Copper tubing and natural gas?

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Awl -
I'm doing some demo on my 50's kitchen, which was done pretty well, overall -- 3/4 black pipe to a 6 burner stove, etc. Except, they tee'd off underneath for the gas line to the oven, using 1/2 or 5/8" copper, flare fitting.
I've been told copper gets brittle with natural gas, and is therefore against many codes. Is this accurate? Is this a recent discovery? Seems odd that the original installers would use 3/4" black pipe, and then wimp out at the end.
Are there similar restrictions with copper and propane? Other gases? If this restriction is only with nat gas, I assume it's because of the sulfer additive (smell) that reacts with the copper.
tia
--
EA



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it's different in different parts of the country. call up and ask your local inspector; they would know what is happening in your area.
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On Tue, 3 Nov 2009 09:18:22 -0700, "charlie"

LOTS of soft copper used for both Propane and natural gas, but the new stainless steel flex line appears to be the "now" thing.
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On Tue, 03 Nov 2009 14:55:30 -0500, clare wrote:

Yeah - I've said it before, but I was surprised when I uncovered* my propane line and it was 6" down at best and just soft copper - I'd expected something better, or even double-walled, and buried a lot deeper.
* intentionally, having called the propane company and had the site marked out, before anyone wonders ;-)
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Existential Angst wrote:

It depends on the content of your natural gas. The inspector's office told me copper was OK now here in Seattle, FWIW. If you are concerned, talk to the inspector locally, or your gas supplier.
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wrote:

Call your natural gas supplier. I got a lot of good info when I added a concrete porch onto the back of my house. The project interfered with the planned installation of a gas line to a fireplace that was surround on three sides by the patio. BTW the last few feet of my fireplace installation is with soft Cu tubing, so is my gas water heater and furnace . The installation was done by the gas Co so I am assuming it is OK for short terminating lengths. The opinion of your gas Co may be different.
Jimmie
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wrote:

EA-
A study by SoCal gas but no firm conclusions
www.copper.org/applications/fuelgas/pdf/south_cal_gas_final_report.pdf
and a safety brochure by another gas utlitiy
www.ameren.com/AboutUs/ADC_NaturalGasSafety.pdf
it appears that corrosion in copper caused by nat gas use may or may not be a serious problem BUT the consensus appears to be that flared connections are WAY more susceptible to corrosion & failure than compression fittings
I would not use not recommend the use of copper flared fittings, I might even go as far as removing existing flared connections. I would definitively replace uncoated brass or copper flex lines that service appliances with coated flex lines or SS flex lines. I would only use back pipe or CSST tube for new work or remodel work.
Gas lines, like water lines, only need to be sized large enough to supply the appliances served or future possible demand. A 3/4" black pipe, depending on the run length, can deliver xx btu/hr. The short supply line serving only the oven may be just fine for the oven demand, with the 3/4" line acting as the "main". I have a 3/4" line running from the meter to the kitchen...about 50'. The furnace and the water heater are served by the same 1/2" pipe (less than 6') off the 3/4" line. The stove and a 5 ton gas A/C were served off the continuation of the 3/4". The A/C was retired a while ago.
btw the smelly additive (mercaptan?) is added in minute amounts to give the nature gas a consistent & recognizable smell and is supposed to be safe, probably way safer than un-smelly gas. Sulfur does exist naturally in natural gas mainly as H2S but the gas utilities remove it and add the other smelly stuff. Natural gas with high amounts of H2S in being referred to as "sour gas", those high amounts are only 4ppm & higher. Total sulfur content is controlled as part of their QC process.
hth
cheers Bob
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Existential Angst wrote:

If I remember correctly you can't use galvanized pipe for natural gas but I've never heard of any problems with copper pipe and natural gas or propane here in the Southeast. The only thing I know that you can't use copper pipe with is ammonia refrigeration systems.
TDD
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wrote:

In many places in the US, galvanized pipe is now OK. Just like the discussion with copper there was concern that with some types of nat gas galvanized could flake off and then clog orifices. But it does vary from area to area.
but I've never heard of any problems with copper

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It's my understanding that galvanized pipe will react with natural gas causing problems. As far as I know, it's still not code around here.
TDD

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When I moved a park model mobile home from Wisconsin where it had been run on propane to Mesa, AZ where it was to be hooked up to natural gas, the city refused to allow the hook up due to copper tubing being used for the gas lines. My contractor said he thought the city was wrong and he pointed out to them that their codes allowed copper tubing if the tubing had a certain manufacturing code letter (which I don't remember). I had to call the manufacturer back East to find out where on the copper I could find that code and then point it and the code regulations out to the inspector from the city and then it was approved. As I remember it, the copper had to be a certain alloy to prevent pinhole leaks from forming from the natural gas.
Tom G.
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That's sort of what I remember -- esp. the pinhole leaks, now that you mentioned it. Most of the replies here don't seem to be aware of this, mebbe because only a few places make this distinction. Your contractor seems like he was on the ball!
What kind of tubing did you wind up using? Special tubing? Flexible or rigid?
--
EA




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> Tom G.
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Existential Angst wrote: ...

That's the whole point--it doesn't make any difference excepting for what your Code or supplier requirements are.
There are quite a number of studies on the effects of natural gas impurities on copper alloys as well as galvanized available on the web but again, they're of no consequence fundamentally to the question of what your local jurisdiction requirements are.
So, check w/ them and find out...
--
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Well, I was more interested in the actual physical effects, and was wondering if there was a consensus on this porosity issue.
Codes are not always logical. NYC had the most oppressive electrical code in the country perhaps, and then one day decided to lighten up and go with the NEC. Go figger....
--
EA


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Just stuck with the existing flexible copper tubing because it had the proper letter code to meet code, in the end. It hadn't made sense to me that the manufacturer would have installed flexible copper tubing that couldn't be used with natural gas and propane as they wouldn't have know what the gas source in the field would have been.

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On Tue, 3 Nov 2009 09:51:02 -0500, "Existential Angst"

A quote:
Natural gas in copper pipe over some period of years causes copper sulfites which clogged up the pipe with hard, black crystallizations.
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It also appears that the sulfur added to the natural gas is corrosive to copper.
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2009 17:18:48 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net wrote:

Sulphur is NOT added to Natural gas. Sulphur in natural gas is naturally occurring, and is largely removed by processing before distribution. Ethyl Mercapitan is added in VERY small amounts as an identifier odour.
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I've seen mostly copper inside buildings and have never had a problem (about 800 locations).
But IIRC copper is anodic to steel, so if the two are connected the steel pipe should sacrifice itself to protect the copper. If they were outside or underground I would guess there could be a problem.
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Magnesium, Al, Zn strips would help protect the steel and copper. Magnesium stakes are sold for this purpose, and anodic aluminum is found in water heaters -- altho alum is proly not very effective after its own oxidized film occurs.
Copper outside form a protective oxide, like alum -- that green patina. So copper should be stable outside as well.
--
EA



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