How to Install Natural Gas Pipes Underground

Written by jackie johnson
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How to Install Natural Gas Pipes Underground
Plumbers receive training to lay gas pipes safely. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Laying gas pipe is not necessarily a complicated process but it has to be completed carefully. Natural gas can leak from pipes that are not securely connected and cause explosions. You need permits from your local jurisdiction before a licensed plumber can start the work of laying underground gas pipes. While most gas companies consider the line from the meter to the home to be the owner's responsibility, local jurisdictions have codes that must be met before the gas company can turn on the service. Gas pipelines are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Permit
  • Shovel
  • Pick axe (optional)
  • Tarp

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Contact your gas company to see if it can provide the installation for you. Some offer this service; others do not. If it does, ask if you need to get the permit or if it takes care of it for you. If your supplier charges you to lay the pipe, find out whether you can dig your own trench.

  2. 2

    Obtain the permit from your local building department if the gas company does not connect lines from the meter to the house or if it asks you to get the permit yourself. Some gas companies have a list of recommended plumbers from which to choose if the company does not provide the service itself.

  3. 3

    Lay out the line between the gas meter and the house and remove any landscaping, such as lawn or gravel. Place a tarp along one or both sides of the trench to make shovelling the dirt back into the hole easier after you finish.

  4. 4

    Start digging. The gas company or your building department can tell you how deep to place the pipe for the line. Dig until you reach that depth, which can vary depending on your weather conditions. People in warm climates do not have to worry about the ground freezing, so the lines in these locations may be shallower than in cold climates. As you dig, place the dirt on the tarp. Dig the trench wide enough that you can comfortably stand in it.

  5. 5

    Level the bottom of the trench as much as you can. Remove any clods of soil your digging has knocked down.

  6. 6

    Let the plumber or gas company know the trench is ready for the pipe. The installer knows the right kind of pipe, glue and tape to use to create a tight seal on the pipe. Once the plumber has finished, he runs a leak test to make sure the pipe is tight. If it leaks, the installer has to redo the job.

  7. 7

    Use the shovel to put the dirt back into the trench, tamping as you go. Over time, the dirt will compact down to its original level.

Tips and warnings

  • If your soil is full of rocks or is difficult to dig, consider hiring someone with a backhoe to dig the trench for you.
  • You can wet the soil to make it easier to dig, but it's a good idea to let the dug soil dry for a while before you shovel it back into the trench to reduce any corrosion from wet dirt.

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