Copper For Fuel Gas Systems
For decades, the excellent performance of copper tube has been well established in a variety of environments. Installations of domestic water, sanitary drainage, medical gas, heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, solar and fire sprinkler systems are some well-known applications. Until recently, nearly all interior fuel gas distribution systems in residential applications have used threaded steel pipe.

Some areas of the United States, however, have extensive experience using copper tube for distribution of natural and liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, ranging from single-family attached and detached to multi-story, multi-family dwellings. In addition, copper gas distribution lines have been installed for many years in commercial buildings such as strip malls, hotels and motels.

Based on tests carried out by the Gas Research Institute, and with more than 35 years of successful use of copper by certain gas companies in the United States, major code bodies in the U.S.A. and Canada have approved copper tube for fuel gas systems. In 1989 in the U.S.A., provisions for the use of copper tube and copper alloy fittings for interior distribution systems were incorporated in the National Fuel Gas Code (ANSI Z223.1/NFPA 54). Similar provision is made in the Canadian document CAN/CGA-B149.1, Natural Gas Installation Code. Since then, there has been an increasing demand for information on this application. The National Fuel Gas Code also provides for the use of copper tube and copper alloy fittings for underground service lines from the main to the meter.

This publication is intended for the information and guidance of professionals dealing with the design and installation of copper tube in natural and LP gas distribution systems. Many local regulatory authorities have adopted the National Fuel Gas Code, some with additional requirements for use within their jurisdictions. Designers and installers of systems should check with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and with the company supplying the gas, to find the exact regulations in force.