With so many pipe supports out there, the value of bolt clamps can get lost in the shuffle. But if you want to add support to your pipes, improve pipe performance, and fight off corrosion, these simple clamps may be just what you need.
What Are Bolt Clamps?
Bolt clamps come in all shapes and sizes, but their design is fairly straightforward. These pipe supports usually include two rounded pieces that fit around a pipe. They’re connected with—you guessed it—bolts.
Generally, you’ll want to attach one portion of your clamp to a support beam or anchor point. After nestling your pipe into the open, fixed half of the clamp, you’ll then clasp the second, curved piece around the pipe’s outer edge. By tightening the bolts, you can harness the full diameter of the pipe—securing it to your anchored piece.
Wondering how to use bolt clamps in your system? Here are four instances in which they come in handy.
1. When You Need to Control Pipe Movement
Essentially, bolt clamps can control the movement of your pipes. They keep pipes from swinging into surrounding piping or other objects. They also stop pipes from vibrating, bouncing, and scraping against other surfaces.
Even when pipes appear to be relatively calm, they could be moving. Because they have liquids rushing through them, pipes are vulnerable to thermal expansion. This heat transfer can cause pipes to slide, rub against surroundings, and wear down. With bolt clamps, you can restrain your pipes—protecting them from wear, ruptures, and scratches.
2. When You Want to Secure Hanging Piping
Not all pipe runs can rest easily on a horizontal beam. In cases in which you need to secure hanging pipes, bolt clamps can be a lifesaver.
Because they’re easy to install and adjust, you can pair them with hanger attachments, such as threaded rods. They also support pipes of all different sizes. Here are some examples:
The bottom line? Regardless of the size or unique layout of your piping system, bolt clamps are simple products that keep your hanging pipes from hitting surrounding objects or collapsing.
3. When You Want to Reduce Corrosion
Any time your pipes rub against hard surfaces, there’s a risk of pipe corrosion. When pipes scrape against beams or other objects, their outer surface can tear and split open. In some cases, even tiny surface openings can expose iron to corrosive elements.
At the same time, pipes that lay on bare beams or other metal could risk being hit by galvanic corrosion. When dissimilar metals come into contact in the right circumstances, they can jump-start an electrochemical reaction that destroys metal.
Well-designed bolt clamps will protect pipes from all types of corrosion. They can lift pipes off corrosive surfaces, dampen vibrations, reduce friction, and stand as a buffer between pipes and destructive metals.
4. When You Need to Avoid Welding
Rather than using bolt clamps, you could anchor a pipe to a point by either welding the pipe or using more permanent, non-adjustable, or closed pipe supports. However, supports that you cannot adjust have some distinct disadvantages:
- They’re susceptible to corrosion under insulation
- If they’re welded, they generally require additional inspections and maintenance
- They’re difficult to expand or change if you need to adjust pipe runs
Alternatively, bolt clamps can be much easier to work with than permanent or fixed supports. Because they’re adjustable, you can make tweaks after you install them. For instance, if your pipes are sagging, you can tighten or loosen your supports to improve suspension. At the same time, if you need to clean under insulation or replace your supports, you won’t need to swap out full sections of your pipe to do it.
Learn How to Pick the Perfect Pipe Restraint for Your System
Bolt clamps are simple and versatile products, and they can help you enhance your piping system’s performance. But when it comes to restraining pipes, they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
Want to learn how pipe restraints of all kinds can lengthen the lifespan of your piping system? Read our Complete Guide to Pipe Supports.