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Old 10-07-2008, 03:46 AM   #1
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


See the small pipe (1/2 inch) with a cap on it below the meter. (2nd photo is a close up). This was installed in 1963 and is a unmodified original install.

What is the purpose for this 1/2 inch pipe that is capped at ground level? It does not enter the house. Do you think it goes anywhere or connects to the gas system?

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:16 AM   #2
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


I won't say the 1/2 inch pipe is wrong but it does not look right. Check with your neighbors and see if they have a 1/2 inch pipe that is capped off. Check with a couple because your pipe is almost buried. I think I know what the pipe is for, but I'll wait for a pro who will soon come along and we will both know.

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:46 PM   #3
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


I thought a plumber might see this by now. If this thread does not get their attention, then I would contact your gas company and ask them to send out a technician to examine it.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:05 PM   #4
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


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Originally Posted by rjordan392 View Post
I thought a plumber might see this by now. If this thread does not get their attention, then I would contact your gas company and ask them to send out a technician to examine it.
Well it's been there for the last 45 years without causing any problems. I am just curious as to what it is for.

I meant to look at the neighbors meter, but didn't get a chance today, and I don't want to go snooping around there meter in the dark. :-)

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:26 PM   #5
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


I would bet my last dollar to say it is your old gas supply line.
what makes me think this is that yellow wire running up your current gas supply line. That yellow wire is used when they run the new pex under ground, so they can pick up its location with there equipment. BOB
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:44 PM   #6
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


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Originally Posted by buletbob View Post
I would bet my last dollar to say it is your old gas supply line.
what makes me think this is that yellow wire running up your current gas supply line. That yellow wire is used when they run the new pex under ground, so they can pick up its location with there equipment. BOB
This was installed in 1963 and nothing has been dug up and added in the past 45 years. It is possible they have changed the meter outside, but as far as I have been told, there has not been any excavation and change of the gas lines since it was installed in 63. And there defiantly has not been any work in the last 15 years -- pex is newer than that isn't it?

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Old 10-07-2008, 09:02 PM   #7
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


yes it is newer. but with pex there is no digging. except at the street. this is where the send the torpedo underground pulling the pex to the meter.
Let me explain. the utility company has this tool, which is a 2-1/2" dia. by 4' long torpedo that pounds it self through the ground with the use of compressed air. I have seen it performed plenty of times going back to the early 80's. they peal back the grass dig down along side of your supply . and wait for this thing to brake through the hole you just dug. once through the retrieve the torpedo and pull there new pex or poly gas line with a yellow wire so the can ring it , to allow the utility marking companies to locate its location. it appears to me that if you dig down about a foot you will see the new supply line fastened to the end of your old supply.
When I saw the yellow wire coming up the supply that is what came to mind.its only purpose is to locate the plastic pipe. this way it can be located with a metal detector. BOB
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


Two theories from me...

1) It could be a run of pipe to an old gas light, gas grill, pool heater, or other outdoor gas appliance.

2) As BuletBob said, it could be the old gas service line. At 1/2", that's pretty small though.
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:48 PM   #9
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Two theories from me...

1) It could be a run of pipe to an old gas light, gas grill, pool heater, or other outdoor gas appliance.
That is an interesting idea (I really do not know what the pipe is there for, but I do know the history of the house). They never had any grill setup to speak of, just a old charcoal grill that got rarely used, no pool, and no other outdoor gas appliances to speak of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
2) As BuletBob said, it could be the old gas service line. At 1/2", that's pretty small though.
I don't know if you remember the photo, but inside the house there is only the one 1" pipe that goes into the home, then T's off inside, but nothing heads back outside and I am 99.9% sure that is the way it was built and was not changed.

Just in case a couple of you are curious as to how I know a number of things about my house with such certainty, but am unsure of some of the details... I guess I should have made an introduction message a long time ago.. I am going to go do that, so look for a message from me in the introduction area....

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Old 10-07-2008, 11:58 PM   #10
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


Quote:
Originally Posted by buletbob View Post
you will see the new supply line fastened to the end of your old supply.
When I saw the yellow wire coming up the supply that is what came to mind.its only purpose is to locate the plastic pipe. this way it can be located with a metal detector. BOB

Maybe I will get curious enough to dig. I sure have enough other projects going! I have the kitchen floor ripped out to the bare joists, and just ripped out the porch wall to insulate...

I am somewhat familiar with the machine you are speaking of. If they had done that, it would have had to have been back in the early 1980's, when the road was re-done otherwise I would have noticed the work having been done.

