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One of the propane rubber hoses in a portable generator has cracked and broken in several spots while the other one is in fine condition. As a stop gap a washing machine supply line was cut and used. Is there something about the propane that requires a special kind of material for the hose?

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I'm going to let someone who knows the details answer this, but what I do know is that water lines and gas lines are not created equally and I would have serious doubts as to the safety of using a water supply line for gas. This could potentially be very dangerous. –  Steven Jan 11 '12 at 20:36
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I would not run propane through a water line - not even once. Propane molecules and water molecules have very different properties requiring different fittings and tolerances. I've had propane hoses for heaters go bad as you describe, once with nearly catastrophic consequences, so I barely trust hoses rated for propane. I'm not a plumber so I can't explain the technical details but I certainly wouldn't risk my life or property so that I could save the $14 a new hose would cost –  kloucks Jan 11 '12 at 21:38
    
This is an easy one. Call your gas company and tell them you smell gas. They'll come replace the hose for free, at least mine will. –  Trout Jan 11 '12 at 23:48
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I don't think that the gas company will come replace a line in a private piece of equipment. –  Karl Katzke Jan 12 '12 at 15:54
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1 Answer 1

Simple answer - yes, it needs to be rated to supply gas.

Two reasons:

  • water molecules are bigger, so permeability is less of an issue for water, hence your hose pipe may actually allow gas to escape
  • gas is explosive, so any mistake here may be considerably more serious than getting a water pipe wrong

If you need guidance, call your local gas company for advice - the good thing is that these pipes aren't expensive, so you'll pick one up for very little.

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