Can Teflon tape be used on gas fittings?

If you’re hooking up a gas dryer, or stove, or another appliance that uses natural gas, here’s a valid question: Can Teflon tape be used on gas fittings?

The answer is yes, with a big caveat.

You have to use the right kind of tape

teflon tape suitable for gas fittings or pipes
Suitable Teflon tape for gas fittings or pipe comes in a yellow package with text saying what it’s rated for. It’s more expensive than the stuff for water pipes, but it’s not worth risking danger to save a few cents.

There’s a big caveat with Teflon tape, or any other type of PFTE tape or thread sealing tape you’re going to use. PFTE is the generic term for the brand name Teflon. The important thing is to not use the same stuff you use on water pipes.

I’ll repeat. Don’t use the same tape you use for water pipes. The cheap Teflon tape that comes in the blue package is for water pipes. You can’t use it on gas. There’s a different kind of PFTE tape that comes in a yellow package. The yellow tape is thicker, harder, and has more tensile strength than the blue stuff. When you feel it, you can feel a bit of a difference. It feels more substantial and gives you more resistance. It’s more expensive too. But it’s not worth risking disaster to save a few cents.

The tape itself tends to have a more yellow tint to it than the stuff for water pipes too.

What about pipe dope?

You can use pipe dope instead, if you wish. I always use the yellow tape on gas lines and fittings because I find it convenient. What you can’t do is use both tape and dope. Use one or the other. If you try to use both, they will interfere with each other.

But I heard you can’t use Teflon tape on gas fittings

color of Teflon tape suitable for gas fittings
Suitable tape for gas fittings or pipe has a yellowish color, like you see here.

If you use too much tape on the pipe joint, you can cause a problem. Use 3-6 turns, leave the top two threads on the pipe bare, and you’ll be fine.

Pull the tape pretty tight as you wrap it, then run a finger over it at least a couple of times to push the tape down into the threads a bit more. Make sure you use enough tape that you can’t see any metal through it. But you need to be able to see the pattern of the threads in the tape. If you can’t see the thread pattern, it’s either not tight enough, or you used too much tape. Try pushing the tape down some more, and if that doesn’t work, try unwrapping one layer of tape.

Teflon tape on gas fittings after assembly
After you apply the tape, tighten it with two wrenches. Note it appears they’re using the wrong kind of tape here for a gas pipe. Use the yellow tape.

Then screw the parts together, tighten with a wrench, or better yet, two wrenches, and you’ll get a good, snug connection. Using a second wrench helps you stabilize pipes while you tighten them so you don’t accidentally damage them.

Further reading

I have some tips on saving money on appliances if you’re interested. Frequently you can save a lot of money by buying used and/or off-brand appliances. And if you’re careful what you buy, you don’t sacrifice anything.

I also have some tips on how I cut my energy usage by 19 percent.

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