Gas line question

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

cmac2012

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
79
Reaction score
3
Location
Redwood City, People's Republic of California
I was told years ago that the plug visible in the photo, a commonly seen arrangement though not always, should not be used for a new line as PG&E or whatever gas company is in one's area wants to use that for testing or maintenance. I didn't quite get it, it's on the homeowner side of the meter. I searched the web yesterday for info on that and couldn't find anything.

I'm tempted to run a new line into the house, the owner wants to install an NG 5 burner cooktop. It's not a large house, about 1500 sq. ft. and all of the piping under the house is 1/2. That 1/2 line feeds a furnace, a water heater, and a dryer. I was thinking to tap in at the end where it feeds the dryer, no good options for tapping in under the house but I'm concerned that the cooktop might not get sufficient gas. Running a new, dedicated pipe for the cooktop removes about 24 feet from the length of the run that would be going on if I tapped in by the dryer. I think it's about 30 feet from the meter to the cooktop area.

My thought on the piping by the meter was to replace the plug with a T, plug the in-line end of the T and put an elbow in the perpindicular port, all in the same plane as the pipe now going into the house. Perhaps use a 4 or 5 inch nipple before the elbow so as to move the new line far enough away from the existing line for easy install.

 

CT18

professional
Professional
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Messages
793
Reaction score
245
Location
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
I would do what you said as opposed to taking off the already small 1/2" line under the house. I can't believe they have 1/2" serving the furnace water heater and the dryer currently.
 

JG plumbing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2021
Messages
243
Reaction score
61
Location
Iowa
It sounds like this is a higher pressure system. Here's what I would do. Map the current piping. Properly size the whole system on paper. Then pipe accordingly. You may find your current plan is best. Or maybe there's a better way. After you know what you need you can price accordingly. I know this is just general info and maybe not helping you, but I do think it's the way to go.
 

cmac2012

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
79
Reaction score
3
Location
Redwood City, People's Republic of California
I would do what you said as opposed to taking off the already small 1/2" line under the house. I can't believe they have 1/2" serving the furnace water heater and the dryer currently.
It's a bit shocking. The house is in Cupertino, home of Apple, it has it's exclusive areas but this is not one of them. Plenty nice neigborhood, no doubt the house has good vaue owing to location but there are many signs it was part of a modest tract house development back when. Wasn't always Silicon Valley around here. But going with half inch to save a few bucks? Just whack. The dryer and water heater are in the garage, opposite end of the house from the meter. I could see going with 3/4 to the furnace and far wall and then using 1/2 inch for the appliances in the garage. Even then, 3/4 for the WH seems like a good idea.

Can't get those people on the phone to ask them what the hayell they were thinking, so onward I go.
 

cmac2012

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
79
Reaction score
3
Location
Redwood City, People's Republic of California
It sounds like this is a higher pressure system. Here's what I would do. Map the current piping. Properly size the whole system on paper. Then pipe accordingly. You may find your current plan is best. Or maybe there's a better way. After you know what you need you can price accordingly. I know this is just general info and maybe not helping you, but I do think it's the way to go.
Good ideas. I'll be in that vicinity today, I want to look at a couple more items, then I'll draw it out. My calculations on BTU requirements have this barely being adequate at the dryer. I was worried that going on from that point could present problems, if nothing else, unreliable flame at the cooktop.
 

arctic bill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2020
Messages
94
Reaction score
27
Location
montreal
All this talk about home owners doing natural gas work drives me crazy, We should not be giving free advice. If something happens we could be held accountable. I do not know the law in the states but in Canada if you are a knowledgeable person, lawyer, engineer, plumber , ect and you give advice and something goes sideways you are responsible.
I am just saying .
 

JG plumbing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2021
Messages
243
Reaction score
61
Location
Iowa
I agree. I don't like giving people advice they can't handle. I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. Pretty much only a person who knows what they are doing could follow my advise.
 

