Hot Tapping: A Complete Guide to Hot Tapping

When you are running a business, having repairs of maintenance work completed on your pipelines can be incredibly inconvenient. Having to cease work for long periods of time can be extremely costly to your business and isn’t ideal. Thankfully, there is now a solution to this, hot tapping. 

Although hot tapping is widely known within the industry and has been carried out for many years, it isn’t uncommon for the general public to have never heard of it. To help you get to grips with this procedure and decide whether it is an option that could work for your business Murdock Heating have put together a complete guide for you to read. 

What is Hot Tapping?

Hot tapping, sometimes referred to as pressure tapping, is the process where specialist heating engineers can install new pipes, fittings and fixtures all while the pipeline continues to operate as normal. Hot tapping machines and this method can be used on, but isn’t limited to, chilled water, cold mains, hot mains, heating systems, water diversion and gas diversion. 

When is Hot Tapping used?

This method is used by lots of different businesses such as food production, hospitals, factories, hotels and many more. It is usually turned to when it is essential for a pipe or tank to continue to be in operation whilst maintenance or modifications are being done to it. Hot tapping shouldn’t be considered as a routine procedure, it is only really recommended when there is no other practical alternative. 

Are there any requirements for Hot Tapping?

The nature of the procedure, which includes undertaking work whilst a pipeline is still live, means that there are strict rules around when and how hot tapping can be carried out. It is one of the most dangerous applications in pipeline intervention and there are lots of industry standards every hot tapping engineer must abide to. 

To put it simply, there aren’t any requirements as such, but hot tapping must only be carried out by competent and qualified specialist heating engineers and in a controlled environment. Hot tapping machines can be used with pipes and pipelines made of materials ranging from carbon steel to PVC, so this procedure will work for the majority of businesses. 

When should it be avoided?

Hot tapping is not recommended under a few different conditions, including piping containing a combustible or flammable mixture, piping containing chemicals that are likely to decompose or become hazardous from the heat of welding, piping containing caustic and also piping that contains pure oxygen or chlorine.

Before the procedure is undertaken the hot tapping location is thoroughly inspected and all relevant risk assessments will be completed to ensure that it is safe to complete hot tapping. An experienced registered gas engineer will be able to advise you further in this regard. 

How does Hot Tapping work?

The hot tapping procedure is one continuous process and for this delicate operation, extra care and attention are required. There are a few different ways that this procedure can be completed and you will find that different companies will go about the job in various ways. 

A typical hot tap installation consists of a tapping saddle, ball or gate valve, and hot tapping machine. The installation is pressure tested, the valve is opened, and the cutter and pilot drill advanced. When the cut is complete, the cutter and pilot drill is retracted, the valve is closed and the hot tap machine removed.

Booking hot tapping services 

If you are interested in hot tapping for your business and would like to arrange it then it is important to remember that this method and procedure must only be carried out by competent and qualified specialist heating engineers. Your local gas engineer may not be able to complete this for you, so always do your research. 

Murdock Heating has been providing the hot tapping procedure for many years now and their experienced team will be able to assist you in this regard. You can trust that when you choose their heating engineers the work will be completed to the highest possible standard. To find out more and to arrange a survey please call 01923 850609 today.