Uniform Plumbing and Mechanical Codes Now Permit Copper Tube for Gas-Distribution Piping

January 14, 2000


Home builders and remodelers can benefit from lower cost and greater convenience

NEW YORK - The 2000 Editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code contain provisions for the use of copper tube in natural gas-distribution systems. The revised codes reflect acceptance of copper tube and fittings for gas-distribution applications by the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) after review during the code body's annual Education and Business Conference last August.

The new Uniform codes specify Types K, L and ACR copper tube for the installation of gas piping. Other provisions of the revised code refer to acceptable methods of joining copper in gas-distribution applications; these include brazing and flare fittings.

" IAPMO acceptance of copper tube for fuel-gas distribution is a real breakthrough in acknowledging its practical benefits for the building markets," says Andy Kireta, Sr., vice president for tube, pipe and fittings with the Copper Development Association.

Of all widely used materials, copper tube systems offer the lowest total installed cost for gas distribution-lower even than those for black pipe. Flexible copper tube is available in long coils, which means it can be easily snaked through framing and chases with a minimum number of joints. This, combined with most plumbers' familiarity with installing copper, results in significant time and labor savings, cutting installation costs.

The savings for gas installations can be dramatic in new single- and multifamily projects. In remodeling applications, the use of copper tube can facilitate gas-line extensions, gas convenience outlets and the installation of gas fireplaces and other gas hearth products, as well as gas lights and outdoor barbecues.

The new editions of the Uniform Plumbing and Mechanical Code were published in September 1999. The Uniform Plumbing Code has been adopted by some 12 states, predominantly in the western United States, and the Uniform Mechanical Code by 16 states, also in the West. Uniform Codes are widely used for reference by building officials in other U.S. locales and abroad.

Copper tube and fittings were approved for gas-distribution piping by the National Fuel Gas Code in 1989. ANSI and NFPA standards apply.