How to Install Pipes for Gas Lights

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Gas lights can be used to add ambiance to a room or to provide inexpensive lighting outdoors. Although working on gas pipes can be dangerous, if done with proper caution it is a project that an average homeowner can tackle. If your gas lines are in a basement, attic or crawl space it can be easy to tap in and add additional outlets. You can mix and match traditional black pipe and newer flexible gas tubing.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Pressure test gauge
  • Air compressor
  • Gas pipe or flexible line
  • Fittings
  • Pipe putty or tape

Check with your local building agency to see if any permits are needed, and allow yourself enough time to apply for and obtain the permits.

Determine where you will tap into the existing gas line. Usually this will be a fitting in the line, closest to the area in which you wish to add lights.

Decide if you wish to use black metal pipe or flexible tubing. Consider that flexible tubing can go around obstacles and needs fewer fittings because it can bend up to 90 degrees without a fitting. Measure the length of piping needed and the diameter of pipe to determine the fittings needed.Sketch a basic outline of your planned addition and make a supply list. Purchase necessary supplies.

Turn off the gas at the meter or tank. If you do not have a shut off valve, consult your gas provider. Gas will remain in the line unless you have a bleeder valve to release the pressure.

Open the gas line at a joint by unscrewing the pipe from the fitting. If the area is not well ventilated, wear a respirator. Note: if you have to cut the line with a saw, be sure you have released all pressure from the line to reduce the risk of explosion or fire.

Add a fitting that has one more outlet than the original fitting. If it was a two-opening 90-degree elbow, add a three-opening T and so on. Use pipe putty or gas rated thread tape on the pipe threads when joining gas pipe. Insert the pipe into the fitting and tighten with a pipe wrench.

Run the new pipe to the area in which you wish to place a light. You may need to remove drywall if adding pipe indoors. Follow the code rules in your local area. Add a shutoff valve outside the wall for each light added. The light may come with a shutoff valve or you may need to purchase one separately.

Install the light fixture per manufacturer's instructions.

Check the line for leaks. Place a gas pressure test gauge on the end of the line near the meter. Note: do not attach the line to the meter until after you have performed the pressure test. Close all gas valves in your home, i.e., stove, dryer, water heater.

Pressurize the line with an air compressor with 10 PSI. Leave the gauge on the line for six to eight hours. Return and check that he pressure is still at 10 PSI. If it is less, you must find the leak. Use a spray bottle with water and dish soap and spray on each joint. Leaks will create air bubbles. Call for inspection while the pressure gauge is still attached and pressurized if required in your area.

Reconnect the line to the meter when you are absolutely sure there are no leaks and when inspection has been approved, if necessary.. Turn all valves back on. Turn the meter valve on. Repair any drywall and paint as necessary.

Turn your new light on and enjoy. Note: you may need to manually light with a match or lighter if your light does not have electronic ignition.

Tips & Warnings

  • Flexible gas pipe is yellow. In some areas it must be installed by a licensed plumber.
  • Natural gas and propane have additives that you can smell for added safety as both of these gasses are naturally odorless.
  • Galvanized pipe should not be used for gas as the coating degrades over time when exposed to the chemicals in gas.
  • Use appropriate safety measures when working with gas: no smoking, no open flames, wear a respirator and safety goggles.
  • Sparks may cause explosion, use caution when using power tools around gas.

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