Benefits of Copper for Gas Distribution Displayed at International Builders' Trade Show

January 7, 1999


DALLAS, TX - Offering the lowest installed cost of any code-approved material, copper tubing is the builder's best alternative for home gas distribution systems. Cost comparisons with alternative gas-piping materials and other information about copper's benefits are available at the American Gas Association booth (#4733) during the International Builders' Show in the Dallas Convention Center from January 15-18, 1999.

Copper tubing is approved for gas-distribution systems by major code bodies throughout the United States and Canada, but it is used much less often than corrugated stainless steel (CSST) and black pipe. The AGA booth highlights copper tubing's low costs, flexibility and availability in long lengths. These characteristics make copper gas-distribution systems the easiest to install and well suited for new and retrofit installations in both high- and low-pressure service areas.

"Copper tubing has been used successfully for gas distribution systems for more than 30 years," says Andrew Kireta, CDA's vice president for tube, pipe and fittings. "And although provisions for copper tube and copper-alloy fittings were written into the National Fuel Gas Code in 1989, many builders and subcontractors aren't aware that it is generally the most economical alternative for natural and LP gas distribution piping." Copper tubing for gas distribution is covered in ASTM specifications B 837, B 88, and B 280.

Copper tubing is sufficiently flexible to be easily routed through confined spaces. Available in straight lengths up to 20 feet and coils up to 100 feet long (and longer by special order), copper tubing requires fewer joints. This makes copper both easier to install and extremely safe for gas-distribution systems.

In multistory residences, copper tubing can make the installation cost of natural gas service competitive with that of electricity for heating, laundry and cooking applications. Copper tubing readily makes vertical subdivision more cost effective because it allows the gas utility to group individual meters without the cost and typical problems associated with piping in such compact configurations.

For present gas consumers, copper tube offers maximum ease of installation when they wish to add gas equipment and appliances. For example, fuel gas can be supplied to fireplaces located virtually anywhere in a home quickly and economically without the difficulties associated with threaded pipe. When direct venting or induced draft techniques are used, gas fireplace installation in single-family and multistory units is simplified further because a conventional chimney is not required. Copper gas supply lines may also terminate in convenience gas outlets that enables easy hookup of portable or fixed retrofit appliances.

Copper tubing is especially well suited to low-pressure gas systems because it is available in appropriate diameters, unlike CSST.

"We really don't know why more builders aren't using copper tube for gas distribution systems in new homes and remodeling applications," says CDA's Kireta. "But we're here at the International Builders' Show to tell them why they should."