The Home Inspector

Reuben Saltzman is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. Naturally, this blog is all about home inspections and home-related topics in the Twin Cities metro area. In addition to working at Structure Tech, he is also a licensed Truth-In-Sale of Housing Evaluator in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and several other cities.

Gas Appliance Connectors

Posted by: Reuben Saltzman under Home Improvement Updated: April 21, 2012 - 6:57 AM

Last week I wrote a blog about the most common places to find gas leaks, and I said I'd follow up with a blog about gas connectors - those short, flexible, corrugated things that are used to connect gas appliances to gas piping.  Today I'll go over the items that I look for on gas connectors while doing home inspections.  I'll cover the most common installation defects, and I'll go over the differences between new and old connectors.


Gas ConnectorGas Connectors are not a substitute for gas piping. To start, here's a photo of a gas connector - it's that corrugated yellow thingy.  Most newer gas connectors look just like this one.  A gas connector is used to get from the gas piping to the appliance - that's all.  Gas connectors should never be used as a substitute for gas piping.  This means that if you ever see two connectors joined together, it's an improper installation.  This material is not a flexible gas line.  It's a gas connector.

Gas Connectors should never disappear in to a concealed location.  If a gas connector disappears in to a wall, floor, ceiling, or cabinet of an appliance, it's an improper installation.  Only proper gas piping should be run through walls, floors, cabinets, etc.

Appliance Connector Diagram Gas Connector Through Floor

Gas Connectors need to be sized appropriately. I stopped by my favorite orange box the other day to check out their selection of gas connectors, and they had three sizes available - low demand, moderate demand, and large demand connectors.  It's alright to go larger, but not smaller.   The size and length of the appliance connector is determined by the BTU rating of the appliance.  Most jurisdictions allow six foot connectors for ranges and clothes dryers, and three foot connectors for everything else.

Gas Connector Sizes

Old Gas Connectors should be replaced.  The current standard for gas appliance connectors is ANSI Z21.24.  I tried to get a copy of those standards for this blog so I could say what what makes the newer connectors different, but it would have cost me almost $600 (get out of here), so I did something even better.  I got my hands on a new gas connector and an old one, and I cut 'em open.  Here's what I found.

Gas Connectors Cut Open

As you can see, they're made from different materials.  The new gas connector, which complies with ASNI Z21.24, is made from stainless steel.  The old connector obviously isn't - it's made from brass, or so I've been told.  

To quickly spot the difference between the old and new connectors, you can usually just look at the outside jacket.   Old connectors will typically have a grey coating, like the one shown above left, a braided stainless steel jacket like the type shown below, or they'll obviously be made of uncoated brass like the one shown far below.

Braided Jacket Gas Connector

Newer connectors are typically coated with yellow, like the one shown at the beginning of this blog, or will be plain stainless steel, like the one pictured at the bottom of the photo below.  If the connector has a grey coating or is made from uncoated brass, it's old.

Gas Connector Comparisons

To know for sure, you can look closely at the nut, or sometimes at a ring that has been attached to the connector.  If it meets ANSI Z21.24, it will say so.

ANSI Z21.24

If a gas connector doesn't meet this standard, it should be replaced.  The older gas connectors are much more prone to leakage, making them a latent hazard.   The Truth-In-Sale of Housing programs for Minneapolis, Bloomington, and several other cities require replacement of these old connectors.  You can click here for Bloomington's position on old gas connectors.

Don't reuse gas connectors. According to every manufacturer, gas connectors should never be reused.  When a gas appliance is replaced, the connector should be replaced at the same time.   Oh, and one other thing - don't confuse gas connectors with Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).  CSST is a relatively new type of a gas piping that looks similar, but it's not an appliance connector.

CSST vs Gas Connector

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minnesota Home Inspector

        

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