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Use of Black Iron Pipe for Propane

Dale Yalanovsky

Running black iron pipe for propane use might seem like a daunting task, and you will pay a professional dearly to get the job done. The reality is that, as long as you have the right tools and basic pipe fitting know-how, this is a very good do-it-yourself project.

Raw black gas pipe

Running black iron pipe for propane use might seem like a daunting task, and you will pay a professional dearly to get the job done. The reality is that, as long as you have the right tools and basic pipe fitting know-how, this is a very good do-it-yourself project.

Depending upon how much pipe needs to be put in, this can be done during an afternoon, with the potential of saving you hundreds of dollars in installation costs.

Tools and supplies

Balck pipe connectors and couplings

You will need two pipe wrenches; one to grip the pipe and the other to tighten it. You will also need a bottle of TFE Teflon paste, a roll of Teflon tape, a tape measure, some pipe hangers and the black pipe, which is available at any hardware store.

You will need to measure carefully to insure that you get the right amount of pipe. It comes is a variety of sizes, so you will be able to mix and match connectors and couplings without having to cut any piping that you'll need.

When everything is hooked up, you'll also need a small bucket of mixed dishwashing detergent to check all the connections for leaks.

Preperation

Propane tank turn-off valve

You will want to make sure the gas from the propane tank is turned off before you start, then check the entire area where the piping will run and remove any obstructions. You will need to be fairly precise when measuring how much pipe you need, but always make sure to pick up a few extra smaller links and connectors just to be sure. If not used, these can always be returned to the hardware store for a full refund.

Doing the job

Finished black pipe job

For each section of pipe you use before connecting it to another piece, you want to wrap Teflon tape on the threads and then liberally cover that with TFE paste. It is important that you don't skimp on the paste, and any that gets squeezed out during tightening can be wiped off later if you so choose.

Connect the first pipe to the propane tank while attaching a wrench to the connection fitting on the tank itself. Hold that wrench firmly, then screw your first piece of pipe in with another wrench. Always use two wrenches when coupling pipes together. This stops torque-induced damage to the fitting and its threads.

Continue on this way for the duration of the project, using couplings when needed, coating pipes with tape and paste, and tightening down the connections firmly.

When the hook up is complete, attach pipe hangers, as needed, for support.

Checking for leaks

Once finished, you'll need to turn the gas on to pressurize the pipes. Then, taking your bucket of dish soap mix, use a sponge or a rag and liberally drip this soapy mix over each connection. If there is a leak, the connection point will begin to bubble and you will have to turn off the gas, unscrew the fitting, re-tape and re-paste the threads, and tighten it down again.

Continue checking every connection like this, making sure you drip enough soapy water solution on the connection to ensure 100 percent coverage. Never ever use any type of flame like a match or a lighter to check for gas leaking. Doing that may cause a dangerous explosion.

The Drip Cap

  • Running black iron pipe for propane use might seem like a daunting task, and you will pay a professional dearly to get the job done.
  • When everything is hooked up, you'll also need a small bucket of mixed dishwashing detergent to check all the connections for leaks.
  • You will want to make sure the gas from the propane tank is turned off before you start, then check the entire area where the piping will run and remove any obstructions.
  • If not used, these can always be returned to the hardware store for a full refund.
  • Always use two wrenches when coupling pipes together.
  • Doing that may cause a dangerous explosion.