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Humble pie

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  • Humble pie

    I've been plumbing most of my life. I have done a 3-piece fold in on 10" xhci with lead/oakum joints. Combustion test my new boiler installs. Science labs, etc.
    I wanted to get into fire sprinkler work. (have fire suppression license for 10 years)Took on a simple wet system in a warehouse.
    I am getting my butt kicked going through the learning curve.
    The piping is a 3" looped cross main, with branches off of it, 20' high. I'm using a boom lift.
    A helper and I are only installing 3 branches a day(3 heads per branch), with mechanical tees.
    I already ran the 3" loop.
    I thought I would accomplish this faster, but I am proud of the end result.
    Some questions:
    I am hand wrenching all threaded fittings. Is it hackish to tighten fittings with the threader?
    I also go pretty easy tightening the pipe cutter so as not to oval the pipe.
    I am ordering a curve o mark to speed up drilling mechanical tees.
    My hats off to good sprinkler contractors. Any suggestions for better efficiency?

  • #2
    Re: Humble pie

    I use my hands to tighten my two inch fittings while in the 300. It is faster if you or another skilled person tightens it on the threader. I have more leaks when my helpers try do it after watching me. They always overtighten the damn fittings. I try to do multiple runs at a time to limit my running back and forth. If they cannot give me consistant depths in a fitting it throws everything off. Around here if you are off by a few inches you will be ripping that crap out. I don't do much above two inches but I can do up to four inches. The only things I have found to speed things up is to buy quality equipment, sealant and steel. I would rather the job take three times longer to install than have it leak once.
    AllurePlumbing.com
    • leak detection
    • drain cleaning
    • utility locating
    • conductor fault locating
    • and other specialties.

    Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

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    • #3
      Re: Humble pie

      Absolutely. I have my suppliers state "ship domestic fittings only" on my orders. I have to have eyes in the back of my head with these supply houses passing off imported crap.
      I don't let helpers tighten a fitting on the 300, just like you said. Years ago, an idiot who worked for me split steam fittings, and I found out when we started the unit heaters up in the air. Same guy who put permatex on temporary urinal nipples

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      • #4
        Re: Humble pie

        Many of the sprinkler system down here use roll groove fittings on all but the drops for the heads and test drains. I have never used this method but seems like it would limit many problems on the install.
        AllurePlumbing.com
        • leak detection
        • drain cleaning
        • utility locating
        • conductor fault locating
        • and other specialties.

        Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Humble pie

          I've been in sprinkler work almost 15 years, and I tighten my fittings with the 300 and a 14" pipe wrench. They don't leak, and I can tell by feel, the sound of the machine, or by looking when they are pulled in far enough. It just comes from doing it that way for years. You have to be careful though, you can seriously injure yourself by pulling on fittings with the 300.

          There is no way I would have ran new, 3" sprinkler pipe with threaded fittings, unless it was specified that way. Grooved pipe is the way to go for that size of pipe.

          I'm curious, are you capable, or did you hire someone capable of performing hydraulic calculations on the system? How did you determine the pipe sizes and spacing/type/k factor of the heads??
          Last edited by bml; 05-20-2012, 04:40 PM. Reason: Typo

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          • #6
            Re: Humble pie

            Shop fabricate is all I can think of to speed the process. That assumes that accurate shop drawings can be drawn up. With shop fab, you can do your work under optimal conditions and the fabbing can be done at your convenience and to your schedule. Of course, shop fab isn't always practical.

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            • #7
              Re: Humble pie

              Oh, if you are using either a 4 wheel cutter, or the cutter on the carriage of the 300, dont worry about deforming the pipe by over tightening. You will, however, break your cutting wheels.

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              • #8
                Re: Humble pie

                Thanks for the tips. Keep 'em coming. I love to learn.
                1) Pipe >2" is all grooved with a Ridgid 918 groover.
                2) I am working off an engineer's approved drawings, reviewed by a plan examiner from the Building Dept. Inspection pending.
                3) I have been threading pipe for 1/2 my life for gas, steam, and galvanized drainage.(some gov't. specs still have it for sewage/sump pumps)

                I do a lot of shop fab for water meters and backflow devices and master gas control valve rigs(for science labs with gas solenoid valve wired to key locks and push buttons for the teacher to turn on and off gas to the turrets) . The problem on this job is that the warehouse is an odd shape, but probably still could have been pre-fabbed if I had more experience.
                I am doing this work by myself and a helper because I know we will work safe in these conditions.(diligent about wearing fall arrestors and hardhats, mostly)
                I will speed up the tighening on the cutter(300 carriage), and I will tighten the fittings with the 300.
                I'm getting faster now, though. How bad is 4 branches, of 3 heads each, including mechanical tees drilled, and an expansion shield for the hanger at the arm-over?
                At 20 feet overhead on a lift.
                Got my a-- kicked on this job, but it was fun.

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