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WillK 11-12-2010 12:59 PM

Configuring pipe for range and water heater gas supply
I'm going to be putting my pipes together tonight to reconnect my water heater and add in a gas range where it was electric. Just want to clear up some of my own confusion.

So I'm probably overkilling the water heater, it had 1/2" pipe and I'm going 3/4" throughout with a reducer to 1/2"... I've got 8" long pipes for sediment traps because it's what I bought and I'm pretty sure it's more than long enough.

My pipes will be coming up from the crawlspace, go through an elbow to cross horizontally to a tee, the down leg will be the sediment trap, after that I'll go up, then from there I'm a little unsure...

I bought a shutoff valve, a flex line and a union for each attachment... Am I understanding correctly that I don't need the union if I'm using the flex line?

The valves I bought have female pipe thread on one side and FIPT on the other, so as I was looking it over last night to dry fit everything to check my layout, I was thinking "well, I can't put the union AFTER the valve, and it doesn't make any sense to put it before"

And in case anyone is going to ask, I'm using flex line because other work on the house means the house (where gas pipes are attached) will move relative to the water heater (on slab, which won't move)

Just Bill 11-13-2010 06:05 AM

Most localities do not like homeowners doing their own gas plumbing, for a very good reason. Mistakes can kill, you and others. If unsure about codes, find a pro.

Plumber26 11-13-2010 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by Just Bill (Post 533431)
Most localities do not like homeowners doing their own gas plumbing, for a very good reason. Mistakes can kill, you and others. If unsure about codes, find a pro.

I am in COMPLETE (C-O-M-P-L-E-T-E) agreeance with this post! Playing with gas piping should STRICTLY be left to a professional. Not really something one should do for a hobby or any other reason unless that is your occupation. Any gas piping in my state ran over 6' REQUIRES an air test to be passed off by a city code official.
Your heart is in the right place with the ideas but as the last post stated "Mistakes can KILL you and others"

oh'mike 11-14-2010 07:29 AM

Do check the local codes--In my area,water heaters must be hard piped--no flex conectors.

There you would need a union.

WillK 11-15-2010 08:36 AM

Okay, with all due respect, I understand the hazards of a gas leak. Before we even bought the house we detected a gas leak, requested the sellers have the gas shut off and left it off for 3 months while other work was being done. When I had the gas turned back on, it was because the potential for freezing weather had arisen and running the heater was necessary. So to restart the furnace, I capped off the branch that services everything else with a shut-off valve since the branch for the furnace seemed less likely to be the source of the leak. I carefully observed for gas leaks after reopenning the supply to the furnace. And at this point, we were not all living in the house yet so if a gas leak did develop it wasn't going to injure my family - plus there just wouldn't be electrical switches being turned on or off or appliances in use that could provide a spark to ignite anything.

Later, while removing the old pipes I found they very likely were the source of the leak. The furnace had a newer professionally installed CSST line. The other pipes were galvanized pipe. The entrance pipe was extensively corroded. Some joints were loose enough to turn without a wrench.

But about me. I'm not a plumber. I don't presume to be as good as a licensed plumber, but with all due respect this is a pretty straight forward application and I'm quite capable of handling it. I am an engineer, and I've done a lot of work with high-pressure fuel injection systems on race vehicles and I've plumbed the gas supply line for a pool heater at a previous house, passed inspection with it and had no issues with the installation over a few years until we moved out.

So, I am duly noting that not all jurisdictions accept flex hose for water heaters - I will note that it seems apparent that some do as my previous house in Indiana was built with CSST to the water heater, whether that means flexible appliance hose okay for water heaters or not I don't know.

Regardless, if my jurisdiction allows it, I think I have a very good reason for using flex line. It seems to me that it's a very bad idea to use hard lines when you know that the part of the house the pipe is attached to will be moving relative to the part of the house the water heater is sitting on... I believe gas pipe lines are not intended for use as load-bearing members, and I would rather not use mine to lift the water heater as would happen with rigid pipes.

At this point, I've assembled everything and checked it with leak checking solution. I've been able to see that basicly the flex line acts as a union would.

Hiring a professional is simply way outside my budget. It's not that I'm of inadequate income or I'm in a state of over-use of credit, it's that I have to do a lot of work on this house fast and I just can't get much credit yet because just this past summer we sold our previous home on a short-sale.

