Underground copper gas line

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by seth1981, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. seth1981

    seth1981 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2021
    Location:
    denver
    I have a copper gas line running from the crawl space, under the backyard, and up into the garage (vertically thru the concrete floor).

    When I bought the house, an inspector told me it wasn't to code and I should cap it. I have not yet done this. There are shutoffs for the line in crawl space and in the garage at the termination.

    Both the takeoff (in crawl space) and capped termination (in garage) are done in black pipe. In the crawl space the copper line dives straight down into the dirt ground, apparently not in any protective tubing.

    While this may be a current code violation, imagine the line is older than the code restriction, as the garage is probably ~40 years old.

    I've never opened the shutoff for the line as I fear the copper line could be leaking and i wouldn't know since it's underground. I don't use gas in the garage, but I'd leave it in place if it's not regarded as 'dangerous'. I could test the line to see if it holds pressure if it wasn't in fact a blatant code violation.

    The question is - is this likely a safe or unsafe run? Should I just disconnect and cap the 3/4" black pipe line leading to the copper? I'm comfortable doing this, and it would be easy to do.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I have never seen a copper gas line in practice. I see other plumbers have read this, and are also reluctant to comment.
    The one issue I see is that since it's really never done, does that confuse people in the future, not knowing it's a gas line and assuming it's a water line. If it's water coming out, that's pretty obvious. Gas isn't so obvious. They do put a chemical in the gas so that you can smell it, though with COVID, there are a few people out there that wouldn't notice that.
    My sister that has had COVID didn't realize it for days that one of her dogs had pooped in the house. She didn't smell it but finally did see it. It was a pretty nasty discovery for her. That and forgetting how to make her favorite dishes suddenly.

    If you aren't using the line, it may be a good idea to cap after the gas valve in the crawl space.
    Or maybe before the gas valve.
     
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  4. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    dumb question , if you haven't opened valve What makes you so sure its gas and or that its live? but in any case I wouldn't have any pipe pressurized that's abandoned . even water for what ? just to leak . and an old gas line underground all the more. I would kill any underground pipe before it goes underground the closer to source the better no live pipes go unused
     
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  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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  6. wwhitney

    wwhitney Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2019
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    The main safety issue here is that underground gas lines under a building need to be sleeved, with the sleeve vented outside, right?

    Cheers, Wayne
     
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  7. Paulypfunk

    Paulypfunk In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    UPC chapter 12 allows for the use of copper pipe as long as the supplied gas has a low hydrogen sulfide content. I’ve done a few here in Seattle, for fire pits or outbuilding hook ups. Braised IPS adapters on the end, spray paint the piping yellow, under 18” deep. Passed inspection every time.
     
  8. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    yes copper can be used. I dont care if its legal or not or whether it was installed to code 40 years ago. If the pipe isnt needed or wanted why leave a live gas line under your slab? but as far as being legal just a few days ago a guy posted picture of his basement with soft copper coming down and it was running at 2 psi with regulator below legal maybe The gas company relocated the meter from basement to above ground evedently didnt bother them any
     
  9. Paulypfunk

    Paulypfunk In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    The other alternative for outdoor work is poly with rigid risers or you could completely sleeve and vent csst but that is even more work.
     
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