How to Install Expansion Joint Bellows
Expansion joints handle high temperatures and stresses so that surrounding pipe systems don’t have to. Once in place, sturdy expansion joints function well for years, but that necessitates a careful installation. To learn how to install expansion joint bellows properly, read our brief guide on some general do’s and don’ts.
Prep for Installation
The installation process is a crucial one to get right. To ensure everything is in its place, take certain steps to prepare for joint installation. First, assess whether the joint you’re installing fits the specifications of the overall system. It must be able to withstand certain temperature and pressure baselines to safely function when the pipes are in use. Also, you should physically inspect the expansion joint and the surrounding piping for pre-existing flaws before implementation. Cracks necessitate a joint repair or replacement and could worsen upon fitting the joint.
Another aspect of preparation is ensuring your overall system can handle variable temperatures and high pressures when in use. To account for thermal expansion, consider how you can implement deflection mechanisms to lessen the force and stress on the pipes.
Place Your Expansion Joint
When fitting the joint onto nearby pipes, make the pipes fit the joint rather than overstressing the joint to accommodate your pipes. Surrounding pipes typically can distribute applied force more than a joint can, and if it’s bearing too much force, the joint could fail when everything is operational. Also, when placing your expansion joint, leave one flange loose so you don’t place undue torque on the joint. Doing so may cause it to fail before you fully secure it into place.
Secure it in Place
A concluding step to installing expansion joint bellows involves securing bolts to keep it in place. Once inserted, gradually tighten the bolts equally so you create an even seal. One strategy to accomplish this is incrementally tightening in a diagonal pattern similar to tightening the lug nuts on a car wheel. Check on the security of the seal in the next few weeks to be safe.