Twowaxhack

Professional
Professional
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
716
Location
United states
All this talk about home owners doing natural gas work drives me crazy, We should not be giving free advice. If something happens we could be held accountable. I do not know the law in the states but in Canada if you are a knowledgeable person, lawyer, engineer, plumber , ect and you give advice and something goes sideways you are responsible.
I am just saying .
You should probably sign out then, this is a DIY forum.
 

Ferdinand

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
86
Reaction score
9
Location
,
All this talk about home owners doing natural gas work drives me crazy, We should not be giving free advice. [...]
You should probably sign out then, this is a DIY forum.
:smashy: Too funny.

A few years ago our gas furnace refused to fire up, leaving the house c-c-c-cold. Thermostat works fine. So I took a closer look inside the furnace to see if I could figure out what's wrong. It looks simple enough. The way it works is, the thermostat commands the furnace to start, a small fan in the chimney runs to get a draft going up the chimney, a ceramic glow plug powers up and glows red hot, the gas valve opens "clunk" and poof we have flame, a flame sensor then confirms we have a good flame, and presto the furnace keeps running until the thermostat eventually says that's enough and shuts the gas valve solenoid closed again.

Except the furnace wouldn't light. I'm watching closely as my wife turns the thermostat up. The chimney fan runs, the gas valve clunks open for a brief moment, but no flame, the flame sensor correctly identifies that the gas valve is open with no resulting flame, so the computer immediately shuts the gas solenoid safely closed again, and no joy, no heat. The problem is obvious. The ceramic igniter glow plug never glowed red hot to light the flame.

Easy enough. There's a little two-wire electrical connector and just one small screw holding the igniter in place. Remove that and inspect. There's an obvious crack in the ceramic element interrupting the circuit. Need a new one. Easy-peasy. This cheap thing looks like it's made in China for 25 cents, so it'll probably cost $25 here. Fair enough. Let's go buy one.

In the meantime, I fetch my barbecue lighter, get the wife to crank up the thermostat again, when the gas valve clunks open for a second, I light the furnace with my barbecue lighter, and presto. It's all good. The furnace will happily run until the thermostat says enough. It just can't start up again automatically until I get around to replacing that broken ceramic igniter.

Guess what? Home Depot doesn't sell those, neither does Canadian Tire, Walmart, Lowes, or any other big box store. I eventually tracked down a special heating supply shop across the other side of the city. I showed him the cracked igniter, he says, "Oh yeah, that's busted. It's a common failure." He reaches to the shelf behind him and grabs one of hundreds off the shelf, slaps it down on the counter. Yay!

Then he says, "I'll need to see your gas fitter's licence."

WTF? I haven't touched any of the gas fittings. It's just one little screw that holds the igniter in place, and one little electrical connector to plug it in. Why would I need a gas fitter's licence?

Swoosh. No sooner had I said that, the brand new, not busted, not cracked, shiny new igniter that I just spent several hours tracking down gets whipped out from under my nose and replaced straight back onto the shelf.

"No licence, then I can't sell you this. Good bye."

Nooooooo.
:lightening:

It gets worse.

I'm not allowed to fix it myself. So I need a licensed furnace repairman to install a stupid new igniter for me. I give up. I get on the phone and call for professional help. Problem is, I'm now on the far opposite of the side of the city from our house and the repairman (repairmen always take hours, if not days, to show up) actually gets to my house before I do! He's there waiting in my driveway. That means I haven't had an opportunity to put the busted igniter back into the furnace before he got there.

I show him the cracked igniter. He says, "Yup, that's busted." He has dozens of them in his truck, grabs one and his tools, and into the house we go. By then it's pretty obvious I've already had my fingers inside the furnace.

I never even mentioned the bbq lighter. But simply removing the furnace panel to access the busted igniter is enough. He gives me a big lecture about how I could have blown myself up, could have blown up the entire house, the whole neighbourhood, half the city, etc. Now he needs to "re-certify" the furnace. End of the day, I get presented with a bill for $500!!!

