What is hot tapping?
Traditionally when a new branch connection is required on an existing pipe system (e.g. a new heat pump is to be installed on an existing heat pump loop) the main circulating pump has to be shut off and then the entire pipe circuit is drained before carrying out the work.
Hot tapping allows the new branch connection to be made without interrupting the flow or needing to drain the system. The main circulating pump is left on and there is zero shut down whilst carrying out the work.
How does it work?
A welded fitting or a saddle with a threaded connection is attached to the main pipe. A new branch line isolation valve is then attached to this fitting and NPF technicians attach a hot tap machine to the new valve. The whole assembly is now pressure tested to ensure its integrity prior to drilling the main pipe. The main pipe is then drilled by advancing the hot tap tool through the new valve assembly. Once the drilling is complete, the tool is retracted and the isolation valve is closed. The tool is then disconnected leaving behind a new branch connection.
Is this a safe procedure?
Yes. Hot tapping is an industry standard procedure used around the world since the 1950’s. It is a safe and proven process for making new branch connections to live pipes without interruption of service and with no loss of liquid. NPF technicians are trained in safe hot tapping procedures and adhere to strict method statements when performing this procedure. A field level risk assessment is carried out prior to the commencement of each job.