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Inspecting HVAC Systems Topics include heating, venting, and air conditioning inspections.

View Poll Results: How MUST flex line be routed through a furnace case.
Hard pipe must extend through the furnace case 49 92.45%
Hard pipe or a direct flex connection is acceptable 4 7.55%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 7/7/07, 12:39 AM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Gas flex connector to furnace

In the past many furnace gas valves were connected directly to the flexible gas line connector. Recently installers have been extending black pipe from the gas valve to the exterior of the furnace cabinet.

The manufacturer of flex line simply says "protect from damage".

I cannot find specific requirement for black pipe extensions in IRC or UMC.

The City of San Antonio has amended the code with an ordinance that states:

Section 304 INSTALLATION of the International Mechanical Code is amended by adding Section 304.12 as follows:
304.12 Installation at gas valve. Black Iron Pipe shall be installed at the gas valve and extended a minimum of two inches outside the gas furnace and gas rooftop unit's casing and shall be connected to an approved listed flexible gas connector.


It seems the practice of extending black pipe is AHJ specific and that a flex line routed through a furnace casing to the gas valve may actually be acceptable unless otherwise amended.



See photos. Comments please. I am looking for something in code that is as specific as San Antonio ordinance.



I am researching this because an inspector was disciplined for not requiring the black pipe. The expert against the inspector justified his opinion by simply saying it was improper.
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  #2  
Old 7/7/07, 12:47 AM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Forgot attachment
Attached Files
File Type: pdf flex samples.pdf (120.9 KB, 4231 views)
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  #3  
Old 7/7/07, 1:00 AM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

The gas connector flex line is thin wall tubing (probably .035 or .049 wall) and as such any vibration from the the airhandler rubbing on the connector will eventually result in a leak.


ANSI Z233.1 and or NFPA 54 may be more clear

Last edited by bkelly2; 7/7/07 at 1:03 AM..
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Old 7/7/07, 1:48 AM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

The implication is clear. However, if it was such a concern you would think IRC, IMC or the manufacturer would specify the requirement clearly as did San Antonio. It still appears to be local AHJ or inspector judgement based and not a matter of fact.
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  #5  
Old 7/7/07, 1:55 AM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcahill
The implication is clear. However, if it was such a concern you would think IRC, IMC or the manufacturer would specify the requirement clearly as did San Antonio. It still appears to be local AHJ or inspector judgement based and not a matter of fact.
The manufacturer usually references the ANSI/NFPA code

Read the fuel gas code

Last edited by bkelly2; 6/12/09 at 7:47 PM..
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  #6  
Old 7/7/07, 1:56 AM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

The International Fuel Gas Code may be the answer.

411.1.3.3 Prohibited locations and penetrations. Connectors
shall not be concealed within, or extended
through, walls, floors, partitions, ceilings or appliance
housings.

So now what was permitted by many AHJ in tens of thousands of homes is wrong and the inspector takes the hit; not the installer or city. Me thinks inspectors are patsies.
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  #7  
Old 7/7/07, 2:01 AM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

City code inspectors here rarely go into attics where the gas furnaces are. Also they are indemnified from being stupid, whereas we as HI's are not, indemnified, that is.
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Old 7/7/07, 2:24 AM
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bkelly2 bkelly2 is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Here is one for you John

Passed the city inspection

Last edited by bkelly2; 6/12/09 at 7:47 PM..
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  #9  
Old 7/7/07, 3:03 AM
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Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace



UPC 1212.0 Appliance Connectors

(2) No part of such connector shall be concealed within or extended through any wall, floor, partition, or appliance housing.






IF YOUR INSPECTOR IS NOT USING THERMAL IMAGING, YOU'RE NOT GETTING THE WHOLE PICTURE «
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  #10  
Old 7/7/07, 8:18 AM
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Michael R. Boyett Michael R. Boyett is online now
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

2003 IRC G2422.1.2 Appliance fuel connectors. Connections shall have....etc. Connectors shall not be concealed within, or extend through, walls, floors, partitions, ceilings or appliance housings. A shutoff valve.....etc.
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  #11  
Old 7/7/07, 10:27 AM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Interesting. Almost every house in north Texas prior to 2000 does not extend hard pipe. Now they do. Similar to double tapping neutrals and many other conditions.

What a conflict this industry puts itself in. NACHI and Texas SoP
3.2. Exclusions: I. The inspectors are not required to determine:
H. The compliance with codes or regulations.

yet we inspect to code! It seems to invalidate the SoP limitations by saying we don't but we do. Might as well just delete H.
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Old 7/7/07, 11:39 AM
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Michael R. Boyett Michael R. Boyett is online now
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Why? I only recommend the client consider doing this particular upgrade as a preferred installation method to improve safety. I don't ever say it's required by anyone. Same holds true for most other recommended improvements or deficient items I encounter. I don't see this as any different than any other item we inspect that the codes have changed on over the years since the home was built.

Now, on the other hand, as I read your initial post again then I see that TREC disciplined an inspector for not calling this issue out. I would agree then that is contradictory to the exclusion you quoted. To me the defense would be that the black pipe requirement was not in effect at the time the home was built (I'm assuming that's the case for the sake of discussion). That argument can be used for thousands of items I'm sure. Obviously, like we've discussed before, TREC has elected to require several items to be called out as in need of repair if it doesn't meet current code, i.e. GFCI's, so will lack of a furnace black pipe extension now become another 'must report as in need of repair'? Looks that way.

Last edited by mboyett; 7/7/07 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 7/7/07, 11:56 AM
Tab M. Wilcox Tab M. Wilcox is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

It is common here for the gas utility company to yellow tag (not supply gas to) the furnace if the flex is running through the furnace housing. They typically require either black pipe extended through the housing or protection (a grommet) installed on the housing opening. When I see this condition I recommend the client contact the gas company to find out what they will require to supply gas to the appliance. I make sure my client understands that if its not taken care of before they move in they will be denied service to the furnace and they will have to pay to make the furnace ok for the gas company to supply gas to.
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  #14  
Old 7/7/07, 2:14 PM
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Bruce A. King Bruce A. King is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

The flex lines used around here have a tag on them that states at item 2
" not for use through walls or equip. cabinets"

Most code guy's are not enforcing it around here but most installers are leaving the flex where it does not rub on the sharp edge.

The issue where the pipe is more likely to leak and build up gas inside the cabinet is the most scary part.



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  #15  
Old 7/8/07, 12:39 PM
John Cahill John Cahill is offline
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Default Re: Gas flex connector to furnace

Quote:
Originally Posted by mboyett
TREC has elected to require several items to be called out as in need of repair if it doesn't meet current code, i.e. GFCI's, so will lack of a furnace black pipe extension now become another 'must report as in need of repair'? Looks that way.
Thats the problem with any SoP. It departs from code. Then any argument against an inspector is based on code. It is a result of extending home inspection beyond "performance" and into installation and safety.

Inspecting any new furnace in an older home is full of "code" traps. Any old home is a code trap.

- tempered glass
- non fire door from home to attached garage (a doggy door in it, a glass window or hollow core)
- lack of antiscald valves
- missing air gap antisiphon device on dishwasher (high loop not permitted)
- exposed light bulbs in closets
- window sill elevation in bedrooms
and on and on and on.

Even the inspectors who preach "inspect to code" do not really inspect "to code".

In my opinion, the solution is a "performance" based inspection with code and safety optional. Let the consumer choose the product. Of course any inspector who wants to exceed the SoP for free or a fee is allowed to do so. The judgment of the inspector should be clearly allowed. I would support an ASTM SoP on that line.
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