I complained to the company about their piracy and eventually had the bill reduced to only $250, at the cost of enduring yet more lectures about how I could have blown up the entire city. Sheesh. What a bunch of crooks.

The worst part was, I eventually found out I could have ordered the same part online from Amazon for $18. I could have happily continued starting my furnace with my barbecue lighter until the new igniter was delivered to my door.
 

havasu

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
9,895
Reaction score
1,637
Location
Southern California,
If someone would like to provide rules for gas line repair, which would exonerate you from providing sound advice, I would be happy to post it.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
466
Reaction score
175
Location
North Carolina
:smashy: Too funny.
The worst part was, I eventually found out I could have ordered the same part online from Amazon for $18. I could have happily continued starting my furnace with my barbecue lighter until the new igniter was delivered to my door.
Now THAT was a good one. Your igniter issue was indeed a common one in the 90s until they improved the igniter; what the "engineers" who designed this piece failed to realize is that the igniter basically is a sacrificial thing; part of it gets used up with each ignition. They made part of it very, very thin--and this part eventually broke. I've had three replaced, but under warranty or a service plan. When the improved the design the issue went away.

I knew your story was going to get interesting, @Ferdinand when you started talking about gas furnaces and then brought barbecue lighters into the discussion.

Amazon--amongst others--has truly leveled the playing field. Most parts for many things are now available and will be at your house in days. However some parts are crazy priced at the retail level. When the bearings went on my Bosch table saw, they were easy enough to source, and so was the damaged motor armature. My Bosch hammer drill, however, was just too costly to repair with a broken clutch and weak batteries. Because it was "Bosch" I managed to sell all the parts and pieces on eBay, and buy new DeWalt. A better value for me.
 

JG plumbing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2021
Messages
243
Reaction score
61
Location
Iowa
Rules seem dumb to people who are competent. I can tell you, I would not want many many many........ many people touching "their own" stuff.

Plumbing systems are interconnected and houses are often times closely spaced. "your stuff" is really very often not.

Anyone ever tried the exercise where you write down how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,and then someone follows the directions to the letter. Then it happens, you forget to tell the person to take the butter knife out of the jelly jar, then they ask how to spread the peanut butter while the knife is still in the jelly jar?

This is where I refer to my above comment. Judgement.
 

Ferdinand

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
86
Reaction score
9
Location
,
I knew your story was going to get interesting, when you started talking about gas furnaces and then brought barbecue lighters into the discussion.
It was all perfectly safe. I carefully studied how it works. What could possibly go wrong? :cool:

The gas solenoid only opens for about one second. If the flame sensor detects no flame, the gas solenoid immediately shuts closed again. But if the sensor detects a good flame then the solenoid remains open until the thermostat eventually shuts the furnace down again.

It's actually a MUCH safer system than a typical gas barbecue. There people will turn on the gas, open all the burner valves, then fumble for several minutes trying to light a match and, BOOM, no more eyebrows.

With the furnace, I could see there was only a brief one-second opportunity to light the flame before the solenoid automatically shuts down the gas flow. There's no possibility of blowing anything up. I never even touched any of the gas fittings, nor interfered with any of the operating functions. In the absence of the igniter working properly, the furnace just shuts down. Instead of the igniter lighting the flame, the barbecue lighter works just fine.

Here's an Amazon link to similar types of igniter. www.amazon.com/s?k=ceramic+furnace+igniter
 

havasu

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
9,895
Reaction score
1,637
Location
Southern California,
Please refer to the posted rules, and specifically item # 8.

 

CT18

professional
Professional
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Messages
793
Reaction score
245
Location
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Honestly i would prefer homeowners not work on the gas in there houses. Like what is posted above that if they are we should try and help them so they dont themselves up. I have posted on other sites when i thought the homeowner was in over there head.
 

arctic bill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2020
Messages
94
Reaction score
27
Location
montreal
For my self , i will not post any further advice to home owners about how to do gaz piping. I do not want to take away any job that a licenced plumber might get.
 
Top