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How to Install a Gas Stove—Without Dangerous Leaks

Afraid to hook up a gas appliance? You should be! A gas leak in your home can be fatal. Here's the right way to connect a range and a water heater to the gas line.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to hook up a gas range

Hooking up a gas range or water heater is a relatively simple job requiring just basic tools and readily available supplies. And if you use the right materials and follow instructions carefully, you can safely do the job yourself. A professional may charge as much as a few hundred dollars for a hook-up.

We'll show you in this article how to do two basic types of gas connection: hooking up a gas range using a flexible, corrugated connector (a gas clothes dryer is similar); and using threaded black steel gas pipe to hook up a water heater.

Flexible corrugated gas connectors and gas pipe and fittings (black) are available at most home centers and well-stocked hardware stores. Stainless steel or coated brass connectors are the only type of flexible connectors sold these days, and the only type you can safely and legally use. Older types of corrugated connectors—sold until the 1980s—made of uncoated brass or other metal have been found to be unsafe. Have one in your house? Replace it now!

The most important step to a safe installation is to buy the right connector. Here's what to look for:

  • Buy a connector that is clearly marked for the appliance you're hooking up—either “range” or “dryer.” Typically the corrugated tube of a range connector is 1/2 in. dia. i.d. (inside diameter), and a dryer connector is 3/8 in. dia. i.d. These dimensions are not always marked on the package, but they will be marked for either range or dryer.
  • Buy a connector that comes packaged with the end connector fittings you need (see Photo 3). Usually the gas line coming into your kitchen will be 1/2-in. black threaded pipe, and the connection to the stove will be either a male (external threads) or female (internal threads) 1/2-in. fitting. If you cannot find a connector package with end fittings that match what you need for the gas line, use a black gas pipe fitting on the line to accommodate the end connector fitting. For example, in Photos 2 and 3, we show a 1/2-in. x 3/4-in. coupling on the gas line to accommodate the 3/4-in. end connector fitting. (For more possible connections and information about connecting to soft copper supply lines, see How to Connect Gas Pipe Lines)
  • Use a connector that's plenty long so you'll have enough room to work between the stove and the wall. They come in lengths from 24 in. to 60 in.
  • Don't reuse a flexible connector; if you get a new appliance, buy a new connector as well. Follow the instructions for installing the connector religiously. Our Photos 1 through 5 give a real-life picture of how this is done. Here are some additional guidelines:
  • Be careful not to kink or force the corrugated connector into sharp bends, which could eventually cause a break.
  • Always check your work for leaks (Photo 6). Gas leak detectors are sold at home centers, hardware stores and online.
  • Although it's not always required to have a range hookup inspected,we strongly recommend that you call your local gas company or plumbing inspector to check your work.

Hook up a gas water heater

The gas connection to a water heater is usually done with rigid 1/2-in. dia. black gas pipe. In some areas, it's acceptable to use a flexible stainless steel connector, similar to a range hook-up, but check with your plumbing inspector or gas utility first. Rigid pipe is preferable, since a water heater's gas line is exposed and more vulnerable to movement and damage.

In many cases, the gas port on your new water heater will be in the same location as the old one, relative to your gas line. This makes the hook-up easy: Just remove the short lengths of pipe and fittings, as shown in Photos 2 and 3, clean the threads, apply new Teflon tape to the threads, and reconnect the entire assembly exactly as it was before.

However, if the heater's gas port is in a different location, you will have to change the length of one or possibly two short lengths of pipe, as shown in Photo 4. Nipples—short lengths of black pipe—are sold at most home centers in 1/2-in. increments for the shorter lengths.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Use yellow Teflon tape, intended for threaded gas connections, not white Teflon tape, which is thinner.
  • Test all your joints for leaks.
  • In most, but not all areas, a permit and inspection is required for a water heater hookup. In either case, we strongly recommend that you call your local gas company or plumbing inspector to check your work.

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How to Install a Gas Stove—Without Dangerous Leaks

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