How to pressure test a heating system with your own hands

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Alesia Markova
Last update: January 2020

Many residential buildings are equipped with a water heating system. In practice, both after construction and during the subsequent operation of municipal housing, pressure testing of heating systems is always done.

This is usually done by professional structures - Housing and communal services and similar organizations. Is it possible to crimp a heating system with your own hands, for example, for the owner of a private house?

We will help you sort this out. The article describes in detail the complex of work that allows to identify the “weaknesses” of the heating network. It also provides practical recommendations for testing and crimping the system in different ways.

Tasks of crimping heating in a house

Regardless of the scheme heating system organization (centralized or decentralized), the requirements of SNiP provide for the technical preparation of such systems for commissioning.

This includes a whole list of work performed at the stage before putting the heating equipment into operation, as well as work that must be performed already at the maintenance stage.

One of the main requirements for commissioning and servicing the water heating circuit used in a private or municipal house is crimping. According to the rules and requirements for units of sanitary systems, all elements of heating system circuits are subject to a strength test.

In addition to pre-launch tests, hydraulic or pneumatic checks are traditionally performed:

  • before each new heating season in order to identify depressurization sites and weakened areas;
  • after repair operations and replacement of equipment, fittings, gaskets, etc. elements.

In addition to the main task, which consists in determining the areas and points that can pass the coolant, pressure testing helps to free the circuit from insoluble particles clogging the pipeline.

When do-it-yourself pressure testing of the heating system
Upon completion of installation, the heating system is checked twice by crimping. The first time is performed to detect depressurization of compounds and other defects. The second time they are crimped in order to make sure that the circuit is fully functional

Crimping is quite capable of being done by the homeowner with his own hands. The process of pressure testing of water or air does not provide for any complex actions, as well as there is no need to purchase expensive technological tools and equipment.

To check the tightness of the system by hydrostatic method, you will need:

  • fill the circuit with coolant (water) with a temperature of 5-50 ° C;
  • connect a water pump to the system - electric or manual;
  • install measuring devices in the heating circuit - pressure gauges with upper boundary pressure twice as high as the working pressure.

Pressure testing of the heating circuit without water is also used - pneumatic checking of the system with air pressure (manometric method).

This option has its own characteristics and is often used to test individual components of the heating circuit, such as radiators, heating panels, heat exchangers, etc.

How to crimp a heating system with your own hands
Hydraulic test pump - manual construction. Such a tool can be considered the most optimal for use in the household when the time comes to pressure test the heating system

How to check for leaks

The initial stage is filling the heating circuit with water, the temperature of which is not lower than 5 ° С. Next, the crimping process begins - system pressure raise to test value (Pslave × 1,5).

Given that the decentralized system of a private house is being checked, the value of the working pressure here, as a rule, is not more than 0.1-0.2 MPa. This coolant pressure is provided by most modern heating boilers equipped with circulation pumps.

However, for circuits with a centralized connection, the parameters are higher - up to 1.5 MPa.

Based on the value of the operating pressure of the decentralized circuit, set the value of the test pressure of 0.2-0.3 MPa. To increase the pressure in the heating circuit to such values, a crimping pump will help.

It is possible to use a small electric apparatus in power, but in a private household it is more advisable to use a hand pump.

The choice of such devices is extensive. For instance, crimping series pumps HA, RP, TR - inexpensive simple and convenient designs equipped with a control pressure gauge. Their cost in the market is from 4000 to 9000 rubles.

Do-it-yourself electric pump for pressure testing of heating
One of the designs of the electric pump for crimping. This compact, convenient product, designed to create a test pressure of up to 50 Atm at a feed rate of liquid medium up to 7 liters per minute. Can also pump technical oil

Electric pumps for pressure testing of heating systems, assembled with your own hands, it is irrational to use because of their high cost. These devices, as a rule, are designed for high working pressures, which is also not necessary when the decentralized system of a private house is checked.

