In the last decades of the last century there has been a significant increase in corrosion of installations. The reason is constantly deteriorating quality of utility water, containing not only a wide range of chemical compounds harmful to metals, but also water treatment agents – chlorine or ozone – in increasingly higher concentrations. This situation forced, among others, introduction to manufacturing plumbing and heating systems from new materials with higher corrosion resistance: copper and its alloys and plastics.
In the United States and Canada – copper installations represent a major percentage of all installations.
As a material for the construction of water and central heating installations, copper and plastic pipes completely replaced those made of steel and galvanized steel.
- Extensive use of copper in all types of installations, allows the use of a single installation technology throughout the building.
- Excellent resistance of copper to the corrosive effects of water guarantees many years of trouble-free operation of the system (for plumbing 40-year service life is assumed, and for the installation of central heating even higher!)
- Installation of copper is characterized by high ease of assembly and aesthetic workmanship.
- The installation cost of copper or plastic is comparable to the cost of a solution made of steel, except that copper installation is resistant to high temperature or overheating, and the gas diffusion through the walls of the tubes.
- Copper is entirely recyclable, it is possible to completely recover it from the installation for re-use.
In modern installations we often see unjustified, harmful to the stability and proper functioning of the installation, combining its components made of different metals. This is the evident loss to investors who are forced to repair a relatively new installation in a short time. The reason for this is mostly simple ignorance. Combining different metals is acceptable, but not all, and only under certain conditions. Electrochemical cells forming on the connections cause rapid dissolution of iron, zinc and aluminum. Even without metallic contact copper stimulates corrosion of the materials listed. Copper ions are embedded in initiated pitting and cause the destruction of the aforementioned materials.
In central heating installations combining steel and copper is conditionally permitted in closed systems, ensuring the presence of only a trace of oxygen, but it is not allowed to use copper and aluminum in the same water circuit.
So please consider how these observations relate to gas boilers – in which the heat exchanger is usually made of copper – built-in with the combination with aluminum radiators? Does anyone warns the investors about occurring danger, in this case the vitality of installation?
Guarantee a long service life of each installation, including central heating installation, is to build it from a homogeneous material, resistant to most harmful factors. Such a material is copper.
Boiler with copper heat exchanger, copper pipes and radiators with copper pipes in which the water flows…
Second important condition, beyond the material homogeneity, for a good, smooth, noise-free operation of the system and the long period of its operation, is the careful assembly, in accordance with the rules of profession.
Copper installation is primarily the subject of pitting corrosion, resulting from damage to the protective oxide layer by circulating mechanical impurities inside the installation or badly made soldering.
Follows from this in a simple and inexpensive in execution requirement of filtering of the water circulating in the system. The second form of corrosion is an erosive corrosion, caused by too turbulent water flow. It is therefore crucial to maintain normative velocity of water flow, as well as elimination of all flow disturbances – narrowings, solder lugs, defectively executed branches. Make sure to remove internal burrs caused by cutting, carefully deburr and calibrate trimmed ends of pipes to be installed. When bending the pipes one should avoid creation of constrictions that reduce the flow rate. Longer sections should include the ability of natural compensation or U-compensators of linear elongation. The thermal expansion coefficient of copper is about 1.5 times greater than steel. The care of installation, proper selection of pipe diameters (gradation) and the proper selection of the circulation pump depends on whether there is noise during heating and tapping, or appear plaster cracks and leaks.
In properly designed and properly executed central heating installation of copper pipes there are practically no significant corrosive risks.
photo 1: In the heaters of REGULUS-system company water system is made of exchanger made of copper pipes package, and the heat emission system is made of fins of aluminum tightly fixed on copper pipes of the water system.
One should strive to use possibly homogeneous materials for all devices. Ii is the most appropriate to use alloy steel boilers, cast iron boilers or flow boiler with the copper coil. From the point of view of sustainability of the installation there is no restriction in the use of cast iron radiators. The obvious disadvantage is the high weight and a very large water capacity.
photo 2: Specially bent front and rear edges of the aluminum fins tightly adhere to each other, forming a front and a back side of the heater.
The ideal radiators for installation of copper and not only are copper radiators.
The REGULUS ®-system company radiators’ water system exchanger is made of copper tube package. Heat dissipation to the environment occurs from the surface of the aluminum fins densely embedded on heat pipes. Copper and aluminum contact is on the external surface of the pipes, so it is a dry contact that is not subject of galvanic corrosion, which occurs only in aqueous media.
The heat is emitted in two ways: by radiation from the heavily undulated surface of the radiator and by convection, through numerous convective channels formed by the specially shaped aluminum fins.
photo 3: In REGULUS-system radiators copper and aluminum contact is on the external surface of the pipes, so it is a dry contact that is not subject of galvanic corrosion
Because of low total mass REGULUS-system heaters are characterized by uniquely high dynamics and precision of heating. This factor affects not only the high thermal comfort, but also high economy of the heating process