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Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services: Types and Materials of HVAC Pipes

07 March 2023

Commercial and industrial buildings take advantage of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems so they can maximise clean air and optimal indoor temperature. They also maximise this system to ensure that their rooms and spaces are well-ventilated.

But HVAC systems can only work optimally if they are equipped with the right piping. HVAC pipes are essential to these systems since they carry out vital functions. One of their functions is to deliver hot water, cool water, refrigerant, condensate, gas, and steam to and from the HVAC components. Once these elements have been delivered, the HVAC system components can subsequently work to add or remove heat from the rooms and spaces of a building, control the humidity, filter the air, and bring in fresh air.

A Quick Overview of HVAC Pipes

An HVAC system can only work optimally if its components are connected to HVAC piping.

The cooling part of this system, for instance, utilises chilled water and condensate water. The chilled water components will often pump water in a closed loop, ensuring that it will never get mixed with condensate water. Heat, alternatively, is absorbed by the system and gets passed onto the fan coil unit, chiller, and condensate water system.

The heating part of the system is then comprised of both the steam system and the hot water system. It often maximises a boiler to generate steam, which is later transferred to the piping system through boiler pressure. Heat can also be transferred into the hot water so it can be sent to the occupied spaces of a building.

Primary Types of HVAC Piping

There are two types of HVAC piping systems. The first type is the pipe used in the central plant equipment room. This piping network is connected to the rotating equipment and tanks of the central plant equipment room, which are then connected to heat exchangers, pumps, and others. The second type of HVAC piping is delivery piping. This piping network is responsible for transporting process liquid and elements to the various parts of a building.

When joining pipes to HVAC system components, the installers should follow methods suggested by their manufacturer. They should also adhere to applicable codes and standards. Some HVAC pipes may have to be connected through soldered joints, while others have to maximise screwed, flanged, or welded joints.

HVAC Pipes Common Materials

HVAC pipes work regularly. Hence, they should be made from materials that work with liquids and gases. The materials used for the pipes should likewise resist varying temperatures.

One of the materials used for fabricating HVAC pipes is copper. Copper is often used in making smaller pipes intended for air conditioning systems. This material may be effective in carrying out the transfer of cold elements, but it can be somehow expensive.

Steel is another material that can be used in making HVAC pipes. Compared to copper HVAC pipes, steel HVAC pipes tend to be cheaper. They are also capable of withstanding higher pressure than copper ones. Steel is often used in making large pipes.

One more material that can be used for HVAC pipes is plastic. Plastic pipes tend to be significantly cheaper than copper and steel pipes. However, they can be thinner and weaker, which makes them not suitable for high-pressure applications. These pipes, fortunately, can be used on systems where corrosive elements are present as they do not corrode.

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