Torque on Natural Gas Piping, 1-inch OD?

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I cannot get my water heater out without removing a couple of feet of natur al gas black piping, 1-inch OD. The pipe goes horizontally into the wall, j oins with an el, and then proceeds vertically down. There is a bracket on t he el, fastening the el to a 2x4. How risky is it to put my large pipe wren ch on the pipe and try to unscrew the pipe, and then screw it back into pla ce? Is this just damned foolish?
Plan B is to take out wallboard so I can get a second wrench on the el.
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On Fri, 7 Oct 2016 19:13:34 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you go with plan A, can you get to the fitting to check for leaks once reassembled? If so, it may not be much risk if the pipe comes apart readily. It is critical though, that you can check for leaks after.
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On Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 6:29:44 AM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Thank you, Ed. Good point about leak testing. Wallboard tape was covering m uch of the hole where the pipe penetrates. I removed the tape and now have a much better view and access to the pipe-to-el joint. The bracket around t he el looks very secure, like the installer was anticipating someone unscre wing the pipe.
Is it worth soaking the joint in PB Blaster before I put some torque on the pipe? Or is that, again, a damned foolish move?
I have done some pipe work in the past and am a pretty good DIY auto mechan ic.
Unfortunately, this is inside my condominium, and I have no shutoff valve f or this work, other than the gas company's, located at the meter. I have to make an appointment with the gas company to shut off the gas and turn it o n again, same day or maybe a day apart. Afterwards, I will be billed $70. A pparently there are a few tricks to turning the gas back on in particular. I do not want to risk the gas company giving me grief operating their valve , and figuring out "turn on" procedures, myself.
One of the things I am going to do is install a shutoff valve very close to the wall, so this all is much easier next time someone wants to pull the w ater heater or furnace out of the closet they share in my condo.
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On 10/08/2016 1:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote: ...

Good plan. If the piping arrangement is really such that you cannot avoid moving this section to remove the tank, when you put the valve in also put in a union that can be separated on the heater side so can disconnect the pipes simply and replace the heater.
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On 10/8/2016 2:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Don't know it it will help, but won't hurt.

Good idea. Should have been installed like that but the installer saved $3.
Turning the gas back on is not really a big deal. You have to be sure any pilot lights are lit and lines purged of air.
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dpb, good idea about the union. Thank you.
Ed, thank you for the further input.
Now here's a question that you folks feel free to inform me qualifies for t he dumbest post of the month:
I see the gas line pressure is low, like 1 psi at most. Would it be damned foolish to replace this pipe without turning off the gas? I think the horiz ontal force on the pipe that I would be "fighting" when threading would be on the order of Pi*(0.5 inch)^2 * 1 psi =~ 1 pound.
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On Sat, 8 Oct 2016 12:45:06 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes. it WOULD be stupid even at half a PSI there can be a LOT of flow from a 1 inch pipe - and it doesn't take much to make a flamable mixture - or much to light it.
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On Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 4:11:45 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

leted):

ed foolish to replace this pipe without turning off the gas? I think the ho rizontal force on the pipe that I would be "fighting" when threading would be on the order of Pi*(0.5 inch)^2 * 1 psi =~ 1 pound.

Thank you, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca . This helps a lot.
Dean, understood.
I did the job a little while ago, finishing in less than two hours. The met er valve was kinda stiff but I got it shut. At the pipe joint I delivered s everal small-blows all around the circumference using a good-sized hammer a nd an old, blunt chisel.I oriented my 18-inch pipe wrench so the 2x4 was br acing the el and vertical length of pipe. The pipe freed easily. I fitted t he new valve with a an assortment of nipples, all purchased at Home Depot. I forewent the union for now. Parts cost me $20 and 1/4 tube of blue gas li ne pipe dope. I opened the valve at the meter, checked for leaks valve by v alve, line by line, purged a bit by running the furnace, then lit the water heater. It fired up nicely once I hit the shower. Still no signs of gas le aks. I am pleased as punch and ready to replace the water heater sometime i n the next few months. (Water heaters are all the same age at my condo comm unity and are failing right and left.) Thank you again Ed, dpb, Dean, and c l. It's a load off my mind.
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On Sat, 8 Oct 2016 12:45:06 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Bad idea, but I dont understand why you cant go to the meter and shut off the gas valve yourself..... It's a one minute job, and they want $70. That's robbery!
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On Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 11:03:40 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wr ote:

r the dumbest post of the month:

