The Effects of Natural Gas on Copper Tubing

Many people use natural gas for heating their homes or their water.

Copper Sulfide

Natural gas can harm copper tubing.
However, it's important that if you have a system with copper piping that you replace that copper as soon as possible. You should not use copper piping for natural gas because of the effects the gas can have on the pipe, which can affect the safety of the system. .

Natural gas contains some small traces of sulfur. This sulfur interacts with the copper to produce copper sulfide, which is a black, crystalline substance that forms along the interior of the copper pipes. This copper sulfide can be a huge detriment to any system, since it creates a pipe blockage that is never good when you have a system under pressure.

Pipe Weakening

As the interaction of the copper pipe and the sulfur is forming the copper sulfide, the copper comes out of the piping. This weakens the pipe, as the copper is being drawn out of the pipe and into the copper sulfide crystals.


As the pipe fills up with copper sulfide the pressure grows steadily higher. This isn't good, especially because a natural gas pipe system is already under pressure. With the weakening of the copper pipe and the creation of a larger and larger block it can lead to a rupture of the pipe. Additionally the crystals can grow over any sort of stopgap mechanism that keeps the natural gas from flowing out when the pilot light isn't lit.

About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.