What Do You Use Black Pipe For?

Black pipe, a form of steel pipe, was widely used in homes built before the 1960s.

Natural Gas

Black pipe has been replaced with PVC for water supply lines, in most cases.Black pipe has been replaced with PVC for water supply lines, in most cases.
It has since been largely replaced with PVC or copper pipe. However, some still use black pipe for applications such as gas lines because of its durability. The black appearance is caused by a black oxide scale that forms on the surface when the steel pipe is forged. It is then coated with a protective oil. For residential water lines, drain waste lines and vent lines, black pipe has largely been replaced with PVC pipe.

Black pipe is used for the distribution of natural gas both inside the house to fireplaces, stoves and furnaces, as well as outside to the main gas line.

Propane Gas

Propane gas is also distributed using black pipe both inside and outside the house. Like natural gas, propane gas is delivered to furnaces, fireplaces and stoves inside the house. The storage line typically goes to a propane supply tank located outside the house.

Water Supply

In homes built before the 1960s black pipe was often used to transport water from either wells or the main water supply line to inside the home. Due to corrosion, however, black pipe has largely been replaced with PVC pipe.

Boiler Systems

Because of its durability, black pipe is used for hot-water circulation in boiler systems found in businesses, schools and industrial applications.

Oil and Petroleum Industry

The oil and petroleum industry use black pipe because of its strength and durability. Black pipe is used at oil refineries, on oil rigs and for offshore refineries.

About the Author

Andre Zollars started writing in 1999, when she worked in the editorial department at "The Missoulian." She has been published in "Endovascular Today," "High Country Angler," "Outside Bozeman" and "Western Ag Reporter." She also has written for online magazines New West, Hunting and Fishing USA. Zollars holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington.