Natural gas provides a cost-effective and convenient means for heating the home for millions of people. A natural gas heating system needs to be installed correctly and use the correct type of pipes in order to function effectively and safely. If you are planning on installing a natural gas heating system, you should consider your options before using galvanized pipe.
One of the first considerations you have to make, when determining whether or not to use galvanized pipe and fittings for natural gas, is if it is legal to do so in your area. Communities have different codes in regard to the use of certain building materials, and galvanized pipe is no exception. A perusal of various construction forums on the Internet will reveal that there are many geographic areas that allow the use of galvanized pipe and those that do not.
The main issue with regard to the use of galvanized pipe for natural gas is the fact that natural gas is known to corrode the inside of galvanized pipes over time. However, as noted by ThePlumber.com, this was mainly true of older galvanized pipe. Improvements in the manufacturing process have made galvanized pipe much less susceptible to such corrosion. Because of this, some gas companies use galvanized pipe regularly in heating system installations.
The delivery of natural gas into homes can also be a contributing factor in reducing the problems associated with the use of galvanized pipe. Natural gas is piped in at a low pressure, making the pipes less susceptible to its corrosive effects. However, an issue in terms of the overall safety of galvanized pipe is the way that the gas is treated by the gas company before it is piped out to customers. Additives used by some companies may contribute to faster pipe corrosion, thus making the possibility of using galvanized pipe impossible.
Many homes utilize galvanized pipe for water plumbing purposes as well, which could prove problematic when it comes to making repairs. To eliminate any confusion between the gas and water pipes, some contractors use black pipe for gas. This pipe generally costs less than heavier galvanized steel pipe. If you opt to use galvanized pipe in a home with galvanized plumbing, paint the gas pipe with some type of colored marking to distinguish between the two.
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