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A neighbor put rubber foam insulation on the exposed length of steel pipe from the meter into the house . Is this a good idea ?

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    On the side exposed to the elements? (No). Inside the home, not exposed to the elements? (Doesn't matter, it's unnecessary). Generally, the pipe is supposed to be painted in many areas by code. – noybman Dec 30 '19 at 2:14
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The temperature at which methane liquefies is around -258°F (-161°C), and it doesn't freeze until -296°F (-182°C). If it's cold enough to freeze the gas in your pipes, you have bigger things to worry about!

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    I doubt methane liquifying is the concern here... – ThreePhaseEel Dec 30 '19 at 23:43
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HECK NO ! I just came from the subject neighbors house where I held a flashlight while the gas company man removed the meter and associated pipe because the owners pipe going from the meter into the house was corroded through and leaking (blowing bubbles with soap water) the whole 16" inch exposed length. Apparently it was ordinary 1.5 " diameter steel pipe, approximately 15 years old ( age of the house) and is now covered in thick loose rust. I did not touch the rust as it is not my house. The neighbor is out of town is why I was there. As soon as I got home I looked at my 20 year old uninsulated pipe ; it looks excellent. The gas man was there because the gas had been shut off and a gas company notice tag left on the front door. Contractors working next door noticed gas smell and shut off the meter. After removal of the pipe part of it could be crushed by hand.

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  • This sounds fishy. Not impossible, but fishy. Most (if not all???) municipalities will not even turn on the gas or let alone connect to it if it is not the correct schedule pipe. Sounds odd that it was "tagged & off" and noticed almost haphazardly or by coincidence. But if it was OFF, then it wouldn't be blowing gas. Your neighbors are lucky. – noybman Dec 30 '19 at 2:20
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    Ohhhh.... if you are taking care of the home for them, and are in a cold climate, assuming they use gas for heat, be sure to get some heat going in there and run some water at a trickle so pipes dont freeze. (hot and cold considering his "gas water heater" is off). – noybman Dec 30 '19 at 2:22
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    @noybman -- I think it was tagged and off because the gas company person coincidentally noticed something wrong – ThreePhaseEel Dec 30 '19 at 2:56
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    The neighbor got lucky. The plumbing contractor was able to unthread the pipe from out side and is now threading in a new 18" length. I thought the corroded pipe would collapse before breaking the 15 + yr old connection. The inside fitting is apparently an elbow as they did not need to hold it to remove and replace the bad pipe. Now need city inspection and new gas meter. – blacksmith37 Dec 30 '19 at 22:17
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    This again is sending alarm bells off in my mind and sincerely, I would get away from this situation completely. No plumber/contractor/gas supply specialist/technician or anyone else should BLINDLY be replaceing gas pipe through a hole and NOT holding/securing the pipe on the inside. There are far too many things that can go wrong. This isn't luck, this is stupidity. And the appliance in the home COULD have pilots that need to be re-lit to begin operating again. If no one has access to the interior, no one should be messing with it. – noybman Dec 31 '19 at 1:14
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No, but it just have to have inside junction made by soldering (and not made with "tightening-type" fittings) or be contained into another pipe closed on the "inside". So an eventual gas leak is routed trough the outer pipe to the ouside, this at under UNI regulations.

So steel pipe is usually not adopted for indoor usage because it needs "outer pipe", copper is used instead for the inside.

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    Not understanding where the idea of soldering & using copper is coming from given this was described as a natural gas delivery system with a meter where this area is using black iron pipe – noybman Dec 31 '19 at 1:18
  • It's just the UNI regulation that prescribe use of soldered junctions inside buildings to prevent leakage from "loose" fittings. If someone wants to use non-fixed joints on gas pipe on the inside have to run the main pipe into another pipe that has a sealed end inside (just the gas tap could exit) and an open end on the outside so an eventual leakage from the 'loose' joints of the inner tube will be vented outside. Soldered copper is far less leaky in junctions so could run without the "protective" pipe that has to be present only when passing walls (to prevent gas to build up into walls). – DDS Dec 31 '19 at 9:54
  • Natural gas is heavier than air, so unless you are fitting pipes sealing the gravity side, which would need its own seal mechanism, this wouldn't provide any safety. It would also obscure the soldered joint. (solder is not perfect) – noybman Dec 31 '19 at 17:44
  • Natural gas is LIGHTER than air (6hg/m^3 vs 1,2kg/mc of air). – DDS Jan 2 at 8:31
  • If it is pure, yes (I should have been more specific), I was only trying to suggest that if the end that remains in the house is not adequately sealed it wouldn't be useful to stick one pipe inside another. – noybman Jan 2 at 17:43

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