Homer Simpson’s Guide to Grooving Copper Pipe

Homer Simpson was unavailable

Even better the young apprentices that have their fingers on the button as it were and ready to show the world how this important skill can be developed. With a whole 5 years of experience between them, what could possibly go wrong? Follow along as the steps needed to complete this important skill are discussed. If you’re looking for a commercial plumber near you then look no further than Baker Plumbing in Calgary.

Copper Pipe

Copper pipes are commonly used in the commercial construction industry for water supply lines and refrigerant lines in HVAC (heating, cooling, and air-conditioning) systems. Copper pipes can be manufactured as soft or rigid copper and offer excellent corrosion-resistance and reliable connections. The three most common types of copper pipe used in residential and commercial construction are Type K, Type L, and Type M. A fourth type, used for drain-waste-vent, or DWV, piping, can be found in some older homes.

For today we using 2.5″ copper K pipe which is the only type or quality that is approved for this type of joining method. Working on commercial boiler systems can be a hazardous undertaking. This work should only be completed by professional tradesmen or women that have extensive experience completing such work. Or as shown here under the direct supervision of a Master plumber.

  • Type K Copper Pipe: Type K copper pipe has the thickest wall of all the common types. It is used for water distribution, fire protection, oil, HVAC, and many other applications in the construction industry. Type K pipe is available in a rigid and flexible form and can be used with flared and compression fittings. Pictured below is that very thing, Type K copper pipe! It’s been cut, reamed and sanded in preparation for the application of a RIDGID grooving tool.

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Next step grooving

According to many industry experts “grooved mechanical piping” reduces risk, cost and construction schedules.

Grooved mechanical pipe joining is a method of fabricating piping systems that eliminates the need for welding and flanging pipe. Grooved-end pipe, fittings, valves and accessories are joined with mechanical couplings that provide a secure, reliable union at every joint. These connections are designed to handle a variety of utility and process piping services. Grooved pipe solutions can be used on carbon steel, stainless steel and galvanized pipe, as well as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass-reinforced pipe and American Water Works Association ductile iron pipe ranging in size from a half inch to 60 inches.

A grooved pipe joint is comprised of three core elements: the pipe groove; the gasket and coupling housings; and nuts and bolts. Grooves are cold-formed on the pipe ends with tooling specifically designed for this process (we are using the RIDGID 914). The coupling housing engages the grooved ends of each pipe, fitting or valve to be connected. A resilient, pressure-responsive elastomeric gasket provides a leak-tight seal, even under a vacuum. The coupling housing fully encloses the gasket, reinforcing the seal and securing its position. The coupling is fastened with two track head bolts and nuts.

Grooved mechanical piping has its roots in World War I, during which this innovation was used to deploy fuel and water to Allied forces on the front lines. The system proved beneficial over other joining methods, because as troops’ positions changed, the pipes needed to be disassembled, transported and reassembled quickly and efficiently.

Today, the grooved pipe system still proves advantageous in critical fluid handling applications. Grooved piping systems can be installed on a variety of piping applications, including alcohol; caustic; chilled, cooling, potable, wash and demineralized water; fire protection; glycerin; instrument and plant utility air; oil feed; reverse osmosis; and wastewater treatment.

Pictured below is Peter with Baker Plumbing using the RIDGID 914, a product no longer made by RIDGID but continues to be useful and effective in completing complex plumbing and heating work.

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The tools that actually make it work

The RIDGID® 915 Roll Groover is a manual roll groover for in-place field applications. The 915 requires only 3 1/2″ of clearance to travel around a pipe and a minimum of 2 3/4″ of exposed pipe for grooving. With the appropriate roll sets, the 915 can groove from 1 1/4″ to 12″ pipe, the widest range in its class! The 915’s cast-in handle allows for easy transport or chaining the groover down to prevent theft. The 915 is a must for service work crews. RIDGID TOOLS


Watch the Baker Boys in action

While a little raw the young apprentices did get the job done and the systems back online. If you’re looking for plumbing and heating services in Calgary then contact us today!!!

BAKER IN ACTION