So it sounds like it is possible that in the early 80's they did a pex install?

If that is what they did, how much of the old pipe would they have left in tact? would have have left the entire pipe system in tact?
Thanks
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:07 AM   #11
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


I know logically it doesn't seem like it would be placed correctly, but could it be some type of shut off for the gas main, similar to the frequently used water shut off valves (weird they didn't leave a water shut off valve sticking up in my yard,,, but I do have a valve inside BEFORE my meter, so I can turn off water, remove the meter, then turn the water back on).

Have they ever used any type of pipe like that next to a gas main to be used as a shut off?

How would they shut off gas in an emergency if I say ran into the lower part of the pipe with my lawn tractor and cracked it open below the shut off valve?

Do they have to shut down service to an entire neighborhood? The only man hole covers within over a 100 feet of the curb here are sewer access only (yep, I've had them open and it was just sewer access).

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Old 10-08-2008, 07:07 AM   #12
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


I was going to recommend using an ohm meter and place its leads across both main feed and the small pipe to see if there is continuity but I believe if the pipes are buried deep enough, the soil will act as a ground and give a false reading of continuity, making one think the pipes are connected, if I am correct. It was a good thought though. But the homeowner still needs to know if it is connected.
Thekctermite accessment is a good idea. That gas meter does not seem to be the original install and when the old meter was there, there may have been a tee connected on the right hand side and then reduced to 1/2 inch to feed an outdoor appliance such as a gaslight. I remember those back in the forties as a child.
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:53 PM   #13
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


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Originally Posted by rjordan392 View Post
I was going to recommend using an ohm meter and place its leads across both main feed and the small pipe to see if there is continuity but I believe if the pipes are buried deep enough, the soil will act as a ground and give a false reading of continuity, making one think the pipes are connected, if I am correct. It was a good thought though. But the homeowner still needs to know if it is connected.
Thekctermite accessment is a good idea. That gas meter does not seem to be the original install and when the old meter was there, there may have been a tee connected on the right hand side and then reduced to 1/2 inch to feed an outdoor appliance such as a gaslight. I remember those back in the forties as a child.
I was thinking of a ohm meter and looking at resistance myself, but then was really unsure as to how much it would tell me since they are both in the ground.

My family built this house and has continuously occupied the property since it was built in 1963. It was my grandfater that drew the plans and really knew what was going on with the house. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1993 when I was 13 years old. I do remember learning some things about the house from him back before he died, but since I was only 13 there was a limit to what I learned. I have been around the house on a regular, almost daily basis since I was born in 79, and until my grandma died just under 3 years ago, (then months later, I moved in) my mom was here just about every day for most of her life. My grandma and grandpa have 2 daughters, so they are not very mechanically inclined (nothing against women in general being mechanically inclined, just my mom and aunt are not) and don't know technical details about some household things, but they would know if there had been a outdoor gas appliance that was used here.

I also have done or atleast helped with on a regular basis, the majority of the lawn work on the property since around 1990. So I know first hand no work was done since then.

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:34 PM   #14
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


Here is what I would do.

Dig down to see where the pipe goes. It might lead you to another pipe and you would have some idea of where that one goes.

If you can get a grip on the pipe with a pipe wrench to hold it (don't turn the pipe or it could cause a leak) and then remove the cap and see if you get gas coming out. Then look at the 1/2 foot gage on your meter and see if there is any movement.

If there is then it is on the other side or your meter and is attached to your system underground.

If there isn't any movement but there is gas coming out then it is on the supply side of you meter. If that is the case then disconnect your system and hook up to that for all the free gas you can use....just kidding...don't want to suggest you should commit a crime.

Now I am wanting to know that that is so you have to find out and tell us.
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:06 PM   #15
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Can you solve the mystery? What is this pipe for?


That's not a good recommendation Marvin gardens. He could cause a spark from static electricity just from his pipe wrench and if he breaks the seal, he may not get it tight enough to re-seal without adding sealant. We do not want to see him create a ball of flame up along side of the house, do we? Jamie, To be safe, check the neighbors (with their permission) and if they have them, then dig down on yours and see if its connected. If its connected, check for a shutoff near it. If its connected with a shutoff and bypasses the meter, then you have an illegal hookup and this must be fixed.

Jamie can still use an ohmmeter to see if he doe not get a reading. This will tell him the 1/2 inch pipe is not connected to the main.

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Last edited by rjordan392; 10-08-2008 at 03:10 PM.
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