Making changes to your houses natural gas line can be a scary prospect for most home owners. Shelling out a few hundred dollars for a 2 hour job might be justifiable when you consider the alternative of blowing up your house. While these ideas sound pretty crazy to anyone who has worked on a gas line, to the uninformed it sounds completely plausible.
While working on a gas line can be dangerous, if you follow directions and don’t do anything stupid (like lighting a cigarette near the opening of the line, or really at any time your working on a gas line) you will be fine.
What You’ll Need:
- New Gas Lines
- T2 Pipe Joint Compound
- A few Elbows (if your using a metal line) and a T connector (or a larger splitter for more connections)
- Gas lines
- A Valve for Each Line
- Pipe Wrench
Steps to Safely Perform a Gas Line Installation
The first step to making a change in your gas line is to find out the size of the connectors you are going to need. Climb down to where the gas lines are and measure the connection where you plan on branching off. Measurements go by the inside diameter but if you get the outside measurement you can guess or ask for help at a hardware store. For instance a 7/8” connection would actually be around ½” when you buy it from the store.
You will need to get some T2 pipe joint compound as well as a few elbow connectors and a T connector. Typically when you are working on the gas line you will only be adding one or two lines at a time. If you are adding more than one line you will want to get more than one T connector or a larger splitter.
You also have to make all the measurements for the line or lines you are going to buy. They have flexible PVC lines that allow for imperfect measurements but you should get your measurements as close as you possibly can, especially if you are using something like steel that is not so forgiving.
The most important thing to remember when preparing for a gas line installation of any kind is to disconnect the existing gas line and let the gas drain from the line before doing anything. To do this you just take your pipe wrench and turn the valve on the line a quarter turn. You will know it is off because there will be two holes that line up with one another. If you turn the line too far just keep turning until the holes line up again. It is a ball valve and can be turned indefinitely.
After you have shut off the gas you will simply open up a connection in the gas line near where you plan to work. The gas should flow out nice and slowly, and this is a good point to walk away for a few minutes to avoid inhaling too much gas.
The next step is to install the splitter. To do this you just have to remove the old section in the line and screw the new section on. Make sure to put joint compound on male ends of both sides of the connection. The compound is what is going to hold this line together and prevent gas leaks.
After your new splitter is in place you simply have to branch off of it to your new gas line or lines. Follow the same guidelines you did when you installed the splitter. Make sure to apply the joint compound and at the end of each of the lines you should install a shutoff valve as well.
The valves are pretty straight forward and install like the rest of the connections. Make sure to read the box for any special instructions they might have.
After the valves are on you are pretty much home free. Now it is time to test your new gas line and see if it is leak free. Make up a mixture of half dish washing liquid and half water. Rub it over all of the connections along your line and then turn the gas on. If there is a leak you will see bubbles forming at that part of the connection. If there is a leak just turn off the gas line, unscrew that joint and apply more joint compound. Put it back together and test again.
This testing phase is very important in making sure your gas line installation is safe and sound.