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  1. #1
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    Default Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    I do home inspections in MN and I have never seen a gas line connected like this before, wondering if this is incorrect and if so, what would be the best way to explain it on the report.

    Thank you for your help!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    From which end does the supply come from? The left where the appliance shut off valve is, or from above?

    If from the left, what is the above go to, come from? (There looks to be a gas line pipe going up/coming down from above is the reason for the question.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Daily View Post
    I do home inspections in MN and I have never seen a gas line connected like this before, wondering if this is incorrect and if so, what would be the best way to explain it on the report.

    Thank you for your help!
    Looks to me like the black pipe runs down vertically alongside the tank, down to the gas shutoff valve (old valve, in-line with the vertical pipe) and tees off to the water heater. The vertical pipe continues further down to another tee (eventually to a sediment trap). On the horizontal leg from the tee, there is another gas shutoff valve which is connected to a copper line. I assume the copper line is for some other gas-fired appliance that was added.

    Where does the copper tubing go?
    Looks like there is some kind of goop on the piping. What is it?

    Looks wrong to me.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Gunnar and I have the same basic questions:

    - What is at each end of each gas line? (to the left and vertically)

    - Which is the supply? (which means that the other gas line goes to something else)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    The supply is coming from above/the black pipe, and supplies the water heater. The left/copper pipe goes behind a wall and from what I can determine connects to another iron pipe that runs to a gas dryer.

    I am not sure what the goop stuff is.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Daily View Post
    The supply is coming from above/the black pipe, and supplies the water heater. The left/copper pipe goes behind a wall and from what I can determine connects to another iron pipe that runs to a gas dryer.

    I am not sure what the goop stuff is.
    Well, if I understand you correctly, you cannot shut off the gas to the water heater without shutting off gas to the dryer. If it were me, I would describe what I saw and recommend corrections by a licensed plumbing contractor.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    My concern wouldn't be the non-essential gas dryer being shut off with the water heater, but with the gas line sizing being as it is supplying both appliances while having been originally sized for only the water heater.

    The response from the seller will likely be 'But it's been working okay for xx years.'

    Gunnar's recommendation of addressing it by a contractor reviewing the installation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    You also might throw in that he pipe has been coated with something to stop it from leaking and there is galvanized pipe mixed with the black pipe.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    ... and there is galvanized pipe mixed with the black pipe.
    Is that a problem?

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Galvanized pipe can have flaking. Which is why "black pipe" is used in natural/propane gas. It is not an issue of reaction between the different pipe.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Is that a problem?
    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Galvanized pipe can have flaking. Which is why "black pipe" is used in natural/propane gas. It is not an issue of reaction between the different pipe.
    Galvanized pipe is allowed to be used for gas piping by most codes (there are some codes which still do not allow galvanized pipe).

    The galvanized coating is on the outside of the pipe, as I recall (I could be wrong, have been before and will be again - I did some Google searches to try to clarify that and could not find anything stating either way).

    Galvanized pipe is coated on the outside for protection against corrosion where the pipe is installed. Ever seen galvanized water pipe rust out fro the inside? (All the time.)

    There is also information out there about not using cut threads for gas piping - cut threads is okay ... as long as the cut threads use the correct die: plumbing and gas dies use tapered threads to allow the threads to seal, while electrical dies cut straight threads (they are presumed "not to seal" and thus the inside of the pipe is considered to be the same location as the outside of the pipe - dry, damp, or wet location).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Galvanized pipe is either dipper in hot zinc solution or electrogalvanized. Interior is galvanized in process.

    For water piping the interior was where galvanizing was wanted to deter rusting. The outside was just a byproduct of process.

    Threads cut onto pipe ends are on outside and therefor less of a concern for rusting. Elbows and the like were threaded before they were zinced/galvanized.

    Originally "black pipe" was cheaper than galvanized. Also the galvanized pipe could have flaking of the interior that would get to valves and orifices. One of the reasons for a "drip leg". So "black" was preferred.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Somewhere in the past, I read that the galvanizing process is better now than in the past and flaking is no longer a concern with using galvanized piping for gas. I'm often asked if the drip leg ever fills up and needs to be cleaned. It's a big country, so I'm sure that has happened, but I've never heard of cleaning a drip/sediment trap out.

    Here's an illustration showing a copper/steel pipe connection.



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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    On the write up part I would say "At the time of inspection, it appears that the gas lines are not installed with current installation practice. Recommend further evaluation by a qualified plumber or HVAC contractor." Then on your photo you can circle it add arrows and add a question mark.

    That is what I have been writing in my report. Or words to that effect.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    On the write up part I would say "At the time of inspection, it appears that the gas lines are not installed with current installation practice. Recommend further evaluation by a qualified plumber or HVAC contractor." Then on your photo you can circle it add arrows and add a question mark.

    That is what I have been writing in my report. Or words to that effect.
    That just makes it sound like you think there is something wrong but you can't express or don't know what is wrong.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Somewhere in the past, I read that the galvanizing process is better now than in the past and flaking is no longer a concern with using galvanized piping for gas. I'm often asked if the drip leg ever fills up and needs to be cleaned. It's a big country, so I'm sure that has happened, but I've never heard of cleaning a drip/sediment trap out.

    Here's an illustration showing a copper/steel pipe connection.

    You are right, galvanized production has gotten better. Boils down to here you are. Then there is the question of when was it made? Being old school (older than dirt) black is beautiful for gas lines.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 04-19-2017 at 05:34 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    No not really. Remember that we are not code inspectors. We are not worried about why it is wrong, or how it gets fixed. We just report it. If it looks goofy too me than I will question it write it up and let the pros figure it out. That is why I carry E&O and GL insurance. This is what I learned from the ASHI Standards of Practice when I took my course from ICA in Illinois. This kind of write up I wrote earlier just keeps me out of trouble. However with that being said, I report functionality and safety. If there is a safety hazard that needs immediate attention, then the write up will be in this example:

    "At the time of inspection the bedroom outlet cover is missing which could cause an electrical shock hazard. Recommend immediate repair by a qualified electrician prior to closing."

    Then I would circle the photo in RED to high-lite it. I wrote it in that fashion because it is a safety hazard. Notice the 3-D write up.

    1. I wrote up what was goofy
    2. I added what could happen
    3. I wrote up the corrective action

    Sorry for being long winded. This is why I spend about 3 hrs on an average per home inspection. A lot to write. This is just my opinion. I hope this helps.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    Thanks for your responses everyone, I always learn something new from this site.


  19. #19
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    california
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    Default Re: Gas line connection at water heater drip leg

    A couple of things:
    1. the dryer should have its own accessible gas isolator.
    2. galvanised is, and has been for decades, the material thats looked on with approval by california plumbing inspectors. Tracts or dot.com Macmansions both use galve for gas.


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