The only benefit to the homeowner is that you don’t need to make unnecessary physical effort. Therefore, for those who wish to choose pumps type MGF, RP, "Saturn" other. Price range 17000 - 65000 rub.

The priority of choosing a hand pump should be justified by its design features. This type of equipment provides a smooth build-up of pressure, which is important both in terms of safety for the tester and in terms of protecting the heating system from water hammer.

In small systems with heating boilers water hammer may damage some items. Therefore manual crimping the pump is optimal for do-it-yourself small heat networks tests.

Tests for heating system piping
The heating system pipeline is tested with a pressure exceeding the operating parameters by 0.1 MPa. The minimum pressure indicators should be at least 0.3 MPa. If within 5 minutes the pressure drop does not exceed 0.02 MPa, the system is considered efficient and not in need of repair

The subtleties of the test process

Filling the system with water and subsequent pressure testing are permissible subject to the positive temperature inside the premises. Heating boilers and expansion tanks are disconnected from the system during the test.

For control, two pressure gauges installed at different points are required. During the pressure test of the heating system, it is not allowed to try to eliminate defects, twist valve stems, tapping joints.

DIY crimping equipment
Using manometers, the pressure created in the circuit is monitored to check the density of the joints and the reliability of all elements. The test process requires the inclusion of at least two control devices in the circuit

Effective pressure must be taken into account during the pressure boosting process. removing air from the system. Special devices installed at different points in the pipelines help to achieve this - air vents.

If the heating circuit is not equipped air vent, you should increase the pressure to the working one and then open for a short time any valve located in the heating circuit at a level higher than others.

After removal of air, pressure build-up continues to a test value (not less than 0.2 MPa). For small decentralized heating systems of private households, the test pressure is usually 0.2-0.3 MPa.

The fluid in the system under such pressure must be able to withstand the set time. The minimum exposure time is 5 minutes. If during this period there is no drop in pressure of more than 0.01-0.02 MPa, in general, self-pressure testing of the heating system can be considered successful.

The nuances of doing crimping with your own hands
After crimping the heating circuit with test pressure, its level is reduced to the working one and a visual inspection of all available circuit elements is carried out

Other important test points

Similar to the process described above, the heating is tested with a centralized circuit. True, the pressure calculation should be carried out taking into account the operating parameters of just such a system.After pressure testing, a pressure relief in the heating system to the operating level is performed and all available areas are carefully checked.

In this state, the heating circuit is examined visually for possible leaks:

  • pipelines and fittings are checked;
  • places of installation of measuring instruments;
  • flange connections of circulation pumps;
  • glands of faucets of a heating boiler;
  • shutoff valves of a broad tank, etc.

A hydraulic test, according to which no leaks were found in the weld zone, destruction or deformation of pipelines and equipment elements, density violations in threaded joints, leaks in heating devices and fittings, is considered passed.

Valves that have passed the hydrostatic integrity and density test are considered to be valves (valves, gates, valves) if, after twisting the valve rod twice, no traces of water are observed in the gland group.

Pneumatic crimping method

Leak testing of a home heating network can be carried out pneumatically. It is noteworthy that the manometric technique allows testing of networks and equipment at low temperatures.

Typically, this test method is used to check individual heat equipment for density. So, under pressure, radiators, boiler heat exchangers, and expansion tanks are checked for leaks.

DIY crimping equipment
Pressure testing by a manometric method is allowed to be carried out with negative readings of the thermometer. Tests are carried out in two stages. First, the strength of the system is tested with an excess pressure of 0.15 MPa. After eliminating the defects, if they were detected by ear, the system is again filled with medium with a pressure of 0.10 MPa to check

The air pressure test is carried out by analogy with the hydraulic crimping technique. An air compressor or a conventional automobile air pump is used as a source of the working medium.

They do not operate with high pressures. To check the density with a manometric method, a small pressure is sufficient (0.1 -0.15 MPa).

If leaks caused by installation defects are detected under an air pressure of 0.15 MPa, the pressure is relieved, the deficiencies are eliminated. Then the process repeats - the heating system is filled with air at a pressure of 0.1 MPa and remains in such conditions for at least 5 minutes in time.

