If you're installing a propane system in your home, you might wonder what size propane line is necessary. The propane line from the tank must be proportionate to the distance to your house to ensure that it effectively supplies gas to your home's appliances. To learn more, keep reading because we've researched this topic for you.
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If your propane tank is set less than 150 feet away from your house, you'll need a 3/4 inch outer diameter (OD) size of propane line. This size of propane line is ideal for effectively supplying gas to your home's appliances.
We will elaborate further on the importance of using the right propane pipe size and discuss the ideal type of pipe below.
How Many BTUs Can A 3/4-Inch Pipe Carry?
You must consider the amount of British thermal units (BTU) that a particular pipe supplies to get a better idea of whether your current pipe's size is enough for your gas appliances.
The further the propane tank is from your house and the smaller the pipe size, the lower the BTU/h flow. You should adjust the pipe size to your BTU/h and distance requirements.
For example, if you have a natural gas line measuring 3/4 inches and running at a distance of 150 feet, you can expect it to supply about 83,000 BTU per hour. Note that one cubic foot of natural gas equals 1,000 BTU/h gas flow.
In contrast, a 3/4 inch liquid propane gas line running 150 feet to your house can deliver around 175,000 BTU/h. One cubic foot equivalent for liquid propane gas is approximately 2,516 BTU/h.
If you plan to have additional gas appliances in the future, extending your propane gas line about five feet is vital for every fitting. This will ensure your gas line keeps supplying your appliances evenly and consistently.
Some Appliances With Their BTU/h Capacity
We've listed guidelines below for some common residential gas appliances with their BTU/h capacity to help you assess whether your gas lines are within the correct size requirements to meet the gas demand.
- Standing oven = 65,000 BTU/h.
- Boiler unit = 25,000 BTU/h.
- Countertop = 40,000 BTU/h.
- Clothes dyer = 35,000 BTU/h.
- Gaslight and logs = 2,500 and 30,000 BTU/h
The following are automatic water heater BTU/h capacities based on their per-gallon usage:
- Water heater consuming two gallons per minute = 142,800 BTU/h.
- Water heater consuming four gallons per minute = 285,000 BTU/h.
- Water heater consuming six gallons per minute = 428,400 BTU/h.
If you're using a water heater within or beyond these BTU capacities, you'll need a pipe size of 1 1/4 inches. This is sufficient for the appliances that demand gas from a tank located 150 feet away from your house.
Is It Necessary To Use The Right Size Propane Gas Line?
It is crucial to determine the correct size of the propane piping to your house. Oversizing or under-sizing the propane lines can significantly impact the connection. You should use the right size propane line for your gas tank.
Since the propane tank line dictates how much gas will travel to your home's appliances, the lines must be adequate to ensure they deliver sufficient gas to meet your the demands of your home.
What Happens If Your Gas Line Is The Wrong Size?
If the propane gas line is too big or too small, it will affect the pressure of the gas supplied to your house. Any slight restrictions due to insufficiently sized propane lines can lead to a decrease in gas pressure.
Insufficient gas pressure will undoubtedly drop the British thermal units (BTU) output that a gas line can carry. Thus, it affects the combustion process of your gas appliances or causes them to stop operating.
How Far Can You Run The Propane Line From The Tank?
Other than the underlying propane line installation requirements, the line's overall installation process is relatively simple.
Determining the distance of the propane tank from your house will depend on the tank size and its installation setup, either on the surface or below the ground.
Most propane tanks are installed at least 10 feet from houses and other buildings. This rule conforms to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines. Note that different rules apply for areas like parking areas, railroad tracks, parks, playgrounds, or proximity to flammable materials.
Which Pipe Is Best For Above And Below Ground Setups?
Aside from using the right size propane gas line, using a pipe that is rated for above and below-ground setups is also vital for the gas system's overall safety. This measure is especially critical for underground setups, as the natural elements actively act on the lines.
Above Ground Rated Pipes
Your house's gas line from the propane tank must be secure and maintain a steady gas flow to meet appliance demands. Schedule 40 copper pipes are great for running lines from your tank to your home's gas appliances.
You can also use flexible corrugated stainless steel tubing or CSST pipes. However, copper pipes are the best fit for this setup because they are flexible. Although copper typically has high corrosion tolerance, it is forbidden for underground setups in some states.
Underground Rated Pipes
Steel pipes are ideal for underground applications. Note that the steel pipe should have a protective coating to withstand harsh conditions below ground.
Types Of Propane Gas Line Materials To Avoid
Using only rated pipes for your specific propane gas applications will prevent unnecessary installation failure, thus preserving the gas line's service life.
Here are the lists of pipes you should avoid:
- Rubber hose
- Water flex pipes
- Polyvinyl chloride or PVC
Are There Depth Requirements For Propane Gas Lines?
Propane gas lines should be buried underground with enough space or clearance to protect the lines from accidental damage and for proper maintenance purposes.
In some parts of the United States, the minimum depth for a gas line is 18 inches. In some cases where minimum depth is impossible to comply with, you can adjust it in an approved setup.
Some areas permit adjusting this minimum depth to around 12 inches under the sand backfill coverings. Note that these specific building requirements may differ from your local authorities. So be mindful and refer to your local building codes.
Can I Run A Propane Gas Line Myself?
You can certainly connect your propane gas line from the tank to your house. However, you must get a permit before beginning the installation process, whether it be a new installation, replacement, addition, or alteration of an existing gas line.
Since local building codes vary from one area to another, ensure that you get the permit first to avoid installations that may result in legal action being taken against you.
How To Run A Propane Gas Line To A House
Running a propane gas line from a tank to a house requires tubing and gas piping installation knowledge. For this reason, we highly suggest hiring an expert to do this task to ensure the quality of the job.
However, if you still want to take on the task as a DIY project and have proper gas piping installation knowledge, then you're good to do so. Remember to get the necessary permits and prepare a planning sketch to ensure the success of your project.
Take these steps to connect the propane gas line from your tank to the house:
- Measure all the pipes.
- Bore a sizeable hole in your wall for the pipe.
- Run one end of the pipe to your propane gas tank and securely attach it to the tank opening.
- Carefully run the other end of the pipe from the tank to the hole you drilled in the wall.
- Attach your gas appliances to the pipe along with the right valves and fittings.
- Insulate the hole in your wall with spray insulation foam.
To Wrap Things Up
It is crucial to use only the right size propane gas line from your tank to your house. Your local authorities mandate the size of your propane gas lines for precautionary concerns and safety.
We hope that the detailed information and tips we've provided will help you to avoid potential issues down the line.
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