General Guide to Connecting Gas Pipelines

Preparing for a gas line change, the tools you will need, and the two common types of gas lines.

Gas is an essential element in any household. No matter what the application, installing a gas system in a house requires you to be careful and pay attention to small details. Various components make up a proper gas installation, and the details of these must be taken into account. Most gas pipelines are made from steel, copper, and even brass. When done right, you can rest easy that safety concerns are minimised. With only a few simple tools, installing, and connecting gas pipelines is relatively easy.

gas line

Image by Bob Duran via Flickr

Before You Start

Even though they are generally easy to install, it is a good idea to be well-prepared before moving forward with any endeavours related to gas pipe fittings. For tools, you will need adjustable wrenches, a pipe wrench and possibly a flaring tool as well as male/female screwdrivers. Make sure you purchase the necessary parts like the gas pipe fittings and pipe joint compounds from your hardware store or from a plastic pipes company like Total Pipes.

Having these items beforehand will prevent you from needing a return visit to your local home improvement shop. Take notice of what you are installing. For simple gas connections such as ovens and dryers, only a few simple steps are required. However, knowing which parts go where can be a determining factor for safety issues, as leaks can happen without the proper parts. Consult your local hardware store before making any purchase if in doubt.

Steel Gas Pipe Connections

These types of gas pipe fittings are older models and can still be found. If you plan on replacing a new appliance, it’s best to purchase a connecting kit and replace the steel pipe with a modern flexible gas line. It’s impossible to connect the flare fitting on the flexible gas line directly, so you will have to install the flare fitting included in the connecting kit. It is also advisable to replace any old-fashioned valves with the modern ball valves (which are labelled for use with gas). Before you attempt to replace any valves, shut off the primary gas flow to your house or building. After completing the installation, you will have to reignite any pilot lights which need relighting. When installing new gas pipe fittings or valves, remember to coat all threaded pipe connections with pipe compound before installation. If the gas pipe is too long, you can add a bushing to reduce its length.

Soft Copper Pipe Connections

Many appliances are connected with soft copper pipe connections. These fittings are quite soft and bend easily, which might mean they require maintenance and change. Connecting flexible soft copper requires flaring the end of the soft copper tubing with a special tool (called a flaring tool). In order to correctly combine the copper pipes, the flare fittings must have a matching cone-shaped meeting surface. Common flare fitting sizes include 3/8 inch, ½ inch and 5/8 inch.

You should match flare fittings to the outside diameter of the soft copper which you plan on connecting. In cases where the copper pipes are kinked and need replacing, you generally have two options. First, you can cut a new length and rejoin it with a flared fitting; or alternatively you can simply replace the whole unit with a flexible stainless gas pipe connector. If you are able to find a flexible gas line which matches the size of the flare fitting on the current copper pipe, you can easily screw it on. On the other hand, you can also replace the valve that has a flare fitting on one side and a ½ inch female pipe thread on the other. The hook-up kit that you purchased should include an adaptor to connect the flexible gas line. Don’t forget to apply any pipe thread compound or gas-rated Teflon tape to any threads on the connections.

Final Thoughts

Although it is also possible to repair kinked soft copper pipes, it is strongly suggested that you simply replace the whole unit. Avoiding disastrous gas leaks is cheaper than replacing any instances where explosions and fires occur. With only a few simple tools, installing and connecting gas pipes is relatively simple, however not everybody owns a flaring tool which you might need to purchase for specific reasons. We recommend that you update your gas systems to more modern appliances, including the gas lines and valves. Always remember to consult an individual who has experience in installing gas pipes if you are ever unsure.

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