Gas line installation errors can compromise the safety and function of your home. A gas line can supply fuel to cooking appliances, furnaces, water heaters, and other high-use equipment. We strongly advise against DIY gas line installation. But even budding professionals can make mistakes. Here are six errors to avoid when choosing and connecting a gas line during DIY gas line installation or any other home improvement project.
1. Choosing an Incorrectly Sized Gas Line
A seasoned professional knows the proper calculations for accurately sizing a gas line. If the pipe is the wrong size, a range of issues can affect the performance, efficiency, and safety of natural gas appliances. Too small a gas line can limit the fuel supply to an appliance, reducing its performance or causing it to fail. Excessive pressure drops can weaken burner flames or lead to inconsistent heating. Meanwhile, an oversized gas line can waste energy and increase utility costs.
A wrong-sized gas line can also:
- Fail to meet an appliance’s gas flow rate and pressure requirements.
- Cause excessive noise in the system.
- Increase pressure, straining fittings and valves.
- Trigger a dangerous natural gas leak in your home.
- Restrict gas flow and cause blockages.
- Reduce the lifespan of the appliance.
2. Ignoring Building Codes and Regulations
Codes and regulations exist for a good reason. Ignoring a local building code risks safety hazards such as a gas leak or explosion. Therefore, the consequences for your home and family can be disastrous. Non-compliance can also lead to penalties; should an inspector find your gas line doesn’t meet requirements, costly modifications may be required. The job may need to be redone and you can also face hefty fines.
Before installing a gas line, consult with the proper authorities, such as a local building department or utility company. They can inform you of gas line installation regulations. You’ll also gain insights into the required permits and materials as well as proper techniques for avoiding a gas line installation error.
3. Selecting the Wrong Materials
If the materials chosen are unsuited for the application, there’s an increased risk of corrosion, leaks, and system failures. Natural gas pipes are commonly made of copper or steel. Flexible stainless steel tubing may also be used. Copper has high heat resistance, so it is preferred for natural gas or propane lines. It is also corrosion-resistant. However, steel pipes must be properly coated or wrapped to prevent corrosion.
Fabric-based pipe materials are not suited for gas lines. They aren’t strong or durable enough. Choosing high-quality materials costs more upfront but will save you on the costs of future repairs or replacements. They also avoid imminent failures and are less prone to deterioration and corrosion.
4. Poor Ventilation and Lack of Clearance
When installing a gas line, it must be properly ventilated. The manufacturer should detail the ventilation requirements of an appliance or gas line. If these aren’t met, an explosion or asphyxiation can occur. Adequate clearance also reduces these risks and prevents heat buildup. In addition, make sure vents aren’t obstructed by debris, which can cause gases to back up.
To avoid such issues and related safety hazards:
- Follow the manufacturer’s installation requirements.
- Adhere to recommended clearance guidelines.
- Routinely check for clogs or blockages.
- Clear debris to ensure proper airflow.
- Don’t place flammable materials near gas appliances/gas lines.
- Keep the area around gas appliances uncluttered.
- Look for signs of overheating or heat buildup.
- Call a professional if vents are damaged.
- Contact us if a gas appliance emits a strange odor.
5. Failing to Make Proper Joint Connections
Gas leaks and other major safety hazards can occur if pipe joints are inadequately sealed. You can avoid cracks or gaps in joint connections by using the appropriate sealing materials and techniques. Only approved methods should be used, such as applying thread tape or pipe dope to threaded fittings.
Also, tighten fittings using the appropriate amount of torque. And, after the gas line is installed, check for signs of loose connections, wear, or damage often and take prompt action to avoid a major problem. Hiring a professional in the first place reduces the risk of a gas leak.
6. Skipping Pressure Testing/Leak Detection
Pressure testing helps verify the integrity of a gas line installation so a contractor can make the appropriate adjustments. Otherwise, an undetected leak can pose a significant risk to your household. The latest leak detection methods help identify small leaks so they can be fixed promptly. An experienced technician has the knowledge and tools to accurately check for leaks and test system pressure, so damage and hazards can be avoided.
How Much Does Gas Line Installation Cost?
The cost of gas line installation depends on many factors. The longer the line, the more costly it is to install. The cost of materials, permits, and labor is also a consideration.
What Are the Signs of a Gas Line Clog?
If a gas line is clogged, appliance performance can decrease, you may have less hot water, or the gas line can make popping sounds (especially if moisture has gotten inside).
What Are the Benefits of Grounding a Gas Line?
Grounding protects the pipe or tubing from sparks and electrical arcs from nearby wiring and electrical components. These can damage the line and cause a leak and potentially a fire or explosion.
Call QRC to Learn More About Avoiding Gas Line Installation Errors
At QRC, we provide HVAC services in Winston-Salem, NC, and surrounding areas. Our technicians are EPA-certified and continuously trained to ensure the highest-quality service for a job of any size. They are also familiar with all the requirements for heating installation, including how gas lines are properly installed. To learn more about our services, special officers, and financing or request an appointment, call (336) 585-8408.