Installing a Gas Heater Plumbing System: What Materials Should You Use?

When it comes to installing a gas heater plumbing system, there are a variety of materials to choose from.


, black iron, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and copper are the most commonly used materials for manufacturing gas pipes. However, it is important to check with your local utility company to determine what is allowed in your area before installing any type of material. Black iron and corrugated stainless steel (CSST) are usually approved materials, but the CSST requires manufacturer certification for anyone who is going to purchase and install the material.Hydronic systems have been used for many years to transfer heat to building structures.

With the advances in materials, hydronic heating systems have become an efficient and comfortable source of heat that can be safe, durable, reliable and easily accessible. The efficiency of such a system can be further increased depending on the type of piping material used. Let's take a closer look at the different heat pipe materials available and which one is best suited for your project.Hydronics works by using water as a medium for transferring heat in cooling and heating systems. A hydronic piping system is responsible for circulating hot or cold water in a continuous loop between the terminal units and the pipes.

The terminal units act as heat exchangers that can be used for both hot and cold water.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

pipes are durable and resistant to water degradation and chemicals. They are commonly used in sewer systems and drainage, drain and ventilation (DWV) piping systems, as well as electrical insulation. However, they are not recommended when there is too much exposure to the sun, as they can be deformed when exposed. Nor are they resistant to chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

pipes are resistant to most salts, acids and alkalis, but they are less durable than ABS pipes as they are designed to be softer and more flexible than most plastic materials.

They are also resistant to water degradation and can be used both above and below the ground.


pipes are made of cross-linked polyethylene, mainly for the purpose of strengthening the material. This material will then go through extrusion, which you can use for a variety of applications such as hydronic radiant heating and cooling systems, building piping systems, and residential water pipes. PEX is a flexible plastic material and is ideal for hot and cold water supplies.


pipes have remained the preferred option for a long time due to their durability, resistance to leaks, recyclability and ability to withstand temperature fluctuations. The major disadvantages of copper are that it is expensive and the installation is complex.

Lead pipes are common in industries because of their flexibility, malleability and resistance to corrosion. However, due to several health issues, lead pipes are prohibited for residential use.

Ductile iron

is also one of the most preferred materials for pipes due to its ductility, durability, and corrosion resistance. Ductile iron pipes are widely used in process chemicals, wastewater and sludge.


is probably the best-known material for industrial applications including piping systems due to its durability, versatility, reliability, ease of installation and maintenance. The main drawback of steel is that it is prone to rust which means that maintenance can be expensive.When weighing all these options together it becomes clear that PEX is the best choice for hydronic heating systems due to its challenge-free installation process.

Traditional pipe materials such as steel or copper are stiff, heavy and require accessories for every curve or turn; they often need open flames to make the joining systems for hydronic heating applications; they are difficult to cut; and require special tools or equipment for cutting them - all resulting in additional costs, more time and the services of an expert.Do not attempt to install a gas water heater yourself unless you have experience with welding, working with natural gas, following local installation codes - or unless you hire an expert who does! To replace a faulty gas water heater or install a new one you need a gas supply line, a cold water supply line, and a combustion connection to divert harmful flue gases. The proper pipe size is important for each gas appliance to receive enough gas to function properly - so make sure you get it right! Within the city of Seattle alone anyone who installs gas piping on property that is not owned by them must hold a Seattle gas pipeline mechanic license.