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Old 01-09-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
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Copper Tubing question

Looking at prices of LP hoses and they look A LOT more expensive than making your own Copper piping!
Here is the question, is the regular 1/2 copper pipe suitable for LP use? I see that the LP pipping in out 73 is 1/2 and can't see any difference between the LP piping and what it was used for the water inside.
I know that getting the copper tubing will imply getting also a flare kit and a cutter, but still will be A LOT more cost effective to to that instead of LP hoses.
Any inputs?
Thanks for your time!
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:21 AM   #2
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Outside copper is a soft copper. There's soft copper and rigid copper. It may be the soft copper is more expensive, but you're right that for a full length, it may be cheaper to go with copper over hoses. My copper on my 64 is original, but I'm considering upgrading it all to new since I've already disconnected it, and everything else has already been replaced anyway. I may just check to see if I have leaks, and if fine, leave it alone.

Someone else sleeved their copper in PEX. It allowed them to not worry about the occassional rock hitting the line. There is that risk with the soft copper. However, Pex is not UV stable, so it would eventually crack and break off, and possibly look worse than if left alone.

Not everyone is comfortable with flare fittings, but they've been tried and true for a very long time.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:24 AM   #3
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Copper water pipe comes in three thicknesses K, L, and M. It comes in two tempers, soft and hard. If using it for gas, you would want the thickest (K) soft temper type. Flare fittings are all the same for the soft copper sizes, and based on the exterior size of the pipe which are all the same for K, L, and M pipes. Hard copper temper is never used on flare fittings.

I believe that there are also special refrigeration types of copper, but I am not sure on that. Again the flare fittings are the same, and based on the exterior pipe size.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeggieBullet View Post
Looking at prices of LP hoses and they look A LOT more expensive than making your own Copper piping!
Here is the question, is the regular 1/2 copper pipe suitable for LP use? I see that the LP pipping in out 73 is 1/2 and can't see any difference between the LP piping and what it was used for the water inside.
I know that getting the copper tubing will imply getting also a flare kit and a cutter, but still will be A LOT more cost effective to to that instead of LP hoses.
Any inputs?
Thanks for your time!
Type K or type L soft copper with flare connections or silver soldered connections is suitable for LP. Type K or type L hard copper can also be used, and has to be silver soldered, but isn't usually a practical choice for RVs.

Some home centers are selling "utility grade" tubing which is thinner than type L and does not meet code requirements for LP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robwok View Post
Someone else sleeved their copper in PEX. It allowed them to not worry about the occassional rock hitting the line. There is that risk with the soft copper. However, Pex is not UV stable, so it would eventually crack and break off, and possibly look worse than if left alone.
Trailers built for the Canada market have all the propane lines sleeved because the codes there require it. I think it's wise. Black polypropylene pipe may be a better choice than PEX because of the UV.

Quote:
Not everyone is comfortable with flare fittings, but they've been tried and true for a very long time.
Though they take practice, when properly made up, they are much stronger than either soldered joints or compression fittings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Copper water pipe comes in three thicknesses K, L, and M. It comes in two tempers, soft and hard. If using it for gas, you would want the thickest (K) soft temper type. Flare fittings are all the same for the soft copper sizes, and based on the exterior size of the pipe which are all the same for K, L, and M pipes.
I've never seen type M soft tubing. It's typically only sold as hard copper.

Type K tubing is expensive and hard to find. It is necessary for high vacuum and certain high pressure industrial process piping applications (over 1000 PSI). Type L is typically used for gas, these days. In olden times copper was cheaper and type K was more widely used.

Quote:
I believe that there are also special refrigeration types of copper, but I am not sure on that. Again the flare fittings are the same, and based on the exterior pipe size.
Refrigeration tubing is cleaned and filled with nitrogen, and both ends are capped. Otherwise it's the same product. However, the sizing convention is different, because refrigeration tubing is sold by outside diameter, while copper water pipe is sold by nominal inside diameter, which is typically 1/8" less. So 5/8" refrigeration tubing is the same size as 1/2" water tubing.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:17 PM   #5
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I use custom LP hoses that a local pipe & tube shop makes up with braided stainless hose and flared gas ends. I make them all the exact size I need and reduces most of the fittings which I find is the $$$ part of LP system. I find this system easy to instal, less fittings (reduce the chance of leaks), easy to repair problems, and in the long run way less expensive.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
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I use custom LP hoses that a local pipe & tube shop makes up with braided stainless hose and flared gas ends.
Be sure you're getting hose that's designed for and listed for use with propane.

Propane causes rubber and many plastics to deteriorate, just like oil and gasoline do. As a result, even the best general-purpose flexible hoses will fail over a short period of years when used with propane. Propane hose is usually constructed with a nylon barrier layer so that the propane doesn't reach the rubber components, although there are other approaches.

Propane hose is required to be clearly marked as such, along with a manufacturing date, every couple feet along the outside. I would guess that your stainless steel hoses are not propane hoses because in your photo they do not appear to have any markings.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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FYI... The yellow banding in the Stainless braiding is the marking that is required for propane...
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:47 PM   #8
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We sheathed our copper propane lines in PEX under the trailer. No UV down there unless we're airborne (God Forbid!).

Kay
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:54 AM   #9
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thanks everyone for the input!
I was totally unaware of the tubing types, but still looks like a better choice as a neat finish and cost beneficial as less than $2 per foot I will say that including tools it should be a $200 job to totally upgrade the LP system in a 31ft?
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeggieBullet View Post
thanks everyone for the input!
I was totally unaware of the tubing types, but still looks like a better choice as a neat finish and cost beneficial as less than $2 per foot I will say that including tools it should be a $200 job to totally upgrade the LP system in a 31ft?
I did my 27' last summer, $150 for materials PLUS a big pile of fittings that I already had or salvaged from the old stuff. I already had the tools.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ml#post1276304
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