In new or remodeling works, one of the jobs that requires great precision is the installation of pipes. From a plumbing, masonry as well as an electrician’s point of view, the task must be done correctly, to avoid accidents and future property damage, as well as get the job done properly.
Currently, and thanks to the advancement of technology applied to measurement tools, there are various instruments that facilitate work and provide the precision required for measurement. installation of pipes of any type.
In previous publications we have discussed in detail the characteristics, functions and benefits of the angle meter, as well as the digital inclinometer, the line laser level, the laser distance meter and the wall scanner, measurement tools very useful when installing a pipe. We will indicate in this article, how to use these tools to do the work with the pipes.
Steps to follow for pipe installation
There are many types of pipelines Depending on the use for which they were designed, they have certain characteristics that must be taken into account during the installation process. However, regardless of the type of pipe to be installed, whether a pipe is being installed for water or for electrical wiring, these steps that will be described below must be carried out considering some specific aspects.
Define the location of the pipe
The first thing that must be carried out is the determination of the route that the pipe will trace. The necessary measures must be taken for each of the sections that the pipe must cover, whether it is to be installed externally or internally through the wall, ceiling or floor.
To take the measurements of the route in a practical and precise way, you can use the laser distance meter or, failing that, any type of tape measure. Using the laser distance meter has the important advantage of being able to measure with the help of the laser, the entire section through which the pipe will be installed. This instrument feature not only makes the task easier, it also saves considerable time and effort, and best of all, with perfect precision.
As for the route of the pipeline, the best alternative will be the line laser level. These instruments can draw the path on the surface quickly, conveniently and accurately.
On the other hand, to trace the crossings that the pipe must make during its route, the best option is represented by the angle meter. This instrument would allow to correctly trace the angle that the pipe should follow, avoiding problems when joining the sections of the pipe.
During the layout of the route, the connection points must be taken into account. At these points the pipe must be coupled or connected with another section in a different direction, or with some other element. In the case of water pipes, the connection point would be for example with a sink or with the shower. In the case of pipes for electrical wiring the connection point might be required to couple the pipe to the electrical box.
In any of the cases, these points must be demarcated with great precision to avoid problems at the time of the pipe installation.
Prepare the area for installation
After taking the measurements of the path that the pipeline will travel, proceed to prepare the area following said path, with the aforementioned measurement tools.
External pipe installation: in this case the pipeline It will be attached to the wall or some other element, to ensure its stability and its travel. This type of installation can also be done directly on the floor.
Clamping devices are used to secure the pipe, which must be installed on the wall or floor. It is recommended to use a distance of approximately 1 meter between each bra. Depending on the thickness and type of pipe, these fasteners will need to be screwed or nailed.
Internal pipe installation: in these cases the pipe will be installed through the wall, ceiling or floor. Therefore, the respective surface must be drilled, following the path outlined.
For drilling walls and ceilings, a grooving machine could be used, a tool specially designed for this job. For denser surfaces the rotary hammer is the tool ideal.
For this kind of installation of pipesIt is very useful to use a wall scanner or metal detector, before starting with the drilling of the respective surface. In this way, it would be ensuring that the area to be drilled is free, and that an existing installation would not be harmed in any way.
Hanging pipe installation: In this type of installation, the fasteners must be precisely secured so that the pipe remains at the desired level.
To validate the level of the pipe, once secured by the fasteners, the digital inclinometer is the perfect instrument. This measuring tool has a special strap, which allows you to hold on to the pipe while evaluating the level of the same, it will also allow you to trace the level for the rest of the installation with the use of your laser.
On the other hand, the devices to be used to hang the pipe must have adequate resistance depending on the type of pipe. The PVC pipes They are much lighter than copper pipes, and copper pipes require a margin of expansion so the fastener must provide it. Additionally, for PVC pipes it is recommended to place the fasteners with a separation of 1 meter between them. This distance may vary if the tubing is PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), TME (metallic electrical tubing), or copper.
It is very important in this type of installation, take into account the type of pipe that is being used, as well as the fasteners.
Cut the pipe
According to the measurements made during the route layout, the necessary pipe sections must be cut.
PVC pipes are easily cut by using a hacksaw, scissor-type pipe cutter, or miter saw. The miter saws They allow you to make a straight cut, which makes your work even easier.
For cutting PEX pipes, the scissor tube cutter is the best recommendation. In this case, it must be taken into account that this material expands and shrinks, so it is recommended not to make the cut with the right measure.
The Copper pipes they are relatively soft, so cutting them does not involve much complication. In this case, a hacksaw can be used, although it is highly recommended to use the pipe cutter to avoid bending or deforming the pipe. For cutting TME type pipe, a hand saw will suffice.
Regardless of the pipe type, it is very important that after cutting the burrs are removed, for which the appropriate deburring tool can be used.
Pipe unions and connections
To perform the Joints and connections required in the pipeline, You can make use of the devices designed for this purpose, such as elbows, couplets or tee, in cases where they apply. On the other hand, depending on the type of pipe, other methods that are just as effective can be used.
For the PVC pipe joints a special fast-acting glue is used. Simply apply the glue to the ends to be joined, apply some pressure and then apply glue to the outer side of the joint, to reinforce. For this type of pipe, you can also choose to use a threaded die, to proceed to join the pieces by screwing them.
Regarding the PEX pipes, most of your connections are made by sliding a flange ring, made of copper, to the place in the pipe where you want to make the connection. Subsequently, the pipe is introduced into the shoulder of the coupler, as much as possible. The ring is slid down 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the shoulder of the coupler-pipe, and then flanged with the flange, which should be at a 90 ° angle to the ring and close.
The joints of the copper pipes are made with a uniform and smooth solder.
The TME pipes they can be easily bent using a conduit bender. A margin of 13 centimeters should be left for each double 90 ° that is made to the pipe. The connections to be made with this tube can be secured if required with a strong glue.
All these are the steps to follow to carry out a pipe installation, efficiently and practically.