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October 17, 2009

Understanding ANSI/ASME Pipe Marking Standards

Shop for pipe labelsThe ASME A13.1 standard spells out a system to identify hazardous materials conveyed in piping systems. It's intended for use in industrial and power plants, and is also recommended for use in commercial and institutional buildings and those used for public assembly. Pipe labels can be invaluable in an emergency situation, and will also help you comply with A13.1 standards.

Label Content
Pipe marking labels must effectively communicate the contents of pipes and give additional detail of any special hazards, such as extreme temperatures or pressures. Pipe labels should indicate both the contents of the pipe and its direction of flow. Arrows at one or both ends indicate flow; the contents are indicated by text and by a standard color scheme. If flow can be in both directions, arrows in both directions shall be displayed.

Label Color
The current version of the ANSI / ASME code uses a color scheme with six standard color combinations and four user-defined combinations, based on the contents of the pipe. In general, the most hazardous feature of the contents should determine the color used. ANSI Z535.1 specifies exact safety colors for pipe labels.
Previous editions of the pipe-labeling code used a four-color scheme. The 2007 code applies only to new facilities; new labels in existing facilities should conform to the label scheme already in use to avoid confusion.

Label Placement
Labels should be positioned on pipes so they can be easily read. Labels are required at the following locations:
  • Near valves and flanges
  • Where direction changes
  • On both sides of walls or floors the pipe passes through
  • At regular intervals on straight runs, spaced for easy identification
ANSI Pipe Marking Colors

Note: This chart is presented for reference use only. For complete specifications, consult the ASME A13.1-2007 Standard.

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