Can PEX Be Used For Natural Gas Or Propane Lines?


Yes you can, but because the terms PE and PEX have so often been used interchangeably it’s important to specify your intended use before purchasing polyethylene pipe for your project.

I haven’t seen any PE pipe that can’t be used for either natural gas or propane.

The differences in pressure between natural gas and propane at the house meter, to the house, is minimal at under one pound and measured in inches of water column. Most of my customers didn’t know that.

We live in a plastic world today and plastic pipe is a wonderful product when it comes to natural gas and propane installations.

Just make sure when you’re considering a DIY project that pertains to gas piping that you get the right plastic.

If you want to enter the world of confusion, just go to amazon.com and enter the term “PE pipe” and look around and notice the intended use for pipe labeled “PE”.

Then enter in “PEX pipe and have another look at the different uses for pipe labeled PEX.

Just for spins and giggles, enter into amazon’s search bar the term “underground gas pipe”.

By now you should have noticed that the acronyms for PE or PEX are sort of just thrown around leaving many searchers wondering what is the right kind of pipe.

But then again, if you look for the intended use you should find it, specifying if it’s meant for water, gas, or even air.

Because the algorithms on these sites like amazon.com keep changing and our search results vary according to what our supposed intent is, your search result may very well be different than mine.

Residential Gas Pipe Requirements, Will My Local Building Department Help?

Your local building department would do your residential gas line inspection so let’s hope they know the right products. Did you know this kind of work requires a permit?

Here’s were most of us have to swallow our pride and learn to ask those in authority exactly what is allowed for gas piping in our own respective jurisdictions.

That’s why it’s hard for me to be specific about what materials you can or cannot use. Every county and even cities have there own rules and codes. They follow a national code, but they stick in little variables that have to be followed to get a final inspection approved.

Code reinforcement personnel, for the most part, know the products used for gas piping and where they can be used. These people are not the enemy and in my experience they are not opposed to homeowners doing work for themselves, even gas piping.

As a homeowner in most counties you are allowed to pull your own permits and do your own work. By following the rules you can insure the safety of your home and family and the future owners of your home.

Getting your own permits is usually restricted to the home you live in and not a rental or a commercial building. But that’s a question for your local code enforcement agency because, like I said, with these agencies things vary from place to place.

Calling your local inspector is a great idea before proceeding, especially with purchases of materials. You may get lucky and have an inspector even stop by you home and review your project. I’ve had this happen but don’t expect it.

By the way, do some research first, ask good questions. Inspectors can tell if a homeowner has the ability and wherewithal to perform the work properly. They will even tell you that it might be best if you hired it out to professionals.

What Is PEX Piping Used For Inside The House?

You’ll find PEX used for water inside a house, but not PEX or PE pipe for natural gas or propane. The right stuff for the inside of your home will slightly vary with building codes.

Before buying materials, if this is a DIY project, consult you local building department or a professional. Your area professional could either be a plumber or an HVAC contractor.

So depending on your local code enforcement the most common type of gas piping, again, inside the home, is either CSST, black iron, or copper.

CSST is more money but so easy to install. Requires simple tools no more complicated than a pipe cutter and a couple wrenches.

Using an ordinary pipe cutter will work but doesn’t quite cut the CSST pipe and sometimes leaves a slightly ragged edge. Check out this cutter on Amazon’s inventory. It was specifically designed to cut CSST pipe.

This one cuts CSST pipe within the range of 1/4 inch to 1 7/8. The reason why a cutter had to be made specifically for CSST is because of the deep corrugations in the pipe. The wheel on the cutter had to penetrate deeper that the average cutter.

Black iron pipe is not nearly as expensive but labor is extensive and hard. Having a pipe threading machine rather than a tripod and threading tools is somewhat of a help, but it just can’t beat threading flexible CSST pipe through a house.

The potential for leaks is soooo much less with CSST. With both black iron pipe and CSST you don’t know if you have leaks until your done and put on a pressure test.

If you have a leak with black iron pipe you will most likely have to take it apart and tighten fitting over again. Not so with CSST, just tighten the leaky fitting.

Even within the CSST family of pipe there are different products. TracPipe has a product that is resistant to lightning. Even if you don’t live an area prone to lightning TracPipe would be my favorite. Just another layer of safety.

And while you’re in the world of gas piping be sure to read my article on bonding gas pipe. It’s another one of those little details that is sometime missed by contractor and inspectors.

Some of the code is a little hard to interpret, but then again your local code enforcement agency will tell you what they’re right way of doing things will be.

Since you’ve read this far, why not travel just a bit further and scope out a couple of my favorite heating and cooling products and tools.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope the information has led to your ability to make good decisions in either working on or discovering how to solve problems in your home HVAC equipment. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them I do earn a commission. In all honesty they are products that I would use in my own home or the homes of my friends and family.

Fireplace remotes by Skytech Remote Control Products . My wife loves this and it probably took all of 30 minutes to install. Replace that wall switch or thermostat for your gas fireplace. Easy installation and instructions. In fact I wrote an article that covers the job pretty thoroughly I think.

Honeywell Thermostats. My favorite two Honeywell stats are the T6 Pro and the 8000 Pro series but their is a bunch to select from besides those two models. You can select WiFi that has the capability of operating your system from your smart phone no mater where you are. Honeywell tech support for homeowners is the best out there. Call them if you need at 800-468-1502 or comment below if you have questions.

Fieldpiece HS33 Expandable Manual Ranging Stick Multimeter for HVAC/R. I carry two of these in my service truck. Just like a spare tire, when I get out away from everything, it’s no time for a break down. The Fieldpiece HS33 gives me the ability to do any aspect of my trade. I can measure motor or element amps, check capacitors, and AC or DC voltages. Even different scales of OHMS for finding shorted windings or grounded conductors in motors or compressors.

Chad Peterson

Chad Peterson is near 40 year veteran of the HVAC industry. "I like to explain heating and air conditioning problems in a way the average home owner can understand. "

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