Author Topic: How can I determine whether a pipe in my basement is the right one?  (Read 563 times)

webguy

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Hey guys, this is kind of a random question but know there’s a lot of knowledge in these forums so thought I’d try asking it here!...

We have a natural gas line running out to our deck for a grill to hook up to. The only problem is that it isn’t hooked up to the gas. I checked in our basement and there’s a copper pipe (which matches the diameter of the pipe in question) which is cut off as it enters the basement. I’m pretty sure this is the pipe, but I’m not 100% certain. Are there any “tricks of the trade” for determining whether the pipe is the correct one? Both ends of the pipe are open so I was contemplating the following:

- shout into one end and have my wife listen to see if she hears me the other end
- pour water in one end and see if it comes out the other
- light a match at the basement end and see if the smoke comes out the top end at the deck

None of these options seem ideal. Any other suggestions?

JLee

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Hey guys, this is kind of a random question but know there’s a lot of knowledge in these forums so thought I’d try asking it here!...

We have a natural gas line running out to our deck for a grill to hook up to. The only problem is that it isn’t hooked up to the gas. I checked in our basement and there’s a copper pipe (which matches the diameter of the pipe in question) which is cut off as it enters the basement. I’m pretty sure this is the pipe, but I’m not 100% certain. Are there any “tricks of the trade” for determining whether the pipe is the correct one? Both ends of the pipe are open so I was contemplating the following:

- shout into one end and have my wife listen to see if she hears me the other end
- pour water in one end and see if it comes out the other
- light a match at the basement end and see if the smoke comes out the top end at the deck

None of these options seem ideal. Any other suggestions?

I would keep fire far away from gas lines.  Do you have an air compressor?  You could stick the nozzle end of an air line in the end and blast some air through - should be pretty obvious on the other side. You could probably do the same with PC cleaning duster gas, too.

MetalCap

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Gas Pipe should not be copper, it should be painted steel or galvanized.

Is your gas meter on?

Most likely the meter or a valve somewhere is turned off. 

Be very careful putting anything more than light air in a pipe that is unknown.  Water can mess up a gas line, strong pressure can blow out a water line.

Miss Piggy

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So...you have two ends of a copper pipe, with both ends open/unattached to anything? One end indoors and one outdoors, presumably? Presumably, you therefore have a hole in the house somewhere, through which the pipe is sticking? If that's the case, can you not simply remove the copper pipe and use the hole to start fresh with a proper gas line?

BDWW

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Is the pipe at the grill copper? As others mentioned, gas line isn't/shouldn't be copper.

If you have a long piece of wire you can run out a window or something, you could use a continuity tester. Basically, wire + battery and light bulb. Hook one end of the wire to the pipe outside, and though the battery+lightbulb to the other end of the pipe. Basically using the pipe to complete the circuit. If it lights up, you can be reasonably sure that's the pipe you're looking at.

Fishindude

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If you can't get past this mystery on your own, you should seriously consider hiring a qualified plumber to get gas service to your grill rather than DIY.

jpdx

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Copper is usually for water.  But if you need to follow it, can you push a cable snack through the pipe?

Gone Fishing

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I've seen tons of propane supply lines, running from outdoor tanks to the inside, made of copper, including my own.  Maybe code varies depending on location.

MetalCap

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Copper shouldn't be used for gas because the solder joints can be thin and wear out, leading to undetected leaks.  Especially if the pipe is enclosed in a wall or floor where regular inspection can not occur.  I can look for a citation but I'm positive that copper is no longer allowed.

I'm with BDWW and Fishindude,  fish wire gently through if you can, don't push hard on copper.  With gas its never bad to seek the help of a professional.

Gone Fishing

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I can check, but I don't think there are any solder joints in the copper tubing.  They use brass fittings.