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B.

663

PRESSURE AND LEAK TESTING

TABLE B14.1 Test and Examination Pressures

Code

Test type

Test pressure
minimum

Test pressure
maximum

Test pressure
hold time

Examination
pressure

ASME B31.1

Hydrostatic1

1.5 times design

Max allowable test


pressure any component or 90 percent
of yield

10 minutes

Design
pressure

ASME B31.1

Pneumatic

1.2 times design

1.5 times design or


max allowable test
pressure any component

10 minutes

Lower of 100
psig or
design
pressure

ASME B31.1

Initial
service

Normal operating
pressure

Normal operating
pressure

10 minutes or
time to complete leak examination

Normal operating
pressure

ASME B31.3

Hydrostatic

1.5 times
design2

Not to exceed yield


stress

Time to complete leak examination


but at least
10 minutes

1.5 times
design

ASME B31.3

Pneumatic

1.1 times design

1.1 times design plus


the lesser of 50 psi
or 10 percent of test
pressure

10 minutes

Design
pressure

ASME B31.3

Initial
service3

Design pressure

Design pressure

Time to complete leak examination

Design
pressure

ASME I

Hydrostatic

1.5 times max


allowable
working
pressure4

Not to exceed 90 percent yield stress

Not specied,
typically 1 hr

Max allowable working


pressure4

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection NB

Hydrostatic

1.25 times system design


pressure5

Not to exceed stress


limits of design section NB-3226 or
maximum test pressure of any system
component5

10 minutes

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection NB

Pneumatic

1.2 times system


design
pressure6

Not to exceed stress


limits of design section NB-3226 or
maximum test pressure of any system
component

10 minutes

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

B.664

GENERIC DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

TABLE B14.1 Test and Examination Pressures (Continued )


Test pressure
minimum

Test pressure
maximum

Test pressure
hold time

Examination
pressure

Hydrostatic

1.5 times system


design
pressure

If minimum test pressure exceeded by 6


percent establish
limit by the lower of
analysis of all test
loadings or maximum test pressure
of any component

10 minutes or
15 minutes
per inch of
design minimum wall
thickness for
pumps and
valves

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection NC

Pneumatic

1.25 times system design


pressure

If minimum test pressure exceeded by 6


percent establish
limit by the lower of
analysis of all test
loadings or maximum test pressure
of any component

10 minutes

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection ND

Hydrostatic

1.5 times system


design pressure for completed components, 1.25
times system
design pressure for piping systems

If minimum test pressure exceeded by 6


percent establish
limit by the lower of
analysis of all test
loadings or maximum test pressure
of any component

10 minutes

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection ND

Pneumatic

1.25 times system design


pressure

If minimum test pressure exceeded by 6


percent establish
limit by the lower of
analysis of all test
loadings or maximum test pressure
of any component

10 minutes

Greater of
design pressure or .75
times test
pressure

Code

Test type

ASME III
Division 1
Subsection NC

Notes:
1. Boiler external piping must be hydrostatic tested in accordance with PG-99 of ASME Code Section I.
2. ASME B31.3 hydrostatic pressure must be raised above 1.5 times design pressure in proportion to yield
strength at test temperature divided by strength at design temperature but not to exceed yield strength at test
temperature. Where a vessel is involved whose design pressure is less than the piping and where vessel cannot be
isolated, the piping and vessel can be tested together at vessel test pressure provided vessel test pressure is not
less than 77 percent of piping test pressure.
3. ASME B31.3 initial service testing permitted only for piping in category D service.
4. ASME Code Section I hydrostatic test pressure at temperature of at least 70F (21C) and examination
pressure at temperature less than 120F (49C). For a forced-ow steam generator with pressure parts designed
for different pressure levels, the test pressure should be at least 1.5 times the maximum allowable working pressure
at the superheater outlet but not less than 1.25 times the maximum allowable working pressure of any part of
the boiler.
5. ASME Code Section III, Division 1, subsection NB, test pressure limits dened in section NB3226; also
components containing brazed joints and valves to be tested at 1.5 times system-design pressure prior to installation.
6. ASME Code Section III, Division 1, subsection NB, pneumatic test pressure for components partially lled
with water shall not be less than 1.25 times system-design pressure.

PRESSURE AND LEAK TESTING

B.665

inspection for leakage. Again the examination pressure depends upon the particular
code and the selected method of testing. Table B14.1 gives test and examination
pressures for some of the ASME B31 and Boiler and Pressure Vessel codes.
The test pressure for each test is calculated by multiplying the code requirements
for the leak-test method by the design pressure of the weakest component or line
within the test boundary. An exception to this occurs when the design rating is
given for a higher temperature than the temperature at which the pressure and
leak test will be conducted. In this case the test pressure must be increased by an
amount reecting the decrease in strength of the material between the test temperature and the operating temperature unless that would exceed code limitations
regarding the maximum test pressure. Another exception occurs in ASME B31.3,
where a vessel cannot be isolated from the system, and the allowable vessel pressure
is less than calculated test pressure for the piping. In such a case it is acceptable
to hydrostatic test the piping at the maximum allowable vesseltest pressure provided the owner approves and the reduced test pressure is at least 77 percent of
the calculated test pressure per ASME B31.3, section 345.4.3.

PRESSURE TESTING PROCEDURES


The eld engineer, responsible for the implementation of the eld test program,
must rst be familiar with the testing provisions of the code or standards that are
part of the contract. This person must assure coordination between the test supervisor, QA/QC, the contractor, and owner. The person responsible for the testing
should begin preparation for the testing phase far enough ahead of piping system
completion so that all the equipment needed to conduct the test is ready to be used
and all preparations are completed before testing is scheduled to begin.
Preparation of Test-Package Documentation
A P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagram) marked with information concerning
the pressure test, the piping isometrics, a valve line-up sheet, a test cover sheet,
and a test data sheet make up the package of test documentation.
The P&ID should be marked with the scope of the leak test, showing boundary
valves and test blind locations to isolate connections of the piping to the parts of
the system which do not need to be pressure tested. If hydrostatic test plugs are
required to seal any pipe or vessel openings, that requirement should be noted.
The valve line-up sheet shown in Fig. B14.5 should be completed, showing the
valve positions required for the test. Also identify any valves which must have the
internals removed or must be blocked in position. Test blinds may be fabricated
in accordance with the data given in Table B14.2. The ASME B31 codes do not
require retesting of a anged joint once the blinds are removed.
Determine the required test pressure by reviewing the P&ID drawings to obtain
the lowest line index and lowest design pressure rating within the boundary of the
test. Two checks are required for proper test pressure.
First, review the design documents and vendor information to ensure that the
test pressure will not overpressurize any equipment or piping component within
the pressure test boundary. In addition, verify that there will be no possibility of
brittle fracture at the test pressure and temperature.
Second, determine the head loss between the lowest part of the piping and the
gauge location. The head loss in psig is equal to the difference in elevation in feet

B.668

GENERIC DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

FIGURE B14.6 Pressure test data sheet.

this checklist. A comparison of the P&ID drawings and the piping isometrics must
be made to determine if there are any discrepancies. Review all valve types, ow
directions, branch tie-ins, and any material changes. Recheck all in-line components
to verify they can withstand the required test pressure.
After the crosscheck is complete conduct a physical inspection of the piping
system using the P&IDs and piping isometrics. Typically systems are inspected for

Completed and torqued anges with no missing bolts or gaskets


All gravity supports installed
Proper pipe routing
Correct valve type and orientation
Vents and drains installed to allow proper lling and draining