Installing Gas Pipe Fittings

What You'll Need
Pre-threaded galvanized steel pipe
Galvanized fittings
Teflon tape
Pipe-jointing compound
Small air-compressor
Mercury or air gauge
Empty detergent bottle
Pipe wrench

Installing gas pipe fittings properly is extremely important for the transportation of gas and for safety as well. The pipes that distribute the gas should be made of galvanized steel because it is better able to withstand knocks without leading to leaks. Other forms of piping are more fragile and therefore more prone to fail under difficult conditions. As galvanized steel pipe is dipped in zinc, any faults there were in the pipe are filled during this process. This is not the case for untreated pipes.

Step 1 – Inspection

Inspect the pipes you’ll be using carefully. You’ll need to check the threads for damage such as deformities and cracking. Now do the same for the fittings.

Step 2 – Begin the Installation

Take a roll of Teflon tape and start to wrap it around the pipe threads until it is approximately four layers thick. When you have reached the required depth of tape, do this for all remaining pipe threads that will used in the installation.

Next, you will need the pipe-jointing compound. Apply a thin layer of the compound to the treads on the inside of the pipe. Again, repeat this process for each pipe being used in the installation.

Step 3 – Connect the Gas Pipe Fittings

Connect the pipes to the gas pipe fittings using a pipe wrench. If you have any problems fixing them together, do not just be satisfied that you managed to tighten them up, as this could lead to leaks. It’s better to start again and re-check the threads on the pipe and fittings and replace if necessary.

Step 4 – Pressure Testing

The next step is to test  the gas pipe fittings by performing a pressure test. Using a small compressor with a constant pressure (the type most commonly used for airbrushing), you can now check for leaks while the compressor is running. What you want is the pressure to remain the same throughout the test, showing that there aren’t any leaks. Use a mercury air gauge for this.

If the pressure drops, then you will need to fill the empty detergent bottle with soapy water and spray onto the pipe. Any leaks will cause the soapy liquid to form small, but visible bubbles. Having located the leak, repair and retest it, by repeating steps 1 through 4 above.

Once you’ve got the system working with a constant pressure, the pressure testing is complete and you can move on to the final phase.

Step 5 – Final Phase

The final phase is straightforward. Use a more powerful compressor to blow any the accumulated debris, such as pieces of Teflon tape, bits of metal and accumulated dust and dirt, from inside the pipes, so that the gas line is clear.

You may want, or regulations may demand, that you get a professional to check over your installation to give you the all-clear plus piece of mind. You are now ready to turn on the gas and start using the supply.