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Thread: Pipe-to-flex line valve question!

  1. #1

    Question Pipe-to-flex line valve question!

    Hello there Terry's forum! Orange smock wearer here(HD "associate"). I work in the plumbing department. I've got a question that perhaps you folks may be able to answer. I am by no means an expert, but I know quite a bit more than Joe American.

    I've been getting a lot of customers lately who have been bringing their old flex supply lines into the store, so that they can buy a new one the same size. Most of the time it is because they bought an appliance from us (dryer, range, water heater) and they want to use a new flex line with it. There is something odd: a lot of times, they will have a gray coated flex line and I will have no equivalent for it! I don't have any hoses whose end connectors are the same size! My 1/2" flare end flex lines are smaller, and my 5/8(15/16) flare flex lines are too big! So one day, I headed over to my brass fittings area and tried a 5/8" flare to 1/2" mip connector and tried it on a customer's old flex line and it fit! Woo hoo! This 5/8" was much smaller than the fittings by my gas flex lines that were marked as 5/8"(15/16).

    So now I know there are two 5/8" flared sizes out there: 5/8" and 5/8"(15/16). I have fittings for both, but only 5/8"(15/16) flex lines, none that are 5/8". Did they stop making flex lines that size? My customers give me the look of death when I tell them that they need to change their valve(turn off gas, run pipes till empty, check for leaks etc.) Is there an easier solution for them? Do other stores still carry the old 5/8"? A lot of them ask me for reducers or increasers but I'm pretty sure that only a tube with a flared end is allowed to go on a flared valve. I've googled and can't find any information on why this old flex line size isn't carried anywhere anymore.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Real plumbing supply houses have both sizes. The best solution would be for them to have the appliance hooked up by a licensed professional so they dont blow their house off the foundation.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    They are bringing you the old 1/2" i.d. gas flex lines which were used on gas ranges for decades. They had 5/8x3/4" ips flare adapters on the ends. The new ones are 5/8" i.d./3/4" o.d.

  4. #4

    Smile

    Thanks, yes these flex lines are quite old most of the time. Maybe the supply store 'round the corner has the old 5/8x3/4 ones. I'll pop in there and check it out. If the store doesn't have them I'll find out the best solution. I had heard a rumor once that PG&E (gas company in Northern California) will be able to send professionals out to change the old valve for free, I'll give them a call too.

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Gas valves for ranges often used an actual 5/8 flare, and for some practical reason which I have forgotten, they do not make gas connectors or fittings in that size any more. The 5/8 tube has 15/16" flare nuts on it.

    You used to carry a flare adapter over in the Anderson Barrows fitting bay, but I have not seen them for a few years. The best solution for the customer is to replace the gas valve with the currently available sizes.

    That gray tubing was painted steel, and I think there were some recalls on it due to cracking, so encourage them not to reuse it. One thing to be careful of.....I think 1/2" FIP fittings thread onto that old flare, which may have been why they changed it, because of course it does not seal. If a customer brings in some kind of fitting or connector with about 2 miles of teflon tape wrapped around it, this may be what happened!

    Remember.....it is not your fault that things change. Ask your guy over in electrical how much crap he gets because ceiling fan light kits only come with candelabra sockets, or if you're in CA,WA, or OR....why you can't sell a 100 watt BR bulb. Anyway, remember that the most important thing is to convince the guy not to do something illegal or stupid!
    Last edited by jimbo; 02-08-2009 at 12:19 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    One thing to be careful of.....I think 1/2" FIP fittings thread onto that old flare, which may have been why they changed it, because of course it does not seal. If a customer brings in some kind of fitting or connector with about 2 miles of teflon tape wrapped around it, this may be what happened!
    Hit the nail right on the head. A lot of times I'll see one of my customers by the flex lines threading their old 5/8" lines onto a 1/2" black pipe and I run over and explain tapered threads and why they don't work with flare threads and then go on from there.

    I called and the local PG&E office does indeed change valves for free($15 if you don't provide a suitable replacement). They explained that a while back, the General Services Administration changed the certification for 5/8" flare nuts on flex lines designed for home appliances to be 15/16" instead but they didn't didn't know exactly why. Also, the old valves are against code and wouldn't pass an inspection. Thanks for clearing this all up so that I could help my customers better.

    edit: Same confusion with compression (o.d.)1/2" and pipe 1/2"
    Last edited by drengnir; 02-08-2009 at 09:08 PM.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Smockman,
    Thank you for being thorough and wanting to provide accurate information to your customers. It is not something that we often see at your store and your thoroughness is to be commended!



    Often we overhear the advice and cannot believe what customers are being told. Again I commend you!

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