Underground Natural Gas Piping?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Code Questions' started by Murphy625, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hi folks,

    I'm converting a portable generator to run on natural gas. I need to tap into my gas line in my home, run the line through the basement wall and then underground for about 25 feet. From there, the line will need to go vertical and rise above the ground level to around 16 to 24 inches where I plan on installing a secondary valve and an elbow with a simple pipe plug. (I'll remove the plug to connect the generator as needed).

    I will also be putting a valve in my basement to shut off the outdoor portion of the line for safety reasons.

    What kind of gas pipe would be suggested here? I'm thinking standard black iron pipe but was also considering a plastic line that would attach to steel at both ends.

    The line will exit near the front of my garage behind a bush and a large boulder to keep it hidden.

    Any suggestions?
  2. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    398
    Location:
    California
    Check your local codes first, regarding the type of pipes and depth.

    Around here, we use rigid black pipe where it's exposed, green where it's buried. Our code also allows yellow CSST (flex). But most plumbers still use rigid piping.

    Permit will be required.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,236
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Black iron pipe will rust away in no time when buried. I would use the proper corrugated stainless steel tubing, which should be sleeved by plastic pipe where it is underground. This is work that will require a permit and inspection. Local codes do vary so you should run any plan through your municipality.
  4. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks for the replies! Looks like I'm going to have to either use plastic gas pipe or route some black iron through the garage instead.
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,812
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I would say do not play with Gas.

    There is no reason to have a gas feed going thru your home to feed a outdoor portable generator.


    Your setup will not fly, But could blow sky high.
  6. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    Is that like telling a child not to play with matches? Or do you just consider natural gas to be so dangerous that only a specially trained certified plumber or pipe fitter is qualified to work with it? (I'm having an issue trying to type that with a straight face!)

    Are you implying I don't need a generator? or that I don't need to feed it with natural gas? Or that it doesn't need to go through my home?


    Assumptions and exaggerations are not useful, especially when they are based on a lack of knowledge.

    Do you have anything to add that would be useful to my project?
  7. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    I think a lot of people take that attitude, and I can't say it's irrational where gas is concerned. Many locations won't allow it, including mine.


    I read that as it doesn't need to go through your home, and I agree. If the supply is outside and the generator is outside, the pipe should remain outside. The pipes might leak someday, and so might the holes through your basement wall. However, if the meter is inside the house, that changes everything. Your pipe would have to start there, so it might as well route through the house where possible to avoid exposure to the elements.

    Please, pretty please, really begging, pull a permit for this. DonL does not exaggerate the danger, despite his undiplomatic delivery.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    IL
    Suppose he were to route 175 feet of gas pipe underground, around the house, garage and patio, from the outside meter to the generator, instead of passing 30 feet through the house. What kind of gas piping would you suggest?
  9. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    How about going 15 feet in the short direction around the house instead of all the way around the long way?

    I'd suggest whatever materials local code demands, if you're looking for a serious answer. Call up the inspector and ask. That's not a question that can get a definitive answer on a forum, whether it's from a chatterbox like me, a pro, a seasoned DIYer, or even if Terry himself gets involved. I'd expect only a local pro would know the local codes.

    If his dimensions were really that ungainly, it would never have been a question. He started with wanting outside piping, which implies that's really his preferred way to route it. Going through the inside was a compromise to choose cheaper materials, which is a questionable reason to drill extra holes in the foundation. Speaking of which, why not go with the "green pipe" that dj2 suggested?

    I did just notice the original post suggests the meter is inside, so it's moot. Exactly one hole is required already, so best to put it where it's most convenient to the project overall. If it can run 25 feet straight along the wall and then pop out right next to the generator, great, but it doesn't sound that way.

    Beyond that, commentary about his specific design is so much hot air blown through puckered sphincter, since none of us have the first clue what his layout is - shape of the house, where's the meter, wheres the electrical panel, and so on, and I don't get the sense he wants that degree of hand-holding.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,812
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    You would most likely never get a permit to install the Gas Line yourself, Inside of your (The Banks ?) house. But the Gas company may be able to help you with a outside run, Like used for BBQ pits.

    Portable generators are great, But why not just install a real backup system, and not a converted play toy ?

    They use Poly underground here, but a indoor run needs to be ridged.


    Have Fun.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  11. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    398
    Location:
    California
    I really don't know what the debate is all about: We have thousands of outdoor pools around here, with gas lines from the gas meters to the pool furnaces. A gas line to feed a BBQ is no different.

    All work must be with a permit, performed by a lic plumber, inspected and signed off by the city inspector..

    Murphy625: go ahead, contact your local building department for all the details. Once you have it set up, let us know how the steaks taste.
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

    Messages:
    3,812
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Where I live the Gas Company gives me 1 available regulated External connection at the meter. Meter and regulator is outside, where it should be.

    If you live where they put the Main Gas Line Regulator and Meter inside of your house, Then you need to have great insurance with monthly inspections.


    I would not even want to live near houses built that way.


    What you can't see can kill you, If you can smell it then it is to late. (Rocket Fuel that is)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  13. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    Around here, they're often inside. Wild guess, maybe the older meters couldn't take the cold?

    Safety perspective, I'd rather see the meter and regulator (and thus all high pressure gas) outside the building, too.

    I've never heard of anyone getting them inspected, though. Used to be, they'd knock on the door to read the meter once in awhile, but everywhere I've looked lately has those outdoor data connections.

    Note, I'm not saying they *shouldn't* get inspected often, only that I've never seen it happen.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  14. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    My meter is outside the home and only about 5 feet from where I would be running the gas line as currently planned. It really makes little difference in that respect. It won't matter but a foot or two whether I tap from inside, or tap the meter outside.. The runs will almost identical for all but maybe 2 to 5 feet.
    My only gripe is that there isn't much pipe between the gas meter and the brick on the house.. Its only about 6 inches so not a lot to tap into. It would be much easier to just install a tee fitting in the house and run it straight out the wall a few inches above grade, then elbow down with plastic/stainless under ground to the point of use.

    I already had to re-run all the gas pipe in my home when I installed the power vent water heater... I had to upgrade the 30 feet of 1/2" pipe going to my furnace to a 1" in line to handle the furnace, new power vent heater, and a future gas clothes dryer..
    And for those who are concerned, I have my own powered pipe threader and since its my family at risk, my pressure test procedures FAR exceed the standard.. I test at 120 PSI overnight with no drop at all in the gauge.

    I've run enough 5 PSI gas lines inside industrial buildings.. I'm not too concerned about blowing anything up...
  15. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    The smell they put into natural gas (I think its called mercaptain) is very potent and will strongly offend your olfactory senses long before the concentration reaches a dangerous level.
  16. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    I might do exactly that one day.. and will have to install the same gas line anyhow if I do.. I'm not ready for a real back up unit yet but I'm getting closer every year... I just replaced my breaker panel this year and upgraded it from a main lug (pushmatic garbage) to a main breaker design that allows me twice the number of spaces. While making the upgrade, I found the previous home owner had installed a 16 gauge SO cord and hooked it up to a 20 amp breaker! (What an idiot!)...

    Anyhow.. I do understand your "doom and gloom" attitude when it comes to DIY homeowners messing with gas lines.. To set your mind at ease, I am an engineer myself and have all the skilled labor experience I require for the job or I wouldn't dream of doing it myself. I have welded 1500 PSI dry steam lines, installed 800 amp buss duct, 10 million BTU boilers, and have designed more machinery than I can remember.

    What sometimes troubles me is the cross over from what is acceptable in a residential setting as compared to an industrial setting. They are usually minor things but I like to pay attention to details that way.
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