Know the basics of a new piping pressure test

October 5, 2023 By    

A leak check and pressure test are often thought to be the same, but they are two very different tests.

Last month, we covered leak checking and, in this article, we address pressure testing.

A pressure test is performed on new piping prior to placing it into operation. The pressure test will verify the integrity of the piping material and ensure that it will perform as designed.

Benny Gay

The 2021 edition of NFPA 54 covers pressure testing in Chapter 8.1. Basic procedures include the following:

⦁ The testing medium must be air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide or an inert gas. Propane or oxygen cannot be used.

⦁ The pressure test must be completed with all appliances and equipment disconnected from the piping.

⦁ The test pressure must be measured with a manometer or similar device designed to indicate a pressure loss due to leakage and having a range not greater than five times the test pressure.

⦁ The test pressure must be no less than one and one-half times the proposed maximum working pressure but at least 3 psi.

⦁ The test pressure must hold for at least 10 minutes.

The new piping pressure test is one of the most important tasks we perform. It must be completed and documented accurately and thoroughly to ensure the integrity of the propane system and the safety of the customer. Consult NFPA 54 for more specific details.

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Benny Gay is vice president of operational support at ThompsonGas. He can be reached at

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