I know. I suppose they want to prevent damage to their system and, where th e gas is to be turned off for awhile, want to make sure people do their pur ge right. If I get busted for operating the valve, I will post back.
Bob Haller, interesting. I was wondering if I had the force about right. I would have had to quickly unscrew the old pipe and then, having installed t he shutoff valve on the new pipe with its threads blue sealant doped, quick ly screwed in the new pipe. But the big issue to me is whether I would have had any hiccups in the process. You know, like cross-threading. It was a 3 /4-inch nominal ID line. That does seem to promise a lot of gas, like cl... @snyder wrote. Then again, I suppose I could have had a long large rag hand y to stuff in the pipeline if I did have a hiccup, whence I could go shut t he valve at the gas meter. Dunno. All of my words in this post tell me I am trying to rationalize an unsafe practice, so I should not think of doing t his.
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It is not a 1 minute job for the utility. $70 is really a fair price when you factor in travel time, truck, etc.
If you think it is a 1 minute job I'll give you 5 bucks to go do it. Works out to $300 an hour. Willing to go?
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On Sun, 9 Oct 2016 07:39:22 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How are you gonna get busted. Unless you are on the "Wanted" list and have the cops watching your house....
Everyone who lives in a house, homeowner, or tenant, should know where and how to shut off their gas at the meter, and should have a wrench handy to do it. In the event of a gas leak, or there is a fire in the home, or during an approaching hurricane or tornado, EVERYONE should be able to, and have the know-how and means to shut off their gas, and do so immediately. I highly doubt it's illegal, but the gas company is always willing to make a buck, and shut it off for you at a high cost to the customer.
I assume you know how to operate the valve..... (If the rectangular piece is parallel to the pipe (points in same direction as the pipe, the gas is ON. You want that valve handle to point so it's opposite the direction of the pipe (forms a cross), to be OFF.)
Once the gas is off, do all your work, make sure to use pipe dope and tighten all fittings tightly. (I was told to NOT use teflon tape on gas pipes, but then I've heard that is no longer true, so I'm not sure). Either way, to be safe, just buy a $2 container of liquid pipe dope).
Once the gas is turned back on, purge the lines by holding down the pilot light red button, until the pilot lights. Then mix about a teaspoon of dish soap in a half cup of water and brush it on each fitting with a small paint brush or squirt it with a pump sprayer. Watch for bubbles. If you get bubbles at any fitting, or valve, you have a loose fitting or bad valve which needs to be fixed immediately.
Working with gas pipes is a lot easier than with steel water pipes, since the has pipes are not rusted together, and/or full of mineral deposits. This should be an easy job as long as you are careful and thorough.
Note: You will still smell some gas odor as you take the pipes apart, even after the gas is shut off. There is still gas inside the pipes, and it also leaves a residual odor. In other words, dont smoke or light any flames, while you take the pipes apart, and it wont hurt to have a window open.
Also, be sure to buy a GAS Valve, not a water valve.
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On Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 2:51:18 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote :

I hear you. I emailed the gas company several days ago to see what their ru les were. I got a short but sharp response back quickly, saying that any si gns of "tampering" would result in my meter being taken away. If you read m y other posts, you will see I completed the job yesterday. All is well. Tod ay I went out and checked the gas meter shutoff valve to see if there were any signs of "tampering." A little paint is scraped off the valve handle, b ut this is so for other handles in the collection of eight or so meters for the condos here.

Not unless some bored gas company employee is reading this thread and has t ipped off the police.

I agree and am glad I know where the meter shutoff valve is and how to shut it.
snip for brevity

I have never used tape on the three or four gas line repairs/improvements I have done in my life. I use the blue gas pipe thread dope. Never had a lea k.

Good tip. Yes it went much better than I thought it would. You folks here g ave me some confidence with your tips.

