Metraloop Solves Pipe-Guiding Dilemma for Hotel
Too expensive to retrofit pipe guides
First there was a leak. And then, upon closer inspection, there was a bigger problem. The leak brought to light the fact that the 4-pipe riser system at the 10-year-old, 40-story Chicago hotel had completely failed.
“Every pipe had bent,” explained Tim Hesterman of Imbert Corporation, a manufacturers rep firm in Chicago. “The contractors had installed two expansion joints in each of four risers, locating them at approximately the 12th and 28th floors. However, due to the location of the risers, and their proximity to each other, proper guiding was virtually impossible. As a result, every riser pipe had bent at the 6th floor.”
The 40-story risers were comprised of 1″ to 2-1/2″ copper pipe. After ten years, the thrust loads resulting from the repetition of thermal expansion finally took their toll. The non-guided pipes bent and began to leak approximately half way between the ground floor and the first expansion joint.
Retrofitting pipe guides in the hotel was not an option. It was too costly. The hotel went to Imbert for a solution. “Looking at the situation, and the tremendous cost of time, materials and labor to install pipe guides, we instead recommended the Metraloop® expansion joint,” Hesterman explained. “Since the Metraloop required no guiding, and exerted no pressure thrust loads, it was the perfect solution.”
The Metraloop expansion loop has none of the pressure thrust loads of conventional bellows-type joints and negligible spring rates. It needs minimal anchoring, thrust blocks or structural steel. In this application, it could be placed right where the problem occurred, offering the most economical and efficient solution. Compared to the costs of adding guides and anchors needed with conventional bellows type joints, it significantly reduced the project’s overall bottom line.
“The damaged parts were replaced and Metraloops installed right at that level,” explained Hesterman. “Guides were not added anywhere else in the riser.”
In a business that operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, where customers — hotel guests — expect nothing less than the best, all were pleased with the results of the Metraloop installation. “There have been no problems in the nine months since we installed them,” added Hesterman.
“That makes us very happy.”