Is there a way to replace this gas pipe and valves? See photos.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rick15752, May 23, 2011.

  1. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    Hi,
    I'm installing a gas fireplace insert into my masonry fireplace. It has a gas log lighter. But, I'd like to replace the gas pipe that goes thru the firebrick to a couple of valves next to the fireplace. One valve is a T handle log lighter and the other is a lever handle gas cock valve. The lever handle gas cock valve is frozen and cannot be turned by hand. (Haven't tried a wrench yet)

    Replacing the pipe will let me put an elbow closer to the wall of the firebox to allow more clearance for the insert. I'd like to replace both valves since the wall is open. The problem is that the two valves are very close to the wall sheathing preventing the valves to be rotated.

    Is there a way to replace these valves without further demolition of the wall? It appears that the original plumber, in 1985, installed this setup before the exterior siding so there was plenty of room to rotate the valves. Now, the valves can't be rotated because they're too close to the exterior siding.

    I'll try to post pics.
    Thanks.
    Rick

    Attached Files:

  2. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    HOME RENOVATION 017.jpg I think I left out one photo showing the inside of the firebox.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The "main valve" with the square stem MUST be in a location where you can operate it while igniting a gas log or insert. It usually is in the wall NEXT to the fireplace with a chrome finishing ring and is operated with a removable key. The other valve is a type which is no longer legal and serves no purpose, which means it can be removed entirely. IF you needed a valve like that, it would be INSIDE the fireplace, not in the wall. To remove the valves you will have to disassemble the piping starting inside the firebox and working back to them.
  4. DaveHo

    DaveHo Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    SE PA
    Yes, but I think the OP's question is how to do that since the valves can't be unthreaded due to interference from the exterior sheeting. My unprofessional opinion is that you need to cut the pipe or crack the elbow fitting to remove that section of pipe. Neither of which is a good idea with gas in the line.
  5. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    Yes. That is correct. I never work on gas pipe unless I've shut off the gas at the meter and allowed time for the remaining gas to leave the system.

    Yes. The obstacle here is the lack of clearance to spin the valves off the pipe. I've checked other forums and I have received some good advice.

    The log lighter valve works fine and I may just leave everything in place, undisturbed.

    The gas cock lever valve is in the open position and that would remain in place. I haven't been able to turn the lever by hand, I haven't tried that hard. I can probably turn it with more effort or use a wrench. But, I'm concerned about disturbing it for fear that I might damage the valve. That valve is not required, but it still requires an access plate which I will do.

    The only thing I may do is remove the pipe that goes into the firebox and replace it with a shorter piece to bring the elbow closer to the firebox wall.

    Another option is to open the exterior wall, which means opening the stucco and the shear ply to create some space to spin the old valves off and the new one on. Of course that would mean more work to weatherproof and patch the exterior side, which I am capable of doing.

    I was hoping to get a new setup here with the minimal amount of demolition.

    So, I'm still considering my options. I'm not in a hurry.
    Thanks
    Rick
  6. bsperr

    bsperr Member

    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Athens, GA
    Another non-professional opinion, but if you wanted to use hard pipe you could cut out everything back to the elbow, preassemble a new pipe section with a key valve, and then join that section back into the piping in the wall with a left/right coupling and nipple. You could also just cut it out and replace it with CSST. When I converted our masonry fireplace to gas, I used Tracpipe, which can be run right into the firebox if you remove the jacket. They also make a key valve bracket that can be mounted on a stud to make the valve more stable.
  7. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    I'm not familiar with the CSST. I've read about it, but I'm more familiar with hard pipe and I feel comfortable using that. I'll research Tracpipe.
    Thanks.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,058
    Location:
    New England
    Most of the flexible gas pipe isn't supposed to be sold to anyone unless they can provide proof of being certified in the appropriate training class. It's good stuff, but dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, thus the certification processs.
  9. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,347
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Thank you Jim I was about to post the same thing.
  10. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    I've looked at CSST information before and I agreee it is not for me. I will stick with hard pipe for my work.

    I'm thinking of opening the exterior wall, which is a plywood shear wall covered with stucco, to have the ability to spin the old log lighter valve off the pipe. The hole would be about the size of a single gang electrical opening which would enable me to easily remove the old valve. I could cut the pipe close the other valve and that would enable me to remove everything to the 90.

    I would install a new valve and make an access point on the interior wall near the fireplace.

    Would the single gang opening in the shear wall be a code violation? Does it have to be reinforced?
    Rick
  11. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    The gas to the house can be shut off at the meter and then the line can be opened at a couple of points and blown out with air before cutting the valves out.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You can ONLY do what needs to be done after the gas meter is turned off. Once you remove the piping though the wall of the fireplace, the valve(s), should swivel out away from the wall so you can remove them. That lever handle valve, if it is like 90+% of them is probably leaking, (and definitely would if you ever DID rotate it). If it does not with gas company pressure it would with the required test pressure. You CANNOT cut the pipes apart without using a union to reconnect them, and that is NOT PERMITTED inside a wall. call a plumber. He can fix you up so you do NOT need an access panel in your wall.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  13. rick15752

    rick15752 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    California
    Thanks everyone. I called a plumber and he suggested that I leave it alone if it is not leaking. He said I can use the log lighter as the gas shutoff. I've never turned the lever handle valve for fear that I would cause a leak. I checked all the fittings and valves for leaks with LDR All Purpose Gas Leak Detection (similar to soapy water) and found nothing.

    So, I'm hoping to leave it undisturbed. I'll still have access to the old lever handle valve eventhough I won't use it as a shutoff. The fireplace company I'm am hiring will pull a permit and the installation will be inspected.
    Thanks.
    Rick
  14. Gsalet

    Gsalet George the Plumber

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    San Francisco
    My 2 cents is to back off the pipe from the fire box next cut the stud at the hole you can then pull the gas valves away from the shear wall, Then back off the pipe replace the valves. In San Francisco up in till about 2005 the standard gas valve was required before the log lighter valve to allow for servicing the valve (still not a bad idea) OH Yeah a metal stud strap will fix the cut stud <GRIN>
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