With that said, the $150 in materials I spent on this which I was able to afford would probably have been at least $800 I'm sure if this was being done in an area that was easy to access. This wasn't in an easy area to access, it was in a crawl space with a dirt floor. Part of it isn't deep enough to get into. There is no plastic sheet on the ground. The path to the work area involves going around the furnace.

Not sure if it definitely applies, but I would think that this probably fits the description of an OSHA confined space, and if that applies I'm sure there is even more cost involved.

And with all that said, the other alternative was using the existing pipes as-is until we could afford a professional some time in January. With a known leak, that would be the worst choice.

It would have been nice to have an answer to the question, if not for the water heater then for the range at least - I'm pretty sure gas ranges don't get hard piped, after all they have to be slid out to be connected.

WillK 11-15-2010 08:45 AM

Let me just add 2 things:

My city uses 2006 IFC

I'll also add I can recognize what a leaking joint looks like when the leak detecting solution looks like, I had one when I tested the pool heater in a previous home and was able to fix it, I had none on the present project. I favored the gas pipe teflon tape before because that has always worked better on automotive fuel systems, this time around I used Rectorseal.

oh'mike 11-16-2010 07:05 PM

Willk--Please lighten up a bit---It is your house and You're right--it is simple old technology.

I wasn't telling you not to do your own work,it's your house,I was only trying to point out what is code in my area.

There,now I feel better---:laughing:--Mike---

WillK 11-17-2010 07:35 AM

No worries... I know there are things that are high risk, real or perceived, and in this case it's a matter of the severity of a potential mishap being high. And I recognize that a degree of liability comes with giving advice on something with the potential for serious consequences if done incorrectly, I even recognize that there's a certain amount of liability even if I am capable of doing this work properly, somebody else years from now might read advice and gain an understanding of part of their project without understanding of other key pieces that might give them a confidence that might not be warranted.

But it wasn't so much your post, Mike, as the ones that don't really offer more than suggesting to call a professional - One post is fine, and two isn't so bad, but I've gotten a little over-sensitive to it because the work I'm doing is beyond the average homeowner DIY project and on another forum I've participated in longer, any questions I'd post would either get a really good answer or get no answer except perhaps a post that this should be done professionally - I think the other forum was a lot more liability sensitive, and I became active here because I saw a greater diversity of responses.

I know that people with knowledge to share have a fine line to walk between being helpful and potentially enabling someone to have courage to do something beyond their abilities, and I do appreciate it, but it is kinda tough to have questions and have to make a choice between expecting peope to trust in my level of ability by not describing it and describing what I can and can't do and losing my audience because I'm presenting too much information.

I'm setting up my final inspections on this, my dishwasher and my roof. (making the call today) The only question I am unsure about is how much is enough pipe hangers, but from past experience I've tended to use more than needed... In this case, I used fewer than I've used in the past - mostly because nailing up hangers in a crawl space with 2 kids wanting to explore the crawl space is hard enough, and it's not helped by the hardness of the old growth lumber the house was built with.

oh'mike 11-17-2010 07:54 AM

Ah,Hangers--10 feet or less.

I am a firm believer in do it your self--It's your house--armed with proper knowledge and a good bit of common sense a person can successfully work on their own place,safely .

Go and have fun---Mike---

Michael Thomas 11-17-2010 08:27 AM

You have to be VERY careful when attaching flexible gas connector fittings to each other, hard piped (usually black iron) gas lines, or appliances.

If you find that threads "don't quite match", or that fitting are too large or too small to connect to adjacent components, you are attempting to mate incomparable pieces.

As I occasionally discover at home inspections, the result is sometimes a gas leak.

See here for an explanation of what you can and cannot do.

WillK 11-17-2010 09:06 AM

The flexible gas connectors I am using are appliance hookup kits that include multiple adaptors to connect pipe thread on one side to flared fitting thread on the other side, so you pick the one that adapts to the end of your hard piping run and appliance. The last fitting before the kit on both appliances is the shut-off valve.

rickinnocal 05-16-2011 12:10 AM


Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 533957)
Do check the local codes--In my area,water heaters must be hard piped--no flex conectors.

That's certainly not the case here, and I can't imagine why anywhere would be otherwise - I live in an area where earthquakes are common, but they are possible anywhere, and the idea of my water heater trying to dance while hard connected to a rigid gas line is not one that would make me sleep well!


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