0

Background context: As executor, I'm in the process of selling my late father's house. I have an offer pending; following the home inspection, the prospective buyers have submitted a list of concerns they would like to see addressed, along with corresponding sums of money they'd like to have knocked off the agreed-upon purchase price. Some of their cost estimates / requests are not altogether unreasonable, some ... not so much.

There is one item on the list I'm having trouble evaluating. The inspector noted that the copper gas line feeding a gas fireplace was not protected as it passed through the metal casing of the fireplace. See photo below from the inspector's report.

Photo of unprotected copper gas line passing through metal frame of gas fireplace

So, I agree that this is an issue, and I'm willing to address it. But how "easy" a fix is this?

Can I just wrap some kind of approved protective sleeve around the copper pipe over a short length spanning the opening? Would wrapping it with ROXUL or some similar fire-rated insulation work? Does the protection have to be on the copper pipe, or could I, for example, put some kind of plastic/foam protection around the sharp edges of the metal casing for the fireplace?

Or is this something that will require a more involved/less DIY-friendly fix? (E.g., the gas line has to be disconnected, a metal sheath added, and the gas line reconnected.)

I guess my question is ultimately -- is this a DIY type fix requiring $25 in materials and a healthy dose of profanity, or is this something requiring a professional at a cost on the order of a couple hundred dollars (figuring "dispatch fees" and all the other usual overhead)?

House is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Any and all comments or suggestions welcome.

1

For me, there is nothing wrong with the copper tubing used as long as it is not touching the sharp metal of the hole. For someone that is looking for anything to complain about, well it is time to correct the problem. You can "GOOGLE" CPVC bulkhead fittings or go to the web site (PVC pipe supplies .com ) and click on the picture with the same heading for a possible solution. The fittings or similar item can be purchased at electrical stores or most home improvement stores that sell electrical conduit. A second fix may be to use a snap-in insulating bushing which you should be able to find at the same previously mentioned sources. A third fix would be to replace some of the copper with schedule 40 black iron pipe (standard piping ). You will of course have to disconnect the copper tubing to install the bushings. Hope this helps.

  • I will check electrical insulating bushings (one of my ideas), but I have a sneaking suspicion that the hole will not be a standard size (e.g., 1-1/4"). If the objective is merely to prevent contact with the sharp metal edge of the hole, are you aware of any retrofit type sleeves suitable for a the gas line, similar to those used for insulation of water pipes? (Essentially a tube with a slit down one side, that you slip over the piping.) After all, we're not trying to contain the gas in the event of a break in the line, but rather to provide a softer point of contact between the two. – Confused-cius Jul 6 '18 at 15:14
  • I did low voltage computer wiring (I never do high voltage wiring for my customers as I am not an electrician) years ago where a customer was building offices inside a warehouse, and the inspector made us put bushings everywhere the wires went through the metal studs. Since we didn't want to rerun the cables, we slit the bushings and installed them around the cables already in place. Not sure if that would work here, but it might. – manassehkatz Jul 6 '18 at 17:45
1

You are entitled to do the minimum that satisfies the code, and what the prospective buyers will accept. Contact the local code enforcement. It looks to me like the copper line could be gently and carefully bent away from the sharp edge and some sort of collar placed around it or grommet inserted into the sheet metal hole.

EDIT Soft copper tubing allowed in Canada

Specifying Copper Tube Table 1 identifies the different types of copper tube allowable for use in fuel gas distribution systems in the U.S.A., along with the identification and availability of each type. Types K and L copper tube (ASTM B 88) and ACR tube (ASTM B 280), up to and including 1-inch outside diameter, have been used in fuel gas systems for many years. Usually, Type L is used for interior distribution systems and Type K for any underground lines. Though not commonly used in the U.S.A., seamless copper tube Type GAS (ASTM B 837) is commonly used and required in Canada for gas distribution systems.

In my NG fired furnace black iron pipe is used for the run of gas supply that goes through a sharp edged hole into the furnace. Between that point and the black iron gas line coming out of the wall is bendable, corrugated special gas supply line.

A few years later the same reputable HVAC company that installed our furnace 27 years ago installed a similiar furnace in a rental house we owned in the same neighborhood. In that installation the corrugated special gas line goes through that sharp edged hole, i.e., no black iron pipe. I have the impression that this is not as well regarded an installation.

This corrugated gas line (used to be brass but could now be stainless steel) is coated inside to prevent corrosion from the sulfur chemicals (mercaptans) added to natural gas to give the distinctive odor.

It is my understanding that mercaptans react with uncoated copper and degrade it. I have heard of this reaction leading to catastrophic failure. I cannot understand how regular soft copper tubing could be allowed by code for gas supply inside a building. However I have heard the use of soft copper in gas piping is not rare.

If it were my house, I would find out what the local code requires, but I would not be satisfied with a connection which satisfies the code and is a high standard. If the code allows the use of the special corrugated gas line through a sharp edged hole in the sheet metal a capable DIYer could install that himself.

The connections of these corrugated gas supply lines are a type of flare in which no thread compound is required. The threads of the nuts are used to force a soft seal to a hard metal cone. You could turn off the gas at the tap and replace the soft copper line with the proper length of special corrugated gas supply line with the proper sized end fittings.

It is possible that an adapter would be needed on one or both ends. If a threaded adapter is required then thread joint compound would be required on the threads. If you have never done this type of connections, you might want to have a professional fitting.

Gas connections for NG fired furnace, tankless water heater

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.