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outdoor gas pipe


John Dirks Jr
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Picture this;

Consider you have a house that uses natural gas to fuel its furnace. The gas meter is on the outside at the front corner of the property. The furnace is in the utility room at the rear corner on the same side of the property.

After the meter there is a black steel gas supply line that travels along the outside wall of the house for about 20 feet before it turns in through the wall to the furnace.

What is wrong with this picture?

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Originally posted by AHI

Picture this;

Consider you have a house that uses natural gas to fuel its furnace. The gas meter is on the outside at the front corner of the property. The furnace is in the utility room at the rear corner on the same side of the property.

After the meter there is a black steel gas supply line that travels along the outside wall of the house for about 20 feet before it turns in through the wall to the furnace.

What is wrong with this picture?

I don't see anything wrong with it. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to paint the pipe.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi John,

Now that we've given you our opinion, how about telling us what prompted you to ask the question? Obviously, you thought it wasn't right for some reason or you wouldn't have asked. How about sharing those thoughts with us?

I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just trying to understand what base of knowledge you're working from and whether your suspicion that something wasn't quite right came from a complete and total lack of knowledge about a gas meter installation, or is based on some misinformation you got from a screwed-up text or from another inspector who is busy spreading around unsubstantiated folklore. If the first, fine. If the second, we should know about that text so we can address the issue with the author. If the third, maybe it's time to find another mentor.

By the way, this has been discussed here before and the search engine on TIJ's home page will search the entire database and is pretty awsome. I'm guessing that a search for the term "rust" might have turned this up.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I would be glad to explain. Last week I was at a house that was set up like I explained above. This gas line I described was very rusty. Not just surface rust but deeply pitting and flaking away.

This job was one of these walk and talk things with no written report. I pointed it out to the owner and yada yada...bla bla bla.

A few days later I was just randomly flipping through my Code Check book. In the "gas piping" section I saw this;

Plastic pipe only outdoors and underground 03 IRC [2414.6]

Maybe I have mistaken what this means.

Does it mean that plastic piping must be used outdoors, or does it mean that plastic piping can only be used outdoors?

It is a matter of me interpreting this specific code statement I suppose. However, it is not due to a complete and total lack of knowledge on the matter.

I had seen the rusted piping prior, and then this listing in the Code Check book about plastic piping. So perhaps I mis-understood the code language?

I was thinking that the outdoor run should be plastic so as to prevent the rust based on my interpretation of [2414.6].

I have not done any searching on this forum about this matter.

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Hi,

The code check comment is saying that plastic gas pipe can only be used outdoors and below grade. It is not saying that all outdoor pipe must be plastic or that all pipe buried below grade must be plastic.

FWIW, I routinely see 80 year old wrought iron gas pipe like you describe that's so rusty that there are chunks flaking off it and it's fine. I routinely find old meter standpipes in basements and under porches that had been abandoned decades ago when the meters were moved.

I guess my point is that it's still to be determined how long this wrought iron pipe will last uncoated in soil or at the exterior. If all you were seeing was some surface rust and some surface pitting it's not anything that I personally would report. If the buyer doesn't like the rusty pipe he can easily remedy it with a wire brush and some Rustoleum. One lady used plastic artificial ivy and wrapped hers.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Now don't confuse plastic pipe with corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), that's an entirely different kind of pipe; or with plastic wrapped copper gas pipe.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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John,

I've said it here many times and said it to at least 50 guys and gals on ride-a-longs: toss the Code Check and get the real thing - on disk.

Plastic pipe only outdoors and underground

It should be "...outdoors, underground only".

That being said, I feel that exposed-to-the-weather, unprotected, rusting gas piping is something that should not be ignored. I've pointed it out many, many times (often on roofs of commercial buildings) and report it as needing repair.

"G2414.8 (403.8) Protective coating. Where in contact with material or atmosphere exerting a corrosive action, metallic piping and fittings coated with a corrosion-resistant material

shall be used".

"G2415.8 (404.8) Protection against corrosion. Metallic pipe or tubing exposed to corrosive action, such as soil condition or moisture, shall be protected in an approved manner... Ferrous metal exposed in exterior locations shall be protected from corrosion in a manner satisfactory to the code official".

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So poor writing of the sentence made it easier to mis-understand its intent. Looks like we can agree on that.

As far as this particular rusting gas pipe I saw, I did point it out to the gentleman. The conversation went like this;

Me,

"Take a look at the rust on this pipe, it's pretty excessive, not just surface rust"

Him,

"Ahhh, it aint a problem"

Me,

" Well you see the rust right?, and you do believe that if nothing is done it will continue to rust, dont you?"

Him,

"yes"

Me,

"So if it continues to rust, what do you think will eventually happen?"

Him,

"it will leak"

The rust was bad enough that I believed it was important to mention it. If I see it like this somewhere else, I will call it out again.

I think they should at least be kept painted with rustoleum or some other kind of rust inhibiting coating.

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