Antique gas lit chandelier, Samuel Morse Estate, Poughkeepsie NY (C) Daniel Friedman How to Check or Abandon Old Gas Lighting Pipes & Fixtures
     


  • GAS LIGHTING PIPES FIXTURES - CONTENTS: How to inspect, report, & correct antique or old gas lighting piping & fixtures. Gas Fixtures & Piping in Historic & other Older Homes. Old or Abandoned Gas Piping & Fixtures: safety warnings
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about gas piping in antique or other old buildings: gas piping, gas lighting & other gas fixtures in historic homes
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Working or antique or abandoned gas piping & fixtures:

This article describes how to recognize & evaluate the safety of antique gas fixtures and piping that may be found in historic homes or other older buildings. Gas piping in older buildings may have been cut-off from its source, re-used for electical wiring, or, surprise, antique gas piping is sometimes found still connected and "live"!.

Here we provide descriptions and photographs of unsafe gas piping, indications of unsafe or improperly operating gas appliances, gas meters, and other gas installation defects are provided.This document series on inspecting gas piping in buildings also provides free sample draft home inspection report language for reporting defects in oil and gas piping at residential properties.

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How to inspect, report, & correct antique or old gas lighting piping & fixtures

Photograph of gas lighting in a pre-1900 home Photograph of gas lighting in a pre-1900 home

Watch out: improper installation and even improper inspection and testing methods involving natural or "LP" gas can involve dangerous conditions and risk fire or explosion. If you smell gas you should leave the building immediately and should do so without doing anything that could create a spark such as operating a light switch or telephone. From a safe location, call your gas company's emergency line and/or your fire department.

Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution. Also see How to Report Defects in Oil Piping. NOTICE: while example report language is provided here, reproduction of this or any of our web pages or their contents at other websites or in printed documents for sale is prohibited.

Antique gas lighting Samuel Morse Home Poughkeepsie NY (C) Daniel FriedmanGas Fixtures & Piping in Historic & other Older Homes

Evaluating old gas lighting and other gas fixtures and fittings in older homes. It may be possible to make safe use of gas lighting in homes, both indoors and out, provided that the piping and fixtures have been installed according to contemporary building codes and that the piping and fixtures are in good condition.

But here we address the discovery of antique gas lights and piping in homes. Generally such fixtures and pipes should be considered a safety hazard, unless the system has been thoroughly inspected and brought to modern safety standards.

Our photo (left) and the next wall-mounted antique gas-light shown below illustrates an intact wall lighting sconce located in the Samuel Morse Home in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The photographs of various antique and even historic gas lights as well as remains of wall-mounted gas lights in other older buildings found in this article are a reminder that a building owner or her home inspector should never assume that old gas lines in a building are no longer connected to a gas source.


Antique gas light wall sconce Samuel Morse Home Poughkeepsie NY (C) Daniel Friedmanh


Watch out
: don't assume that all "old or antique gas pipes" in a building have been actually disconneted from the gas supply. The photograph at the top of this page shows our discovery of an antique indoor gas lighting fixture which was being used as a towel rack. The building owner had always assumed the gas piping was inactive.

The photo at left shows another type of wall mounted gas light, also in the Samuel Morse historic homestead in Poughkeepsie, NY.

While the gas piping routes in some older Victorian homes have often been converted to use for electrical wiring, often we've been surprised to find that supposedly long-abandoned gas fixtures, pipes, and fittings, are actually still active, and potentially dangerous.

These photographs show still-active gas-lighting piping in homes built around 1900, with the gas fittings still active nearly 100 years later! A child pulling on the towel on that funny "towel rack" could have resulted in a catastrophe.

Old or Abandoned Gas Piping & Fixtures: safety warnings

Photograph of antique gas light fixture still in use indoorsImmediate LP or natural gas safety hazards: if there is evidence of an LP or natural gas leak at a building, gas odors, for example, you should:

  • Do not do anything that is likely to cause a gas explosion, such as lighting a match, operating an electrical switch, or even using a telephone in the building
  • Leave the building immediately and keep a safe distance away - 100 feet or more.
  • Notify other building occupants of the safety concern
  • Contact the local gas company and/or fire department

Heating equipment which the inspector (or building occupant or manager) judges to be an immediate life safety hazard should be shut down and appropriate emergency services called.

See GAS LEAK DETECTION, LP / NG for leak detection procedures and alternatives.

Other LP & Natural Gas Home Safety recommendations

  • Gas piping support: check that gas lines are adequately supported - this will help avoid leaks.
  • Abandoned gas piping in buildings: we recommend that unused gas equipment be removed and that you have the unused section of gas line properly sealed by a qualified plumber or by your gas supplier. Leaky old appliances or gas lines are dangerous.

 

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GAS LIGHTING PIPES FIXTURES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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