type L copper tube

sled_riderAugust 20, 2009

I purchased 60 ft of type L 1/2" ID copper tubing from Lowes. It says "Soft Temper" on the outside of the box. It mentions on the outside of the box that it's certified for water use but it says nothing about using it for LP gas. I thought type L copper can be used for LP gas too....am I wrong? I am planning on running this tubing from the first stage regulator to the second stage regulator.


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You have the wrong material.

To the uninformed laymen copper pipe & tubing can be quite confusing.

10' or 20' lengths of rigid copper is referred to as "Hard Drawn Copper" while roll copper is referred to as "Annealed or Soft copper"

The phrase "Type K, L, or M" refers to the wall thickness of the material.

Now here is where it gets confusing.

The copper used for water supply and distribution is properly called "Copper Pipe" and it is defined by the "ID" (internal dimension). All threaded fittings for copper pipe are made to the IPS (iron pipe standard) which means that the threads are the same size as the threads on iron pipe.

The copper used for fixture supply lines,I.E. from an angle stop to a faucet, for gas lines and HVAC lines is "copper Tubing" and the size is defined by the "OD" (outside diameter) of the material.

So to answer your question. You stated that the material you have is 1/2ID type L, therefore what you actually have is a 60' roll of 1/2" Medium wall copper pipe. (It could also be labeled as 5/8" OD copper tubing) whereas what you need is 1/2" Type L copper tubing.

They make copper tubing that is specifically listed as approved for gas but most gas codes will also allow you to use TYPE ACR (Air conditioning & Refrigeration) copper. You will find that copper listed for GAS or ACR applications is a bit more expensive than copper pipe. This is because copper pipe is packed with a tape or slip on plastic cap on the ends to keep dirt and debris out of the pipe. On the other hand, GAS & ACR copper is certified dirt and moisture free and it will be packed with a rubber plug on the ends. When you pull the plug you will note a slight pressure release because the tubing is dehydrated, then filled with a light charge of nitrogen to prevent moisture from getting in the pipe during shipping & handling.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 12:41PM
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"I thought type L copper can be used for LP gas too....am I wrong?"

Technically, you're right. Hard drawn of a certain diameter & wall thickness will have the same mechanicals whether water/gas/ACR-HVAC.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 5:31AM
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The term "Type L" only refers to the wall thickness, it does not indicate the grade of copper.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 8:34AM
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Soft "L" is Ok for LP bury
Standard copper tubes of type L are used for interior above ground plumbing - domestic water-, service and distribution-, fire protection-, solar-, fuel and oil-, HVAC-, compressed air-, natural gas-, LPG gas-, snow melting- and vacuum-systems.

Copper tubes of type L can be used with sweat, compression and flare fittings. Only seat and flare fittings are legal for gas lines.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 7:06PM
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"The term "Type L" only refers to the wall thickness, it does not indicate the grade of copper."

No question there.Note I said "hard drawn" not "soft temper" vs. hard drawn.

All grades of copper piping material have burst ratings many times that of typical fluid or gas pressures seen in domestic(home) use.

Note that sweating or brazing joints de-rates hard drawn to an annealed condition.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 7:20AM
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