Copper Tubing for LP - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-25-2021, 03:09 PM   #1
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Copper Tubing for LP

Hey folks,

I need to run some new propane lines for the furnace, stove, and fridge in my surfside. The previous owners installed lines, but the copper was really kinked in places where the tubing was bent, to the point where it looked as if it might crack. Is there such thing as a high quality copper tubing that you can make 90 degree bends with? Or would I just need to buy elbows for all my 90ís? Just trying to reduce the number of connections in the line.
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Old 05-25-2021, 03:29 PM   #2
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Me, If I were going to replumb the LP and the lines run under the camper I would use the direct burry copper that has a bonded rubber coating and use elbows.
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Old 05-25-2021, 03:47 PM   #3
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There are simple tools available for making bends in copper and steel tubing without kinking the line.I have a few different ones. You'll also need a flaring tool. General rule is no connections inside the trailer except at the appliance, and keep all connections where they can be seen and tested for leaks. EDIT use soft copper tubing that comes in a coil, not straight copper.
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Old 05-25-2021, 03:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
There are simple tools available for making bends in copper and steel tubing without kinking the line.I have a few different ones. You'll also need a flaring tool. General rule is no connections inside the trailer except at the appliance, and keep all connections where they can be seen and tested for leaks. EDIT use soft copper tubing that comes in a coil, not straight copper.
Iím with Bob , get a tubing bender . Using unnecessary fittings just increases the number of potential leak points
Knowing trig and gain will help in locating the bends
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Old 05-25-2021, 04:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
There are simple tools available for making bends in copper and steel tubing without kinking the line.I have a few different ones. You'll also need a flaring tool. General rule is no connections inside the trailer except at the appliance, and keep all connections where they can be seen and tested for leaks. EDIT use soft copper tubing that comes in a coil, not straight copper.
Thanks. Iíll try the bending tool. I was going to make my connections in the vented space behind my fridge. Thereís a removable vented grill for accessing the controls at the rear of the fridge from outside of the trailer. Iím hoping that should offer enough ventilation, plus itís easy access for testing for leaks.
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Old 05-25-2021, 05:26 PM   #6
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there are different grades of copper tube... use "K" copper it is thicker walled and a bit harder to work with but safer.
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:58 PM   #7
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Thanks Gerry, good to know!
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:12 AM   #8
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Exclamation One More Observation

Note that you will need to use flare fittings when working the copper. LP requires flare fittings unlike air/water where it is possible to use compression fittings. Here is a link that explains the difference.

Also, if you donít have one, an inexpensive flaring tool can be found at Harbor Freight or Ace Hardware and just about any big box hardware store.

Remember to slide the nut from the fitting onto the copper line before flaring it.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:28 AM   #9
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Copper tubing

A couple of points; the grade of copper tubing you use is very important, it must be type ACR or L, ACR comes cleaned and sealed from the factory it is necessary for refrigeration systems to prevent contamination. Type L is not as meticulously prepared but both are heavy walled and in 3/8Ē it comes in fully annealed rolls. You can buy an inexpensive tubing bender that will handle 3/8Ē at HD or Harbor Freight, HF a better selection of tools for this kind of work. It definitely takes some practice, when bending consecutive bends that go in different directions it is easy to go the wrong way! Using fittings is mostly used in refrigeration work, the 90ís have long sweeps to keep pressure drops low. We really are supposed to use brass fittings in trailers as solder could melt in a fire, donít need that!!
If you are inexperienced best to go with brass compression fittings and some bending, it will be a lot easier and safer. Good luck
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:21 AM   #10
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Thanks Nick! That was educational.
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Old 05-26-2021, 12:55 PM   #11
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I did residential propane service and installation for a few years. In comments above Gerry says use type K copper, which I believe is straight non bendable lengths only. Then Larry B says to use flare fittings only. Next Nick says to use compression fittings. I agree with Larry as in my work we were not allowed to use compression fittings on propane lines. So by now OP (Jason) must be totally confused and my advice is to get a professional person experienced in propane installation to do the work.
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:01 PM   #12
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I called a supplier today and was told I need to use G Type copper tubing for LP. Yup, pretty confusing stuff for sure. Iím very surprised there are so many varying opinions out there for something that I would have thought to be pretty standard. Itís obviously not as simple as I thought. I think I may just go and get it professionally done. That way if I ever have to do it again Iíll just mimic whatever the pro does. Thanks everybody for the input.
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Old 05-26-2021, 03:19 PM   #13
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Tight bends using salt

I'm installing a new gas line too with multiple bends because new fridge has the fitting pointing in a different direction from the old one. After watching many YouTube videos showing how to make very tight bends by packing the tube with either water, ice, sand or salt, I'm thinking about trying the salt method. Anyone have luck with that?
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:26 PM   #14
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I'm installing a new gas line too with multiple bends because new fridge has the fitting pointing in a different direction from the old one. After watching many YouTube videos showing how to make very tight bends by packing the tube with either water, ice, sand or salt, I'm thinking about trying the salt method. Anyone have luck with that?
I watched a video last night where the guy packed the tube with sand. Looks like it would work. I may try it on a small piece first. Have you bought your tubing yet? If so, what type did u buy?
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:46 PM   #15
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I watched a video last night where the guy packed the tube with sand. Looks like it would work. I may try it on a small piece first. Have you bought your tubing yet? If so, what type did u buy?
Yes, a sales rep at the tubing company that supplies to the big box stores suggested 3/8"OD x 10' Refrigeration Copper Coil sold at Home Depot. It's clean on the inside and higher quality that the cheaper stuff. SKU 647 791 $16.15 USD
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:56 PM   #16
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Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2021, 06:59 PM   #17
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I watched a video last night where the guy packed the tube with sand. Looks like it would work. I may try it on a small piece first. Have you bought your tubing yet? If so, what type did u buy?
Years back the largest size EMT electrical conduit was 2Ē so the EMT benders only went up to 2ĒĒ . When 2 1/2Ē , 3Ē & 4Ē EMT came out we had to improvise a bender so we packed the conduit with sand ,capped the ends and bent the conduit between the tires of the construction trailer .
Worked okay for kicks and offsets , not so much for 90ís and saddles
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Old 05-26-2021, 11:15 PM   #18
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I've worked with a fair number of propane lines. Other than agreeing with using flared fittings I'm only going to suggest that you go to a small rv repair shop and ask what they use. Beyond that make sure you have no connection in or above enclosed areas. You probably know that propane is heavier than air and will accumulate in those areas which is the reason for trailer explosions. They're a lot worse than fires.
It's not difficult to run copper if you take your time and are willing to start over when something doesn't work. You don't want any unnecessary connections.
It's always good to learn something new.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:03 AM   #19
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I'm kind of surprised that copper-nickel isn't used for propane lines that are under the trailer and exposed to road debris. This stuff was invented for brake lines as a better alternative to the commonly used tin plated steel, which rusts if it gets nicked.

re sand, I've used hot sand to bend poly-pipe it keeps it from collapsing when you get it hot enough to bend. never heard of it being used for metal tubing of any sort. biggest issue would be getting all the quartz dust out of the inside of the tubing so you don't clog burner orifices.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:18 AM   #20
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They make a device for bending copper pipe. It works. If you don't want to use it, try vinegar or dryer sheets.
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