Propane plumbing questions


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Old 01-01-06, 09:06 AM
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Propane plumbing questions

I recently changed propane companies. When the installer was installing the new tank, he commented about the 3/8" copper tube used to connect the appliances. He said that was the old way to do it and I should consider installing 1/2" black pipe. I use propane for the hot water heater and the range. I am planning to change out the hot water heater. Is the installer's comment correct? Should I change the supply lines? If so, what is the correct way to connect the propane tank to the 1/2" pipe? Is there some sort of flexible line like there is for the appliance end? The propane tank is located against the back wall of my house and I believe it is 125 gallons (3'around 4'tall) if that matters.

Tony
 
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Old 01-01-06, 10:02 AM
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Not sure if I can actually answer your question. Where I am, all propane tanks are hooked up with copper including commercial buildings. Many people change to black iron pipe after it enters the building. In some States that is code.
I would call the propane company and ask how the tank is connected. I am surprised that you can have that size tank close to your house. Here, the tank has to be 30' from the house for any tanks bigger than the 18" x 48" tall tanks. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-01-06, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by majakdragon
Not sure if I can actually answer your question. Where I am, all propane tanks are hooked up with copper including commercial buildings. Many people change to black iron pipe after it enters the building. In some States that is code.
So 3/8" copper from the tank into the house is ok? How far into the house is code? My plan was to run the black pipe just outside the house and connect it there but the way you describe might be easier anyway.


Originally Posted by majakdragon
I would call the propane company and ask how the tank is connected. I am surprised that you can have that size tank close to your house. Here, the tank has to be 30' from the house for any tanks bigger than the 18" x 48" tall tanks. Good luck.
I can tell you how it is connected; 3/8" copper right off the regulator into the house. I too was surprized the tank was so close to the house, especially in New Jersey where everything is a problem. Most I see are well away from the house. I think this one may be grandfathered. It's probably been in the same spot since the house was built 40 years ago.

Thanks for the quick reply.
Tony
 
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Old 01-01-06, 03:07 PM
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Before I comment on this topic, I want to note, all the spec's I will refer to is based on NFPA 54 and 58. This is a national code, however, AHJ can supersede.

3/8" inch copper tubing is against code. Per NFPA 54, copper tubing can not be concealed inside walls or ceilings. The proper material would be either black iron or CSST. Aside from the code issue, you will not likely be getting the proper BTU's to your appliances.

A standard range and water heater will burn approximately 100,000 BTU's combined. Without knowing the distance of your appliances from the regulator, I can't say exactly how many BTU's your burning.

For the sake of argument, I will base the numbers on a 30 foot run of gas line. 30 feet of 3/8 tubing will deliver 27,000 BTU's. Only a quarter of what you need. Upgrade to 1/2 pipe will get you 161,000 BTU's. More than you need. If your it was only a 10 foot run, you would get 49,000 BTU's and 291,000 BTU's respectively

As far as the placement of the tank, a tank the size you describe (120 gals water capacity) can be against a structure. I must be 3 feet from doors and windows and 10 feet from any source of ignition (electric meters, outlets, phone jacks, a/c compressors, etc). Any tank larger than 125 gal water capacity must be placed away from structures. 126 to 500 must be 10 foot minimum away. 501 to 2000 gals must be 25 foot minimum away.

The line from the tank to the structure can be copper tubing. Again, line size is key.
 
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Old 01-08-06, 06:49 AM
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Thanks!

Thanks for the info. I would have never guessed the 3/8" copper was so undersized. The previous owners had a gas cloths dryer running off of this too (I switched to electric).

I am going to switch to black pipe when I change the hot water heater. From the propane tank to the black pipe should be less than 3'. What size copper tube would be the minimum I should use for this connection? 5/16? 1/2?

Tony
 
 

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