The control of pressure testing in this case allows a pressure drop of not more than 0.01 MPa for a specified period of time. With this result, the system is considered intact and ready for operation.

Often there are cases of the introduction of specific equipment in the heating system of a private household. Also, it is not always possible to check the equipment by the hydrostatic method when high pressures are required for crimping.

For example, SNiP and GOST provide for testing cast iron or steel radiators with a water pressure of at least 0.9 MPa (9 ATI) However, to perform the same tests with a manometric method (pneumatic), a pressure of 0.1 MPa is sufficient (1 ATI).

Pump option for do-it-yourself pressure testing of the heating system
Filling the heating system with air for pressure testing. A conventional air pump is used to inflate the tires of a car

Convector modules require pressure testing with water under a pressure of at least 1.5 MPa (15 kg / cm2) At the same time, if you resort to tests of a pneumatic nature, the convector module is pressurized in order to confirm its quality guarantees with air at a pressure of 0.15 MPa.

The test procedure for such devices is as follows:

  • filling devices with air at a specified pressure;
  • immersion of devices in a container of water;
  • leak test within 5 minutes.

Some technological elements of the heating circuit have a design that can be checked for integrity precisely by the pneumatic method. You can learn about this from the recommendations for servicing the device.

Typically, instructions for crimping methods are given in the operating instructions that come with any thermal equipment.

It must be emphasized: the pneumatic (gauge) method is good specifically for density tests. However, the strength of the heating system, including one made by oneself, is recommended to be checked hydraulically. Also, a hydrostatic crimping technique is preferred for panel heating systems.

Water panel heating
Installation of heating pipelines according to the principle of panel systems assumes that the pipeline is monolithic in the panel of walls or ceilings. High-quality crimping is required here to ensure future reliability.

Checking steam and panel heating systems

Hydrostatic testing of panel heating systems is carried out at the installation stage, subject to full access to components and devices through mounting windows. Conditions for crimping, including with your own hands, imply a rise in pressure inside the system to a level of 1 MPa.

The test is carried out for at least 15 minutes. During this period of time there should not be a decrease in pressure of more than 0.01 MPa.

If the heating circuit is built taking into account the combination of heating panels with other heating devices, the value of the test pressure is set equal to the parameters of other heating devices.

Pressure testing of heating panel systems with a manometric method is performed under an air pressure of 0.1 MPa. The exposure time is 5 minutes. Permissible pressure drop is not more than 0.01 MPa.

Individual test conditions apply to piping and equipment for steam systems. If steam heating is designed for an operating pressure of 0.07 MPa, the value of the test pressure hydraulically will be 0.25 MPa.

At operating pressures greater than 0.07 MPa, pressure testing is carried out under a pressure of P slave + 0.1 MPa, but not less than 0.3 MPa. The exposure time for steam systems is 5 minutes. The permissible pressure difference in minus is not more than 0.02 MPa. After testing, the circuit is additionally checked under operating steam pressure.

How to find coolant micro leaks
If during pressure testing using the manometric method it is difficult to determine the leakage of the medium from the heating system by ear, you can soap the connection nodes and the places of probable weakening of the pipeline

Thermal test of heating systems

In addition to hydraulic and pneumatic tests of heating systems in the residential sector, a thermal test is also provided. The essence of this procedure is to check the uniform distribution of the coolant, test the heating and thermal return of each individual heating device.

The process is carried out in conditions of positive ambient temperatures. The temperature of the coolant is not lower than 60 ° C.

If a thermal test is possible only in the cold season (for example, due to the lack of coolant), this is performed immediately after the system starts up in the operating mode. Test at water temperature, which should correspond to the temperature schedule of heating, but not lower than 50ºС.

The coolant pressure must correspond to the working one. The thermal test takes at least 7 hours to complete. During this period of time, the uniformity of heating of all available heating devices is periodically checked.

