"soft copper" for gas line

Old 01-17-01, 05:02 PM
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The guy who I want to hire to run a gas line from the main line coming into my furnace and water heater to a ventless fireplace has suggested the use of soft copper instead of black pipe. He says it is just as safe, and will be much easier thus cheaper (labor) to install. He stated as long as I was not having it inspected that I was fine. Outside the city he said people use it all the time for natural gas, but the city would want the black pipe. I am not sure what to do, I would love to save some money, but I wan't a safe home. Any thoughts? Thanks
Old 01-17-01, 05:38 PM
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I question anyone who wants to do something that won't pass an inspection. I am not familiar with soft copper as a gas line, but I have never seen it done, but doesn't mean its not, but the fact he says "as I was not having it inspected that I was fine" now that worries me. I am all for DIY but I also beleive rather it is inspected or not , do everything as if it was to be, and do nothing that would not pass an inspection if one was done.

If you do something that would not pass an inspection or does not meat code, and GOD FORBID there was ever a problem, fire , your house insurance may not cover the incident, if something that caused it , did not pass an inspection.

Gas lines is one of few things that generally won't touch,
I leave that with the professionals that have the experience, I'll fix the gas stove or furance but I won't touch the main gas line feed.

I am all for saving money, no-one can afford to waste it these days, but safety comes first.
Old 01-17-01, 05:50 PM
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Thumbs down No Copper


You said you want a safe home? Then the choice is already decided. Only have steel installed.

There isn't any place in this country where copper is legal when used for natural gas indoors. Outdoors, only when installed in gas lights up the center support tube and patio portable radiant umbrella designed heaters.

The reason copper isn't legal, is all natural gas contains some small amounts of sulfur. Amounts vary widely from parts of the country to different times of the year and suppliers.

Sulfur deteriorates copper. Since the gas is inside the tube, it deteriorates it from inside outwards. Leakage then occurs.

In the long term, installing pipe is the only choice for safety and to meet all the codes. Homeowners insurance may require it too.

Note: There is only one type of copper safe for use with natural gas. It's copper that is internally coated with tin. Often used in motor and mobile homes. Much too expensive and impractical for use as intended here.

[Edited by Tom_Bartco on 01-17-01 at 09:21]
Old 01-18-01, 02:45 PM
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gas lines

Although I'm sure that both of the previous replies are meant to be well informed, copper is code accepted for interior gas line use. At least this is the case in MN. That being said, the installation should still be inspected.

Old 01-18-01, 03:29 PM
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I personally would use nothing but steel for a gas line. I personally never play with gas lines , it is one of the few things I let the perfessionals do, I will touch almost everything else. But rather it is code or not ; as soon as the proposed installer says "He stated as long as I was not having it inspected that I was fine." , this to me puts up RED flags all over the place.
Old 01-19-01, 10:03 AM
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I echo the others comments about copper, inspection and the codes involved.....

I would suggest you research this independently and anonymously in your area as codes differ across the country..

I would resist the temptation to hire someone who would install materials not approved for service in your area and recommend that you not pull a permit and get the job inspected...

I you choose to assume the risk yourself and do your own installation.....well, you're the homeowner and it's a free country.....

Any contractor who gives advice like yours does is likely not licensed nor carries workmans comp and liability insurance to cover your ##s if he damages himself or you while on the premises.

No, I am not a contractor but I do see their side of it...

Having said all of that, an interesting sidebar....My LP tank owner just installed a new tank and high pressure regulator and guess what he used to connect the two...a piece of copper tubing looped so that if the tank fell over (earthquake country) the line would pinch off and slow the leakage of LP....at least that was his explanation...*G*

As Tom noted, the sulfur in natural gas will attack natural copper (I used to work in the petroleum fields) but copper is fine for LP use......there is a plated copper that is used for natural gas and, used with the proper connections, is as sound as iron pipe in a non-stressed installation. It does require nail stops if being used in or adjacent to stud walls as a nail, staple or screw will pierce it much easier than iron pipe...

Additionally, as you have other appliances on this pipe, be sure to test system pressure prior to installing the new service to determine if the piping size is adequate....fireplaces tend to be left on for long periods of time and it could affect the operation of your other appliances if the piping isn't adequate. Remember, too, the effect of this appliance on room ventilation and air quality...

Lots of fun stuff! *G*

That's my .02 from a fellow homeowner and DIYer...YMMV

Good luck and enjoy the fire!
Old 01-19-01, 09:10 PM
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Hi all,

Copper used indoors in the normal up here in the great white north!!

At one time, the gas company only was allowed to use it. In the last 10 years or so, we all can :-)

No problem with sulpher and such :-) The only one I ever saw rot away was installed against a wet/damp stone wall.

Called tubing in our gas code book, VRS piping which is the black pipe.




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