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Can You Use Copper Tubing for Natural Gas? (Explained)

The copper tubing has various uses depending on the purpose. You can use it for fuel lines, water supply, Air Conditioning and other appliances. It is highly made with copper material to become the best compatible pipeline.

But it has some constraints using the copper tubing everywhere; it will not become the perfect pipe for installation for some reasons. We will know them in the following sections.

Can you use copper tubing for natural gas?

You cannot use copper tubing for natural gas because it is not recommended and the safest way for the gas line. You will only find some specific copper tubing suitable for natural gas. Mainly, you will discover type K copper to use for tubing for natural gas.

If the natural gas comes with 0.3 grains per cubic foot, you cannot use the copper tubing or similar piping for the natural gas. It would be better to avoid them if the percentage is more than that because installing the copper tubing will become a risk.

Although the copper tubing would be an excellent fit for the water and air-conditioning pipeline, it won’t be a perfect fit for natural gas.

You should use metal or stainless steel pipelines for the natural gas or the gas lines. You cannot expect to use a weak and breakable pipeline for gas or fuel.

Also, all the metal pipes are not fit for natural gas. You must use a rust-free line that will last for a very long time. The regular pipelines will be damaged very soon because of the gas nature and the corrosive nature.

Using the standard copper tubing will rust, and you won’t get the durable fittings from the copper tube. If it leaks, it will be significant damage to the environment and a great loss. So, you should avoid using copper tubing.

If you genuinely want to use the copper tubing for natural gas, use the recommended or some specific copper tubes.

They will fit better and give you the best fittings because of their sturdy build and long-lasting effect. Remember, you cannot expect the copper tubing will last as the metal pipe.

Can you run copper gas pipe outside?

You can run the copper gas pipe outside. A gas line to the exterior is a simple job that you may complete independently. A significant amount of people are doing this regularly. However, you may be required to obtain the freeholders’ consent to do so in any situation.

This is entirely safe and is what most people do when they move gas pipework. In this case, it cuts down on the gas pipe run, which means less of a pressure drop.

It is also entirely safe to run a gas pipe externally as long as the pipe is adequately clipped and sleeved through the wall before being exposed to the outside elements. It’s legal to use it outside and within gas regulations.

Although you can use the copper gas pipe outside, you must be careful about the size and other requirements. You cannot use the wrong size or wrongly installed copper pipe outside.

It will damage the pipe internally and will ruin the outside pipelines too. Moreover, the copper gas pipe needs to be in type K & L.

Otherwise, you cannot use it outside the house or externally. These types will give you the best compatible fittings outside or external piping’s.

Do copper feed lines for Natural gas meet code?

Copper feed lines for natural gas meet code. Since 1989, copper feed pipes for natural gas have been allowed in the United States.

People in the United States of America were able to use copper tubes and copper alloy fittings inside their homes in 1989 when the National Fuel Gas Code changed (USA).

Copper gas pipes can only be used in many places because some places don’t allow them because of their significant threat.

After a short period, natural gas generates a buildup of Copper Sulfate inside the copper, which will, at the very least, cause the copper to vibrate loose and cause all gas valves to malfunction.

As a result, many regions no longer consider copper tubing code compliant. They are subject to strict code rules because copper pipes have an expected life of only 20 years.

3 reasons why you cannot use copper tubing for natural gas

You cannot use copper tubing for three significant reasons. You can also consider these causes as the disadvantage of using copper for natural gas. Apart from these reasons, the build quality and the structure of the copper pipe are also a big concern.

Let’s see why you cannot use copper tubing for natural gas.

Lack of Heat Resistance:

You cannot use the copper tubing because of the lack of heat resistance; although it can resist up to 180°F, sometimes the heat of the gasoline pipe goes beyond that. In that case, it will be difficult for the copper tubing to bear that heat.

As a result, the copper tube will cause deformation and might get damaged. You cannot do anything or apply any protective layer to increase the overall life of the copper tube. That’s why you cannot use copper tubes for natural gas.

Ruin the Gas Authenticity:

Since copper pipe gets a chemical reaction and will produce an unusual creator, it will ruin the gas authenticity.

That means the copper tube might damage the gas quality. Eventually, the copper pipeline will disrupt the gas pressure.

You won’t get the expected fuel consumption due to the copper tube structure and build material. They will equally damage the gas quality. Therefore, you can’t get the best fuel for the gasoline or furnace.

Form Patina/Green Film:

After using your existing copper pipe for years, it will get the patina or green film on the surface.

They are another big reason you cannot use copper tubing for natural gas. When the natural gas runs through the green films, the gas will be damaged dramatically.

Patina or green film is the garbage of the copper tube. They are like rust; although they are not precisely rust, they will damage the copper pipes. And, you should never use rusty or filmy copper tubes for natural gas.

What size is copper tubing for natural gas?

Type K and Type L copper tubing are suitable for natural gas. Copper tubes of both type K and type L have been utilized in natural gas distribution systems for many years.

The length of these tubes varies, but they are typically between 2 and 10 inches in diameter. Each measurement between 0.5 and 1 inch ensures that water and gas can flow freely.

If you plan to utilize it for natural gas within your home, even the smallest pipes (Type L) will be adequate. On the other hand, Thicker ones are required for gas service lines (Type K). It will be necessary to tie smaller copper pipes together to create a vast pipeline.

What type of copper tubing is used for natural gas?

Although you cannot use the copper tubing for natural gas, you might find some specially designed copper tubes made for natural gas.

Manufacturers make some high-end copper pipes for natural gas. Although they are not huge in number, you will find some perfectly matched tubes.

Let’s get the type of copper tubing that you can use for natural gas.

Type K:

Although you cannot use all types of copper tubes for natural gas, you will be happy to know that the type K copper tubes are made for underground gas line systems.

Most gasses are transferred underground, especially if you have a constructed building; you cannot use the internal gas system here.

In that case, the best-suited gas pipe would be TYPE K. It will give you the most secured and the best supported underground gas or fuel transferring system that will be safe and sound.

Type L:

You can also use the Type L copper tube for interior gas line systems. You cover the underground gas line system with the TYPE K pipe, and now you must cover the interior design with the Type L copper tube.

It will give you the best result according to the codes and requirements.

Type L & K are the best suitable copper tube for natural gas. You can use the K type for a grounded gas line and the L type for the interior gas system; it will give you the best gas flow.

Final Thoughts

Although you cannot use the copper tubing for natural gas, you may use the TYPE K & L tube in this case. They are perfectly made for the fuel or gas lines. But you cannot use the regular copper tubes for the natural gas; it will become your worst decision that won’t last for a long.