Installing propane heater...iron or copper?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by greg273, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,621
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    southern illinois
    Is there a 'preferred' way to hook up a propane heater, as far as black iron or copper/brass lines? Is one better, or easier, or cheaper? I've seen a few installs, seems like it could go either way. I did notice lots of compression fittings, not so many soldered fittings... is this typical, and is there any reason for it?
     
  2. morrowsmowers

    morrowsmowers Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    NJ
    The type of pipe used is determined by local codes. I have never heard of any solder fittings being allowed -- black iron pipe has to be cut and threaded and then put together with fittings -- copper pipe can be bought in a flexible roll and bent to fit as needed -- compression fittings used to make connections. Some gas utilities are using a plastic tubing to run gas underground but I have not seen any areas where this is allowed above ground. To be safe, check with your utility or propane supplier and do it properly.

    Ken in Glassboro, NJ :)
     

  3. mdharris68

    mdharris68 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    NE Kansas
    Alot of homeowners, and most propane companies use copper to connect gas lines to appliances. The most common way is compression fittings. (sorry, I was thinking flare and said compression. Black iron is still preferred.)

    The thing you should know is that as the gas travels through the copper tubing, it's corrosive nature, which comes from the additive that makes the gas smell, causes the copper to flake into almost unseen pieces. This can cause problems with pilot burners getting dirty. The flakes plug the pilot orfice.

    Also, for some reason, most areas with plumbing codes do not allow copper pipe for gas applications. I have never asked why, but it probably has to do with the rigidity of the pipe and saftey concerns. My 2 cents.

    I think soldered copper would be the best way to use copper, but not many people go to that trouble.
     
  4. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Location:
    Owen Co., Indiana
    You need to use black pipe where damage can occur and generally every where it will be permanent (attic spaces, thru walls, etc.....wouldn't want nails to be punching thru copper pipe.) No joints enclosed in wall cavities. Copper is used only at terminations/hook-up outlets to appliances. These days most everybody uses these short corregated S.S. lines to hook up appliances.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,078
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Can you really use compresion fittings on Gas? I've seen flare fittings used. I don't install gas at all, but there is certainly copper gas tubing sold with yellow plastic coatings for gas applications and the last one I saw was just bare copper with yellow tape to indicate it's a gas line. That came off a steel pipe and threaded fittings from the meter. Not something to guess at find someone who knows your local code.
     
  6. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,339
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    depending on the gas and where it is from It is my understanding that the impurities (hydrogen sulfide) in the gas can eat a copper line out from the inside out, It can look fine from the out side and be ate out from the inside, I have never seen it tho,

    but I have had a flare fitting break once on copper and fill our crawlspace full of propane. :help:

    and a few weeks before that a neighbors house had blow up do to there crawlspace filling with propane. They had copper line.

    I put in new black pipe and installed it to the gas pipe to the local natural gas company recommendations,

    also most codes do not permit propane appliances in a crawlspace or a basement, the propane is heavier than air and can pool in a lower location and can sit for days undetected,

    also most codes require under ground lines to come above the surface before entering the building, and the reason is if a line develops a leak it will exit into open air and not follow the line into the building, (if the line that had had the cracked flare on it on my place would have been that way, the propane would have never entered the crawlspace of the house).

    a drip leg is a small pipe tail that is at a location to collect moisture or dirt that could be in the pipe or gas, and the gas is tee off to the appliance above the leg, and the leg is capped off,

    here is a basic over view of the city of Lincoln Nebraska which would give a person a basic idea of what to expect,
    most is in leak detection and sizing of pipe, and corrosion prevention
    http://www.ci.lincoln.ne.us/City/attorn/lmc/ti24/ch2405.pdf
    more information to be found here,
    [ame]http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&newwindow=1&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=gas+piping+code&spell=1[/ame]
     
  7. danb98577

    danb98577 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Propane is becoming very popular out here, and lately I have noticed that new installations are going to some sort of blue plastic/nylon tubing with a rubbery feeling exterior coating. Makes sense in some respects, but there is still concern in my mind about punctures as Catspaw has pointed out.
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    copper is flared never compression never on gas i used all black pipe myself
     
  9. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,621
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    southern illinois
    thanks all for this good advice.
     
  10. mdharris68

    mdharris68 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    NE Kansas
    Sorry for the misdirection, I was thinking flare and wrote compression. :nono:
     
  11. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    EastTN: Former State of Franklin

    One thing no one mentions, but mdharris told you the reason for, is a 'trap' on the line just before the appliance.

    This is nothing more than a "T" installed horizontally where the supply comes in from one side, the gas goes on up one part of the T to the appliance and the lower part of the T is capped for a trap to catch and hold the stuff that flakes off the inside of the lines, and helps keep that out of the gas orifices on the appliance.

    I run black iron where the line could be damaged, and copper with flare fittings right at the appliance.

    Also not mentioned here, the copper is soft, refrigeration/gas grade.....not roll type L or M...... the flare for the fitting on L or M are easier to crack, and leak. ALL roll copper is not created equal. :D
     
  12. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

    Messages:
    334
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia
    All they use around here is black pipe for natuaral gas and copper for propane.
    My sister is haveing trouble with a propane fireplace stopping up and I have took it apart a couple of times and cleaned it per instructions that came with it, and it doesn't have a tee. I will have to look into that the next time it goes out. :shrug:
     
  13. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    191
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Central MN
    The latest and greatest that most of the plumbers around here are using is corrugated stainless: http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Plumbing/corrugated-stainless-steel-tubing .

    Copper is getting too expensive.

    Iron takes too much time with all the fittings, threading pipe, etc. Also most iron pipe and fittings are imported and the quality sucks. Problems with threads, pin holes in fittings, etc.

    I just ran iron for our propane, as it was exposed in the utility room. I used corrugated stainless to hook up the appliances.