Many people wonder what to do when installing gas supply lines in their homes, especially when the lines need to pass through a wall. Should the gas pipe be sleeved through the wall, or should it be wrapped in insulation?
Any gas pipe passing through a wall needs to be sleeved. This is required by code because this added layer of protection helps prevent gas from leaking into the rest of the house. This is also why you need to have a licensed plumber complete your gas line installation.
This article dives into what you need to know about sleeving gas pipes through a wall, including some helpful tips. Read on!
What Could Happen if You Don’t Sleeve a Gas Pipe Through a Wall?
If you don’t sleeve a gas pipe through a wall, the gas that escapes from your pipe is flammable and will burn if exposed to an ignition source. If there is enough of it in the house, the result could be a huge explosion and a house fire that you can’t put out yourself.
Fires are always a risk with any gas leak, but it can be especially dangerous when you consider that most fires start small and go unnoticed as they grow.
It might be several minutes before the fire gets large enough to set off your smoke detectors and wake everyone in the house, and by then, it might be too late.
Also, if the gas pipe isn’t sleeved and you have a cold winter, the unprotected metal could freeze.
And when the ice thaws in the spring, it could cause the pipe to burst and send gas leaking into your home.
Options for Gas Pipe Sleeving
The best sleeves for a gas pipe should be flexible and durable, and they should extend beyond the wall by at least three inches (7.62 cm).
This will protect lines installed in concrete or blocks, and it is also essential for gas piping that crosses under a concrete slab.
Flexible materials will help prevent cracking on top of the foundation from the weight of furniture or appliances on your floors.
Most professionals prefer using polyethylene sleeves. This option is resistant to wear from dirt and pressure, but it is also expensive.
PVC sleeves are less durable, but they are also much cheaper, so you can save money by using them for small gas lines that don’t see much wear and tear.
The material used to make the pipe also impacts the sleeve you need to use. Galvanized steel piping, for example, can corrode when exposed to gas or chemicals over time.
This means that it requires a different sleeve type than a black iron pipe would.
Every situation is unique, so there’s never one answer when it comes to sleeving your gas pipes through the wall.
Your best option is to consult with a professional who can recommend the right sleeve for your needs and estimate the work you’ll need to get the job done.
When Shouldn’t You Sleeve Through an Existing Wall?
You shouldn’t sleeve through an existing wall If your gas line runs through a concrete or cinder block wall. In that case, there’s no way that it will pass the inspection required to be done by a local inspector.
You also cannot pass a gas line through an exterior wall, and you need to check ordinances in your area before attempting to put one inside your home.
If you want to stay on the right side of the law and your insurance company, be sure that any new gas lines are installed where they are allowed by code and won’t become a fire hazard if there is a leak.
Can a Gas Pipe Be Exposed to the Elements?
Gas pipes can be exposed and run outside of a house if protected from moisture and debris. You might see this in a tightly-built home where the exterior walls are sealed entirely, or there isn’t room for insulation around the pipes without causing an obstruction.
It’s important to note that you still need to use a sleeve for protection even when you expose your piping.
This will prevent any construction tools from touching the pipe and creating dangerous sparks, resulting in an explosion.
If there is no other option but to expose your gas line, it’s best to consult with a professional to find the right sleeve and installation method.
Exposing a gas line is always a risky move, so be sure you understand the dangers before proceeding.
How Long Does Insulation for Gas Pipe Last?
Most insulation for a gas pipe will last between twelve and fifteen years, which is the proper amount of time to allow before inspecting or replacing it.
This means that you should put in new sleeves every decade if you want them to protect your home adequately.
If you don’t, your insurance company might not cover any damages caused by a gas leak – and those can be pretty bad.
Sleeving a gas pipe through a wall is necessary to keep your home safe from gas leaks and fire risks.
To ensure when and how to sleeve your gas pipes, always check the laws or codes in your area and consult a professional.
Cheers, tools owners!