If you’re dealing with metal bellows expansion joints failures, you’re certainly not alone. Metal expansion joint failures are surprisingly common and have a number of causes, but one of the most common involves improper installation. Fortunately, understanding what leads to these failures can help you prevent them in the future. Here are just a few potential situations that can lead to improper installation of metal expansion joints.
Improper Timing Of Anchor And Guide Installation
Anchor and guide installation issues may be just one potential cause of standard bellows expansion joint failures, but it’s an incredibly common one. Anchors and guides need to be installed at the same time. Without a properly installed piping anchor, the pressure on the inside of the bellows causes it to extend too far. If you’re experiencing a similar issue, remove the expansion joint as soon as possible.
Similarly, an expansion joint needs to fit in the spot provided by the contractor; it should never be squeezed or stretched in order to sit properly. If so, it will negatively alter the stylistic capabilities of the joint itself and may also cause early failure from fatigue. Always contact the manufacturer if you receive an expansion joint that doesn’t quite fit into place.
Chloride contamination is a surprisingly common cause of expansion joint failure, but it has an easy fix. Many times, a piping system is flushed with water that contains chlorides. When this happens, it’s critical to immediately flush the system with clean water afterward. Otherwise, chloride particles may have the chance to settle on the the bottom of the bellows, which makes the entire piping system susceptible to damage from corrosion and corrugation.
Another common cause of expansion joint failures is improper handling. Bellows can be very fragile and can easily be damaged from dents and gouges. Hard objects such as tools can also damage custom bellows. If these parts aren’t handled with great care, they can easily become permanently damaged and prone to failure.
Today, there are two main types of bellows: two-chambered forge bellows and double-acting piston bellows. But whichever type of bellows you’re working with, understanding the installation-related causes of metal expansion joint failures can help you take the right preventative measures to keep your piping systems operating at optimal performance levels. For more information about bellows and exhaust flex joints, contact Triad Bellows.