natural gas pipe run underground from house to BBQ area

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by ejc, May 22, 2013.

  1. ejc

    ejc New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    san diego
    Hi, I live in San Diego and just bought a house built in 1986. I am talking to plumbers about hooking up a gas grill in my backyard. The original owner stubbed for natural gas by running a 3/4" black iron pipe (wrapped per code back in the 1980s) under a concrete patio. The pipe comes up about 15-20 feet behind the house (in the perfect spot for the bbq). The previous owner guy never actually used that pipe, and so it has just sat there all these years. My plumber is telling me that if it passes a pressure test then it should be safe to use (although he doesn't believe it will pass based on its age). There is some rust that can be seen at the house end and again at the stub end.

    I am trying to figure out if I am asking for trouble by using it (even if it passes the test). I'm especially worried because a different plumber I asked to look at the pipe said, "Well, that is old black iron and not suitable for outdoor use like that...nowadays the pipes get dipped not just wrapped."

    It would be pretty expensive to run a new line and so my alternative is probably to cap the existing gas line and start using a propane tank for the bbq. Of course, I already own a brand new gas grill and the manufacturer (Lion) tells me you can't convert a Lion grill to propane by just switching the orifice. They suggest switching out the gas grill to a new propane grill, but of course the company that sold me the grill at the Del Mar Expo won't even return my phone call.

    I'm about going crazy here so any thoughts from the pros would be appreciated.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,251
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    A lot would depend on how "perfectly" it was wrapped and what he used. Typically, coated gas pipe IS black pipe, but ANY damage to the coating will cause it to rust away very quickly.
  3. Hammerlane

    Hammerlane Member

    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Ohio
    In my opinion, If you have been accustomed to grilling on grills with a never-ending supply of natural gas (so long as gas bill is paid), you will regret switching to propane.

    Get your brothers and or friends one afternoon and do the grunt work of digging the trench for a new gas line, that will save considerable expense.
  4. ejc

    ejc New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    san diego
    Thanks hj.

    Am I very unlikely to have any life left on that 3/4" pipe even if it was wrapped perfectly??.. given that it is now 27 yrs old?
  5. ejc

    ejc New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    san diego
    Thanks Hammerlane. A good suggestion if I go down that road. Still trying to decide.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,251
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If it was wrapped "perfectly" which would be a rarity, then it could be as good as new. An underground gas line has to be tested to 60 psi so if it holds that test it will hold the working gas pressure.
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