Installing gas lines is a crucial part of home construction and must be handled cautiously. You may wonder if pouring concrete over gas lines is safe. So, we've taken the time to search for a reliable answer to your question.
You should not pour concrete over gas lines because the concrete can damage the gas lines, especially if there is a trigger, such as an earthquake or other natural disaster.
But, if you have to build with concrete over a gas line, ensure that you take the necessary precautions and that there's sufficient distance between the concrete and gas lines.
As you keep reading, you will gain more insight into why you shouldn't pour concrete over gas lines. We will also discuss how the gas lines work and how long they last.
Should You Pour Concrete Over Gas Lines?
It is never a good idea to pour concrete over gas lines as it can cause serious damage and potential harm to your property and its occupants.
Pouring concrete over gas lines puts pressure on the lines, which can lead to damage. But if you must do this, ensure that you take the necessary precautions.
Also, check with your local building authority whether this is permissible since some states have laws that prohibit pouring concrete and building over a gas line.
Here are some more reasons why you should not pour concrete over gas lines.
Gas Lines Need Regular Maintenance
Gas lines should not be left without attention for long periods; they should be inspected regularly. But, properly maintaining the gas lines will be hard if you pour concrete or build over them.
Pouring concrete also makes accessing the gas line for repair in case of a leakage difficult. In this case, technicians will need to destroy the structures to access them, which will cost more.
Risk of Accidents Triggered By Seismic Activities
Seismic activities are events relating to earthquakes or vibrations that affect the earth. The impact of seismic activities can cause the concrete to damage gas lines, causing a leakage.
If gas lines are buried under concrete, there are chances that they can be exposed if earthquakes cause the cemented area to break. Furthermore, the impact of concrete on the gas lines can result in a leak.
Effects of exposure to gas include eye irritation, nausea and headache, cardiovascular problems, and death in cases of long-term exposure.
How Deep Should Gas Lines Be Under Concrete?
Regulations by your local county or town can determine how deep your gas lines can go. But gas lines installed underground should, typically, be at least 12" deep and up to 18" where there is high susceptibility to damage.
To install a gas line underground, the technicians in charge should get the approved material for underground installation. The gas lines should be well-coated and built for more resistance to minimize the risk of causing any disaster or hazard.
How Long Do Underground Gas Lines Last?
The durability of a natural gas line depends on many factors, such as the material used to construct it, the installation and maintenance practices employed, and external environmental conditions.
Gas lines transporting gas supplies to homes usually last between 25 to 30 years if made of stainless steel. The corrugated stainless steel has excellent thermal conductivity.
Lines made with black steel last up to 70 years. Black steel pipes have excellent corrosion resistance, making them ideal for use in gas lines.
Can An Underground Gas Line Cross An Electric Line?
An underground gas line can cross an electric line, but this may not be the best idea. The NESC states that the radial distance from gas, steam, and other lines that transport flammable items should not be lower than 12 inches.
This is because there can be accidental digging. Apart from that, rodents can eat the insulation around the lines. If this happens, the gas line could be exposed, resulting in an explosion.
However, if you have to install electric lines near gas lines, call a qualified technician who can follow the necessary guidelines.
How Far Should You Live From a Gas Line?
Generally, living too close to a gas line can increase the risk of fire or explosions due to their high pressure. Therefore it is wise to live at least 50 feet away. For outdoor construction like sheds and septic tanks, 25 feet away would do.
However, do not take these distances as absolute minimums since more stringent safety codes may be applicable in some areas depending on the particular circumstances around each property. As always, it is best to seek professional advice before building any structure close to gas pipelines.
How To Hide Outdoor Gas Pipes
Some codes prohibit exterior gas lines due to the risk of fire or explosion. Even if it is allowed, you'll need to ensure the line is adequately protected from the elements. The line should also be equipped with a shut-off valve so you can quickly turn it off in an emergency.
If you have unsightly gas pipes running outside your home, there are ways to hide them.
Camouflage Using Paint
Painting outdoor gas pipelines is a great way to make them less visible to the eye. There are a few tips to keep in mind when doing this.
First, choose paints designed exclusively for pipes that don't cause corrosion. Also, the paint's color should match the surroundings to blend in.
Prepare the surface by thoroughly cleaning the pipeline before painting to ensure that the new paint will adhere properly. Use a brush or roller to apply an even layer of paint over the entire pipe's surface, then let the paint dry completely.
Cover Them Using Plants
Another way to help conceal an outdoor gas line is to use plants to obscure it from view. You can do this by planting bushes or trees in front of or along the length of the pipeline.
Choose native species that can thrive in the local climate and soil conditions. Besides camouflaging the pipeline, the trees or plants can provide other benefits, such as acting as a windbreak or erosion control.
With careful planning, using plants to hide a gas pipeline can effectively blend it into the natural landscape. It is important to remember that planting anything near a gas line should not obstruct access for maintenance and repairs.
You can also consider wall-mounted trellises or screens to provide additional coverage.
What Proximity To A Gas Line Should You Maintain When Digging?
Do not dig too close to your gas lines. There should be at least an 18" space between your gas line and your digging point. So, find and mark where the gas lines are buried before you start digging.
If unsure, don't try to guess where the gas lines are buried. Make sure you take appropriate precautions and communicate with your utility company first.
If possible, request certified professionals to mark out the exact location of all underground utilities before beginning any work. Doing so could prevent serious damage or injury and potential legal liabilities.
It would be best if you didn't pour concrete over gas lines. Concrete is a very dense material, and when it dries, it shrinks slightly. This can stress gas lines, which are not designed to flex. Over time, this could lead to cracks and leaks in the gas line.
In addition, concrete can trap moisture, which can corrode metal gas lines.
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