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Old 04-21-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
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natural gas install to existing house


Hi. I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this but here goes.
We built a small ICF second home in AZ and did it all ourselves. i wanted to install natural gas (it is available at the street) but my husband had never used it before so he did not want to bother installing the piping, etc. (he won that round) we went all electric and even got an electric on-demand water heater. It works ok but does not seem to get the water hot enough for the dishwasher but is ok for a single shower at a time.
my question is, is it possible to put in natural gas after the fact? it isn't totally necessary but the electric water heater doesn't do 2 showers simultaneously (we have a double shower) and doesn't seem to heat the dishwasher water enough. Any advice?

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Old 04-22-2009, 06:14 AM   #2
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natural gas install to existing house


Water heaters have adjustable thermostats, maybe it(they) just needs to be turned up a bit.

Installing a gas line is not a DIY job in most areas. Local utilities do not like homeowners doing their own gas lines. Yes, it can be added after the fact, but involves digging. Check local code.

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Old 04-22-2009, 07:35 AM   #3
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natural gas install to existing house


Your local natural gas provider will have to bring gas regulator and meter to the outside of your home. From that point, do not try to bring gas into the house yourself. Too dangerous. In my case for a 32 year old home, it cost about $1,700 to have three runs made to my living room (fireplace), kitchen (stove) and workshop (heater). I contacted a local company that did residential gas installs to complete the work. Their cost also included permits and inspections.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:44 AM   #4
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natural gas install to existing house


If you're not getting enough hot water from the tankless unit, you might have the wrong size. These are sized like A/C units.
Agree with the gas issue. Utility provides to the meter, you're responsible to bring it in the house. By "you" I mean a qualified installer.
Usually it needs to be installed by a licensed plumber. Inspected by both the utility and the local Plumbing inspector. That requires a pressure test that indicates the pipes are air tight before gas is allowed into them.
Unless hubby is a pipe fitter, spend the money.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:48 AM   #5
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natural gas install to existing house


thanks all. i guess i'll probably have to live with it the way it is. we researched the heater before we purchased and it is "OK" like i said. but the thing that bothers me is the dishwasher not getting hot enough (maybe is the dishwasher). we have the water heater turned up to the next to highest setting (120 degrees). the water temp difference in S. AZ fits into the guidelines for this unit, etc.
As far as the gas line, we have trouble getting people to come out because we are pretty far from a city (small town, middle of nowhere). we can trench etc, have equipment but i understand about the danger.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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Most dishwashers come with a built in heater, either your heater isn't working or it's not built in.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:08 AM   #7
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natural gas install to existing house


If this is the correct size tankless water heater for the house, then there might be something wrong with the unit or the maintainance guidelines might not be being followed.
Have you been doing the periodic maintainance on the unit? Back flushes? Filter cleaning? etc...
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:35 AM   #8
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natural gas install to existing house


Aside from the utility company's portion of the work, gas installs can certainly be done safely by DIYers in many parts of the country. Local ordinances do sometimes prohibit it, but not everywhere.

It frustrates me that lots of people instantly chime in and try to scare DIYers from doing their own gas piping. With the appropriate inspections (which incorporate air tests for leaks) there's nothing unsafe about a DIY gas job. I look at them all the time. What's dangerous is people that don't know what they're doing often try to circumvent the permits and inspections that ensure a safe job.

One thing that needs to be considered is that any gas appliances need to have appropriate vents...Something you don't have with electric.

I'd take a hard look at the heating element in the dishwasher.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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natural gas install to existing house


I'd take a hard look at getting rid of that tankless heater!
I'd put in an electric hotwater tank with a solar preheater!
There's a lot people that are unsatisfied with tankless heaters. Especially, electric!
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:44 PM   #10
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natural gas install to existing house


Wow! this is great stuff, gang. This is brand new construction so the dishwasher should not be malfunctioning. It was only used this winter a few times after it was hooked up. same with the tankless water heater. I will investigate the dishwasher heater issue. seems like a brand new, not cheap, one should work properly.

On the tankless, I also think a solar pre-heater would help but i need to reasearch how/where to install it. Otherwise, i'm not really unhappy with the tankless except that with 2 -2.5 GPM showers going, the water wasn't quite hot enough for me, but hubby was OK w/ it. It was fine with only 1 shower going. The 5 GPM is at the top of the range for that heater.

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