I did. It was prominently labeled 'for gas' and was in the gas pipe section .
Ed, I agree that $70 for a service call is reasonable. But this does not me an I do not like the instructions to stay away from the valve when I have a few hour repair job to do. And yet: I understand the gas company does not want some 20-year-old DIY handyperson out there torquing on the valve handl e with his channel locks, ripping out slivers of steel from it. Lord knows I am an amateur as well.
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On Sun, 9 Oct 2016 14:16:29 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Great, glad you got the job done..... I did not see that post for some reason....
I dont consider shutting off the valve to be "Tampering", but it's all how they interpert the rules I guess...
A little paint comes off whenever a valve is shut off. Dont worry about it. Once it rains, it will rust and no one will ever know. Toss a cup of water on the valve and it will rust sooner....
I wonder what they would say if you painted that pipe and meter? Sounds silly, but when I was living with my parents, my dad painted the house and painted the gas pipes to match the house. It looked much better than the rust that was on them, and helped protect the pipes as well.
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On Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 5:01:31 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

<snip for brevity>
Excellent, and you're right: This was not "tampering." I do not tamper. I make things work (usually). This is exactly what I am going to say if the gas company calls.
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On Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 6:40:19 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I think tampering refers to trying to bypass or defeat the meter. Turning the gas off for safety would not be tampering. m
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On Mon, 10 Oct 2016 06:27:05 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That's how I see it too. Turning the gas off is just a common thing to do for any kind of repairs, or when a home is vacant for any length of time. I bet a lot of people shut off their gas as that recent hurricane was approaching, and that is a good idea. The last thing they need, are fires and gas explosions on top of storm damage.
I have propane for heating, and during the summer I shut the valve off at the tank. The reason being that I have heard about floods washing away tanks, and if the valve is turned ON, once the pipe breaks off, there is gas spewing into the air. I'm not in a flood prone area, but summer can bring tornados and other storms that could affect my property. It's rare, but why keep the gas turned on, when I'm not using it. (It's only use is for the furnace).
And I actually witnessed this occur, only about 4 miles from here, around 3 years ago. We had a bad storm that brought straight line winds. That type of wind can do a lot of damage, which can be almost as damaging as tornados. I lost a few trees from that storm, but a farm, 4 miles away had several portable cattle sheds. Because these sheds are open on one side, they were lifted by the wind. After the storm, one of these sheds was upside down on it's edge, leaning against their barn. Another was on top of their car, and another crashed into their propane tank, knocking it off it's base and rolling it several feet. Of course the copper gas line broke off, and since the valve was turned ON, it was spewing gas, which left a strong gas odor around the whole area.
The fire dept. closed off the whole area until all gas odor was gone. From what I heard, the tank was laying on the valve, so they could not just shut it off, and those tanks are very heavy, so it can not be moved by human hands. Of course any vehicle could ignite the gas, so all they could do it let it empty itself. The main road in the area, near that farm was shut down for many hours. Fortunately there was no fire, but they lost all their gas, on top of all the other storm damages.
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On 10/7/16 9:13 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do you have room for the old double hammer trick? Hold a larger hammer against the el. Hit the el a few times with a smaller one. Do it from different sides/angles if possible.
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On Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 1:39:54 PM UTC-6, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Dean, do you mean to help free the pipe from the El? Good suggestion. I thi nk I can rig up a way to apply some blows.
Ed, thank you for the further suggestions.
Dpb, good idea about the union. I am on it. :)
Anyone seeing my post (now deleted) about trying to replace the pipe with t he gas on, just call me stupid. I think I will study up, turn off the gas m yself at the meter, do my work, and then try to get the gas back on. This s ite does not even talk about an air purge when going to turn the gas back o n: http://www.wikihow.com/Cap-a-Gas-Line . But other sites talk about havin g to relieve a regulator or similar of air when turning the gas back on. Co mments on the point are welcome. It's warm enough here that I am not worrie d about being without the furnace and water heater for a couple of days. I take my showers at the pool, mostly, besides and use little hot water.
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On 10/8/2016 3:55 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Depends where you break the line. Regulator should not be affected. Only air is where you opened the line. Water heater should purge itself when you put it back on line to start.
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