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Why should we replace copper gas connectors?

Q. A home inspector advised changing the gas connectors on my furnace, water heater and kitchen range. He says the old copper connectors are unsafe and should be replaced with stainless steel. I'm not even sure what a gas connector is, but I checked all the gas fittings at the appliances, and they seem to be in good condition.

Is replacement of the gas connectors really necessary, or is the inspector just being picky?

A. Gas connectors are the flexible, corrugated tubes that feed fuel to the gas appliances in your home. Until recent years, gas connectors were typically comprised of copper or brass. Unfortunately, the sulfur compounds in natural gas can cause corrosion in copper tubing. This corrosion occurs as small flakes of copper sulfide that can clog or damage the valves, regulators and other components in gas fixtures.

Deterioration of the copper may also cause small gas leaks in the connectors themselves.

To eliminate this problem, copper connectors are no longer available in stores, and those currently in use are gradually being replaced with stainless steel ones. Replacement of old connectors, however, is not mandatory unless a new gas-burning appliance is being installed.

For example, when a water heater is replaced, a new steel connector should be included. Unfortunately, this requirement is often overlooked, and many old copper connectors remain in service, despite the newer codes.

For property owners concerned about fire safety, replacement of all copper connectors is a worthwhile form of preventive maintenance. As for the alleged pickiness of the home inspector, he was just passing along some wise, safety-related information.

Q. A home inspector recommended repairs to the exhaust duct on my clothes dryer. He says the duct is too long and the fittings should not be fastened with screws. These recommendations seem kind of trivial to me because the dryer works just fine. What are the legal requirements for exhaust pipes on clothes dryers?

A. The requirements pointed out by your home inspector are important, not only because they maximize the efficiency of your dryer, but because they can prevent your dryer from overheating and causing a fire.

Length requirements for clothes dryer vent ducts are not the same in all states. Depending on the code book in use, lengths can vary from 14 feet to 25 feet or more. In all states, the length of a dryer duct must be shortened if the run has more than one 90-degree turn. To determine the length requirements in your area, call your local building department.

Compliance in some homes is not always possible because some floor plans do not enable venting to the outside of a building without the ducts being too long. In those cases, a booster blower can be installed.

Screws should never be used to fasten duct fittings because lint can accumulate on the screw tips, and this can restrict airflow inside the duct. Dryer lint burns easily. Again, restricted airflow in the duct can cause overheating or a fire.

* To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.

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Title Annotation:Real Estate
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Aug 3, 2018
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