosion process in the "left" section of the pipe.
Copper pipes for heating
Copper pipes for heating systems: properties and installation features
To navigate the brands and buy copper pipes that are suitable for heating, you need to know the types of components produced, their types, scope and marking.

Labeling and cost
Copper pipes are produced in two types: soft and hard. For heating more often use solid. The form of the issue - linear segments of 2-5m long or bays, in which twisted segments of 5-10m.

Dimensions. The outer diameter is indicated in millimeters (usually domestically produced or from CIS countries) or inches (imported), and through fraction or "x" the thickness of the wall is put: 22x1 mm (22/1mm) - outer diameter 22mm, wall thickness 1mm, means internal diameter, by which is designed to be 21mm (22-1/21). To develop a household heating system wave enough thickness of the wall 0.8-1mm.

In order not to make a mistake with the choice of diameter when wiring individual heating, it is easier to "dance" from the output of the boiler. That's the diameter and will be your pipes before the first branching. If the system is small all wiring can be done with one pipe, but if it is large enough, you need to follow the rule: after each branching is used a pipe with a diameter, smaller by one step on a size grid. The offshoot to the heating device (radiator or towel dryer) also goes a smaller one step in diameter. For example, 24mm comes out of the boiler, at the first branch two branches are separated, which are already 22mm pipes, and to the radiators from it departs 20mm.  The "reverse" is collected similarly, but from smaller to larger. If a large area of several floors will be heated, a professional thermal calculation is desirable.

The fittings from the boiler usually come out or copper or brass, but in each case, specify and remember that directly other materials can not be connected with copper. In order to avoid a chemical reaction will have to use brass or bronze fittings or adapters.

There are still pipes burnt and unburned. Untreated pipes have a large margin of safety: they can withstand pressure up to 450 MPA, but not very well bend: can stretch only 6%. To change the characteristics they are heated to high temperatures, then cooled. The process is called an out-of-the-way, and the products that followed it were finished. The margin of strength has become smaller - up to 22Mp, but increased elasticity: the material can stretch by 50-60%. Also, the material has become more resistant to temperature changes, carries ultraviolet light without problems and is almost insensitive to high humidity. That's why burnt copper is used not only in heating, but also in cars' engines and drives.

The cost of copper pipes for heating is high. We can compare:

Installation of copper heating pipes

Two types of connections are used in the assembly of the pipeline: using fittings and welding. Pipes with heating devices are connected through disassembled or press fittings. It is also possible to install pipes for the connection/branching, but welding is more often used for this purpose. If you use burnt pipes in the right places, they can bend, reducing the number of connections. For bending use a special device - a tube, which allows you to get different angles without reducing the pipe clearance and not impairing the traversability of the system. It is almost impossible to bend copper pipes with your hands: although the material is plastic, it is impossible to bend it by hand without reducing the gap. So it's better not to use this method.

No special equipment is required to install the crimping fittings: the pipe is inserted into the appropriate groove all the way to the stop, and then with the help of a nut twists, pressing the material of the pipe to the body of the fitting. For a dense fit, you may need two keys - to tighten up to full sealing. It's all the equipment you need. But the specificity of the crimping compounds is such that it requires constant control of tightness: periodically they begin to "drop."  That's why you can't bury such compounds.

The installation of press fittings is used by special press machines. They are not cheap (and rent including). But the connection is airtight and reliable, but inseparable.

Capillary ration is considered to be more versatile and reliable. In this way, you can connect the sections of pipes of the same diameter directly: one of the welded ends collapse - slightly increase the diameter, so that the pipes can be inserted into the other. To do this, use a special device. The place of the joint is cleaned with a metal brush or special sponges (there is on sale). Borrowing connected surfaces are treated with flux , a special composition that improves the "grip" of metal with sing. The treated pipes are inserted into each other. The gap between them should be minimal - a fraction of a millimeter. The compound is then warmed up with a welded burner. When the material is heated to the melting point of the sortation, it is brought into flames and molten composition fill slit. Once the seam is full, it cools down. You can just leave it in the air, until cool, and you can lower it into the water. In principle, the process is not very complicated, but requires experience, skill and thoroughness of execution: both the collapse and the filling process require accuracy and accuracy. In this de scheme, connections with special copper fittings under the ration are soldered.

The process of rationing of copper pipe and the same fitting in this video is well demonstrated, but it provides for use in the water system, and therefore as a solder used tin. Other compounds that have a melting point of at least 115oC are used for heating. The rest of the process is the same.

How to paint copper heating pipes

When selecting paint, you need to take into account the following subtleties: it should not change color at high temperature, protect against external influences, and should not be layered. To make the paint go smoother, it is necessary to process a primer for non-ferrous metals. The lead-suri rperd 81 will be suitable.

And it should be taken into account that the paint is not absorbed, and it is necessary to spread it with a brush carefully. But to achieve more or less even coloring can only be after applying two layers. It is a little easier to work with paint in cans: it is more even.

For copper pipes you can not use oil paints - they darken from the temperature, and in the heating systems it is considerable. The following paints are suitable: PF enamel - 115, 156, 167, 187, 223 and 519, alkyd enamel, polyurethane and GF - 0119. It is allowed to use varnishes: VL-51 or ethaneal varnish, which in the ratio of 9k1 added powder aluminum.

Reviews and experience

Copper pipes someone considers a great way out, and someone does not accept. But, in fact, it is typical for any technologist and material. The only thing that is paid attention, and what is worth listening to - is that in an acidic environment copper begins to break down. Therefore, pour into the system or a coolant with a neutral PH or with a weak alkaline. Also do not recommend the use of steel, aluminum or cast-iron radiators. Be sure to protect the system from wandering currents (grounding and dielectric pads are mandatory) otherwise chemical or electrochemical destruction begins. But in the central heating systems you will not get rid of the destruction completely: the heat carrier in them is saturated with iron, and if the particulate matter can be delayed by a filter, then the dissolved in it can not escape.

Another tip from an experienced installer: copper is very afraid of contact with concrete (oxidized). The speed of destruction depends on the composition of the wall, but in any case it is better to put the pipe in the PVC shell or any similar characteristics of the insulator.

Another advice from the master, but it concerns rations: it is important not to overdo it. First, from overabundance of diligence you can brew the whole gap (if the pipe of a small diameter is especially relevant), and secondly, when overheating soft solder paste overheat, because of what it coking, which leads to the formation of fistulas, and third, don't overdo it with the amount of sing. If you do not have experience, practice welding on small pieces of pipes: you can control both the clearance and tightness of the joint. And after acquiring at least some experience, you can start welding the system.


As we can see copper pipes for heating - a good, but not ideal option. A lot of such material pros, but no less cons. Possibly the appearance of corrosion - it can be a consequence of the wrong composition of the coolant, high pressure or hydrostrike. And it should be taken into account that the life of copper heating systems directly depends on the correct design and installation, that is, even if the use of high-quality leavers, but they are soldered or paved with "curves" hands, long-term operation is not Will. And specialists who competently work with copper today oh as a little, and cost their services (in addition to materials) is also very expensive. Perhaps that's why it is quite rare to put it today, especially since there is a good replacement - polypropylene (reinforced) or metal plastic.
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