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how to fix a leaking steam jacket?

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  • how to fix a leaking steam jacket?

    So I just bought a 15 barrel kettle, one of the three steam jacket is leaking.
    is it as easy as hiring a stainless welder and having them patch the seem or did I buy a major problem?

  • #2
    It depends. A lot of older tanks had problems with stress corrosion cracking (do a search). If that turns out to be the problem, you won't be able to fix it cheaply.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

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    • #3
      Another factor in a cracked/leaking jacket is flexing. If the leak is at a weld this is a possible problem, and may be a nightmare to fix.

      Is the jacket supported in the field? That is, are there dimple welds (a checkered pattern of welds), spiral welds, etc? If not, the unsupported center of the jacket is probably flexing every time the pressure changes, stressing the welds and causing cracks. I haven't seen this on a steam jacket, but I have seen it on two ferms. The solution is to replace the jacket with one that is supported. Not cheap, not easy.

      Depending on your state regs, welding a pressurized steam jacket probably requires a steam/pressure certified welder. Finding one who's also a sanitary stainless welder may be a problem. You may also be required to have the jacket tested after repair.
      Timm Turrentine

      Brewerywright,
      Terminal Gravity Brewing,
      Enterprise. Oregon.

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      • #4
        The steam jacket shouldn't be considered a pressure vessel like a boiler. Also doesn't need to be a sanitary weld. The other posts were spot on about poor design causing flexing and more weld cracks, however you should have it welded and see how long it lasts. I worked at a refinery and steam leaks were very common and never a priority to fix. Meaning not a huge problem, except for the wasted energy.


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
        Jason
        Scholb Premium Ales

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        • #5
          Good point, Jason.

          As for the need to have a sanitary weld, you're correct in that this is hot side, so not a great problem, but having badly "sugared" (decarburized) welds on the inside of the kettle will not make it any easier to clean. They will also rust, and be difficult to impossible to passivate. A person experienced in sanitary SS welding will not have this problem, but most other welders are not aware of, or don't particularly care about, such problems.
          Timm Turrentine

          Brewerywright,
          Terminal Gravity Brewing,
          Enterprise. Oregon.

          Comment

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