Copper Fuel Gas Training Update Reports

Piedmont Report UA Training Report

Piedmont Fuel Gas System Training Update Report (2005)

CDA has a strong program of continuing activities targeted towards the copper applications in the fuel gas distribution systems in homes and apartments. One of its key activities in this area is its on-going support of the education and training efforts aimed at installers, gas utility personnel, inspectors, code officials and builders.

This update provides a summary of the program recently presented for Piedmont Natural Gas (Charlotte, North Carolina) at their facility in Charlotte. The program, held on March 17, 2005, was titled, Natural Gas 101 and was targeted at consulting engineers and designers, hospital engineers, energy engineers, HVAC contractors, architects and code officials. It was presented by Dale Powell, CDA’s Regional Manager, and covered details on design and installation of flexible copper tubing for fuel gas systems.

Over 30 professionals attended this program, including a number of Piedmont Natural Gas personnel who were there to evaluate the program and respond to any questions from those attending this program. The majority of attendees were engineers/designers with a small number being contractors or installers. Most attendees were interested in the design specifics for the products, i.e., sizing tables, routing, ease of installation, and obviously, the final installed cost.

Attendees at the program were able to obtain four contact hours of CEU / PDH for ASHRAE required continuing education.

The flexible copper-based fuel gas system was exclusively covered in this event. Piedmont Natural Gas prepared a notebook with pertinent information on the Pipe Material Selection Options, CDA’s Fuel Gas Design Guide, Sizing Calculator and Copper Tube Handbook. The presentation was well received by the attendees and many requested additional copies of the technical literature for use by others in their companies.

In addition, following the presentation a number of the engineers in attendance requested on-site programs for their firms. Such requests are met by the appropriate Project Manager and industry firms interested in such presentations should contact the relevant CDA Project Managers & Piping Applications Specialists.

Piedmont Natural Gas is planning two more programs of the same type to be presented in Greenville and Raleigh later in the year. Please bookmark the Fuel Gas site and check back for the updates from those meetings.

According to Dale Powell, training programs such as this one by the local gas company, can significantly contribute to the increased understanding of the local industry professionals about the key advantages offered by the flexible copper fuel gas system. This, in turn, would contribute to the increased use of fuel gas in the homes and apartments of the gas utility's customers. The fact that the total installed cost of the copper-based fuel gas system is one-third to one-fourth the cost of a comparable system using other materials, such as black steel or CSST. By making it easier, faster and cheaper, copper enables the local gas company to improve its competitiveness in comparison to an all-electric home.

Another key point to note is that a key barrier to the increased use of flexible materials, such as copper, by the plumbing installers and contractors is the lack of knowledge of the fact that flexible copper tubing is a nationally code-approved material for use with fuel gas systems. By sponsoring training programs like this one, the Piedmont Natural Gas was directly addressing this issue and can be expected to benefit from increased use of fuel gas in its service area.

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UA Instructor Training Program Update Report (2005)

Flexible Copper Fuel Gas Presentation United Association Instructor Training Program August 6 12, 2005

Copper Development Association (CDA), the trade association which represents the copper industry in the United States, provided instruction in two copper related courses at the annual UA Instructor Training Program (UA-ITP), a program of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry in the United States and Canada which is the international union representing plumbers, pipe fitters, sprinkler fitters, and service technicians in the US and Canada. The program was held during August 6 12, 2005, at the Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor, Michigan). It was the 52nd annual gathering of UA instructors at which over 1,500 UA instructors were present to take part in this one-of-a-kind training program.

Four CDA regional managers and the national program manager were instrumental in providing technical information, as well as hands-on training related to the design and installation of copper and copper alloy tube, pipe, and fittings for a myriad of systems for over 120 UA journeymen and apprentice instructors enrolled in the two courses presented by CDA.

One section of the five-day program in the Advanced Copper Installations course was specifically related to the design and installation of flexible copper fuel gas systems. Participants in this course were provided with a wealth of information directly related to the proper design and installation of flexible copper fuel gas systems to ensure the safe and trouble-free use of this economical as well as easy to install piping material.

Some of the topics covered were:

  • Codes and standards for approved copper materials.
  • The various system design criteria for proper operation of low- and high-pressure fuel gas systems.
  • Code and standard mandated installation requirements for approved joining techniques which included flaring, bending, and brazing.
  • Code and standard requirements for protection and identification of installed flexible copper fuel gas piping systems.

Based on the feedback provided by the participants, this training program was a huge success. Many of the participants remarked that they never knew copper was so versatile and easy to install in this type of system. Many others said that they were of the understanding that black-steel pipe with threaded fittings was the only way to install fuel gas (natural) in residential and commercial structures. A number of them also indicated that they were under the misconception that the new alternate piping materials were limited to residential low-pressure systems exclusively.

Obviously, these and many other myths and misconceptions concerning copper for fuel gas installations were dispelled through this training program and the participants left this program with the technical as well as hands-on knowledge to take back to their respective training programs.

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