Buried propane line??

Started by waltsuz, August 23, 2016, 11:28:47 AM

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I have built a 20x28 cabin and I am ready to run water and electric to it. I have to dig 110' of trench to get the lines to the cabin. I know I'm going to eventually have a propane furnace and stove so I want to pre' bury the gas line in while I have a trench dug. What should I use for the line that will eventually hook to a tank and run to the cabin, copper or blackpipe..Any suggestions will be a plus..Regards Walt

Dave Sparks

PE tubing rated for Propane in your trench. Polyethylene.  Home Depot sells it. Bury a #12 (Memory?) stranded with it for finding the line with a detector.

If you have wire in there already ignore that comment.

If you will be inspected or your propane delivery requires it follow the code or take out a permit.

Good Luck
"we go where the power lines don't"


There may be a code requirement in your state.  Some locales may still allow burying metal pipe but it looks like polyethylene is the preferred.


Dunno if it's a real concern, but I think I'd want as much separation in the trench as possible between various utilities.  Like Dave said, if you're burying a plastic line it needs a conductive wire or tape buried with it so it can be located from the surface.  Again, check your county to see if there are specific depth and separation requirements.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


We have no permit requirements, yet anyway. I will check in with a couple local propane company's to see if they have any requirements. I need a tank and all the necessities with this..Walt


Found it always helps to chat with the folks in that industry in the area. They know what the inspectors (if any) want. They have the knowledge and experience to give yo a heads up. They have all the tips that they have learned through the years. There is always the chatty Kathy.
Good Build


5 psi working pressure.  Is that sufficient?


After a one stage regulator and after the second regulator in a two regulator setup the pressure is 11" WC which is about 0.40 PSI

A two stage regulator system would have higher pressure between the two. That is either 5 or 10 PSI I think.  So that would need different pipe from first to second stage. Black iron is used, or the green coat for burial.  There may be other choices.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


We went from a 100lb bottle to a pig about 25 years ago at my brother's cabin in northern Michigan.  Install was in March and the ground was frozen, so installer just ran a coiled soft copper line on top of the ground from tank to cabin.  Said he would be back in April to install buried line after ground thawed.

Everything was working great so we left for a few hours of fishing.  Could hear hissing as we walked to cabin upon our return.  Copper was cut off (sidecutters) at cabin and at tank and was gone, propane was leaking out at tank-side cut.  Luckily it was almost crimped shut from the cut.  They could have at least turned off the valve at the tank when they stole the copper.

I expect that the installer used that same piece of copper when he came the next morning to do the repair.


Just talked to a installer and supplier. I want to install a 250 gallon tank with a buried line to a regulator with a nipple and ball/gas valve run inside the cabin and install the appliances later on. The supplier I spoke with will not install anything until the appliances/furnace is hooked up and a 1/2 inch black pipe sticking out of the cabin for a regulator to attach to. He said they have to do a pressure test. They won't install a tank, line and regulator for me to deal with later on. I'll try another supplier.


It is a state regulation that requires a pressure test.  So you need at least one appliance installed and hooked up.  Also be warned that once installed and you have some propane in the tank do not let it run down to empty. If the tank has no propane in it at all they must check for leaks before refilling.  It is a safety thing.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Dave Sparks

As Don said you do need it to look like you are building and going to finish. One thing the county probably does not want is for people to hook up an RV to a tank. It hurts property value and they can't tax it. The safety thing is there also but I think it is tax as far as the permit.

I did get them to put the tank and lay thePE line in my trench but I had to ask the guy about 4 times and I had the foundation poured. I wore him down and there were not any homes for miles and none could see me.  I used the tank that winter to heat my trailer. That really sucked living in there during winter. It is more of an existance than living.
"we go where the power lines don't"


I found a supplier that will set a tank, install the reg's to a galvanize standoff pipe with a valve inside the cabin for a temporary set. The tank will be delivered with enough LP to pressure test the temporary installation to insure the underground piping and regulators is all good and my valve indeed holds under pressure. When I get the heating system installed in the cabin they will again pressure test the entire hook up and then fill the tank. A field rep showed up, offered several options and how to do what I asked. His only concern was laying his line with the water and electric in the same trench. I'll know about this tomorrow. We have another location for the tank if there's a code violation doing a one trench does all. This all went from next to impossible to nothing to it. Its all with the supplier, Walt

Dave Sparks

For us in our county as long as the electrical conduit was down 18" anything else had to be below that with a few inches of sand below the electrical.
Your county should have the requirements.
"we go where the power lines don't"