Natural Gas Piping and Ventilation

Learn the basics of natural gas piping and proper ventilation.

Understanding the rules and regulations regarding building with gas piping and proper venting of gas appliances is important for maintaining your safety. Below are the basics regarding natural gas piping protecting your meter and proper appliance ventilation.


The gas piping from linking the gas company’s meter to your appliance belongs to you, the customer, and is therefore your responsibility. Be sure it is the proper kind of pipe and that it is installed, tested, and maintained in accordance with applicable state and local codes. The piping should be installed by a qualified person and inspected by local building officials.

Particular attention should be given to protecting any underground house piping from corrosion. Avoid burying house piping under buildings whenever possible, although it may be installed provided specific safety and code standards are followed.

Your installer and building official can provide specific, detailed requirements for installation. If existing underground piping under buildings is not installed to current code standards, it may represent a hazard and should be inspected.

Contact a qualified heating contractor, plumber, or appliance installer for further information or to arrange an inspection.

Corrugated stainless steel tubing in your house line

Some natural gas house lines are constructed with corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST). During thunderstorms, lightning can strike metal substances in a home, causing electrical arcing, which in turn can damage the corrugated tubing.

Proper installation of CSST can prevent lightning damage. If you have questions about your house lines, contact a qualified contractor or a CSST manufacturer.

Protecting your gas meter (guard posts)

Federal pipeline safety regulations require the gas meter to be installed in a readily accessible location. When there is evidence of a potential hazard such as traffic, the meter must be protected by a guard post. A minimum of 6” clear space must be kept between the guard post and the meter set or houseline piping. In some cases, the installation of two guard posts may be necessary to meet the safety requirement.

Protecting your meter during the winter:

  • Locate your meter before shoveling or plowing, and don't pile snow on or up against it.
  • Gently brush snow, ice or other debris off your meter with a soft broom or brush. Do not scrape ice from the meter with sharp tools.
  • Clear ice or snow from roof or other structures above the meter that may cause damage when falling.

Appliance ventilation

According to state code, "fuel burning appliances shall be vented to the outside in accordance with their listing and label, and manufacturers' installation instructions, unless listed and labeled for unvented use."

For your safety, operate your appliance in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Gas and electric dryers need to be vented to the outside to prevent moisture and lint accumulations.

Check your vent or chimney and make certain it is tightly sealed, clean, and in good repair to ensure proper venting. Promptly report any combustion odor to NW Natural, and a service technician will investigate immediately.