How to pressure test heating with hidden installation
Before filling the chambers selected for the heating device with a solution, in addition to hydraulic or pneumatic crimping, thermal tests are mandatory

Criminal Act

When a test of the strength of the heating system is carried out by professional organizations in residential buildings with a centralized scheme, an act of completion is compiled.This document describes the test conditions and gives an opinion on the quality of the heating network and equipment.

However, the act of crimping is needed by the person responsible for the operation of centralized heating systems.

For a private household with decentralized heating, the more so do it yourself, the owner of the house is the default person. Naturally, when carrying out work aimed at checking the integrity and reliability of home heating, the owner is unlikely to write an act of the tests to himself.

Why do pressure testing of heating systems with your own hands?
Based on the results of the pressure testing conducted by the municipal services and housing associations, an act is drawn up. The owner of a private house will also not hurt to record the pressure gauges during the performance test system

It will not be superfluous to save for the future the conditions and parameters under which pressure testing was carried out:

  • test pressure values;
  • exposure time;
  • fluid temperature;
  • the difference in pressure of the beginning and end of the holding period.

These data are useful for comparing with the indicators of the next check. The figures can to some extent judge the general condition of the heating system. It is advisable to record and store information in a specially designed home journal for these purposes. Or choose a more modern option - an electronic magazine.

Despite the relatively small values ​​of the operating parameters of the decentralized heating system of a private home, it is recommended that crimping be carried out according to all the laws of testing such systems. Such an approach will provide protection against unexpected outbursts and allow timely identification of potential defects.

Detailed information about crimping metal-plastic pipelines is described in this article.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

A clip about testing a heating system using a pneumatic test method:

The process of conducting hydraulic pressure testing of heating in a municipal house:

Periodic maintenance helps keep the heating system in good condition. And the reliability of the equipment is a guarantee of stable heating of housing in the cold season.

Do you have practical skills in crimping the heating system? Share your knowledge with our readers and ask questions about the topic in the comments below.

Was the article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!
No (13)
Thanks for your feedback!
Yes (83)
Visitors Comments
  1. Yulia

    The husband did the pressure test of the heating system with his own hands, because the master whom we called could not conduct it properly. Pressure in the boiler constantly dropped, the master said, “look for leaks in yourself,” instead of just changing the gasket in the place where the depressurization was. The husband himself identified the problem, replaced several elements (gaskets), and cleaned the pipes. Now the unit works perfectly, and the heat transfer has become good.

  2. Vadim

    I have all the heating pipes laid in the walls, in a curtain, polypropylene. Therefore, crimping - this was a mandatory process before wiring. Plus, there is a warm floor in four rooms, it must also be filled with test pressure before pouring. You understand, this is a responsible matter.

    True, I did not buy an automatic pump, this is an extra waste of money, it was very costly manual.And then, he rented it, bought only a pressure gauge, and it’s inexpensive.

  3. Maxim

    I did not quite understand why only 0.15 MPa is enough for testing. 0.1 MPa is 1 Bar, and they always told me that I need to test at 5 Bar. Is it out of date?

    • Expert
      Alexey Dedyulin

      Hello, Maxim. For a private house, to check the tightness of the system, it is enough to 1.5 times exceed the maximum working pressure. At the same time, it should not be lower than the minimum limit of 0.2 MPa (2 kgf / cm). This requirement is stipulated in SP 73.13330.2016, clause 7.3. Measurements are best done at the lowest point of the system, i.e. where the pressure is greatest.

      If we talk about the manometric method of verification, then in this case the pressure of the injected air should not be higher than 0.15 MPa. If at the same time you hear a characteristic “whistle”, then you need to increase the pressure by another 0.1 MPa and wait 5 minutes. The circuit can be recognized as having passed the test, if after that the pressure does not drop by more than 0.01 MPa.

      To check steam heating, for example, with the hydrostatic method, the pressure can reach 0.25 MPa, but no more.

      The requirements are relevant for all types of systems, regardless of the type of pipe from which the pipelines are made. The indicator of 5 MPa does not appear in any standards.