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Old 06-09-2011, 11:11 PM   #1
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Gas line for pool heater


Short Story
Can you run a gas line through an aprx 20 foot ceiling section of open web joist system in or out of conduit that then exits the outside of the house at just under knee level then have it travel about 10-15 feet more outside above ground to where it will ultimately reside to install at a pool heater?

What is the minimum pipe size to accomodate a 250K BTU gas pool heater?


Long Story
I am adding a NG pool heater. I am mildly handy with most carpentry, bathroom style plumbing, and electrical work. I have never run a gas line before and am considering doing so with the assistance of someone more qualified than me.

What I want to guage is if I should just pay the $$$ for a master plumber to perform the work or if I can shave a few bucks and get it installed DIY while meeting code requirements.

I have two potential options for running this gas line. The first is for splitting the gas line outside and putting a T right after the meter and before it goes into the house. Then trench the split line about 40 feet to the pool pad. If this is the option I must go with, I will be having a professional do so. FYI that the bids I have had for this job range from $500-$800 including the trench work.

The second option would involve extending the line that comes into my house. In my basement game room in about the middle of the house is where the furnace, etc reside. There is a 5 way splitter located in there with one of the entries empty. I attached a photo of this. My first concern is that the 5 way splitter that is empty will not accomodate the 250K BTU required by the pool heater. However the main line coming down from the top likely can so a new splitter can be connected there, correct?

The next concern would be how to get the gas line outside. My basement has a finished drywall ceiling and tearing that apart is lesser than ideal. The cost of drywall not the issue but matching the pattern of mud on the ceiling would be.

My ceiling however consists of an open web joist system. See http://www.trussform.co.uk/content.php/info_id/326 for a similar view. My hope was that the joists would run agaist where I would like to run the gas line and it could be fed through the open web portions. however the joists run the same direction as the gas run so even if it would meet code to allow the line (inside conduit or not, or rigid) it would end up just resting on some drywall.

So my "grand" idea is if you are permitted to do so via code, if I calculate it properly, could you run a 20 foot run of rigid line or conduit from the outside of the house through the ceiling and have one side rest on the beam in the middle of the house (where the furnace located) and the other side on the ledger/sheathing going to the outside of the house. I can only imagine that if it was even possible to get a 20 foot home run of conduit or rigid line from that location that there would likely be a x per foot tacking code requirement.

Is there any chance you can do such a task and meet code? Or have any suggestions? I know I am only trying to shave a small amount of $$$ but anyone whom owns a pool knows those $$$ add up.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:30 AM   #2
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Gas line for pool heater


First thing to check is if your incoming gas line is large enough. May end up being more of a job than you think.

I'm not sure a 1/2" line will provide 250k BTU, but I don't work with natural gas, only propane. The ground around here is unstable, we will never have natural gas.

Add up your other fixtures (is that 1-1/4" Trac pipe coming in?) then add your 250k BTU to it, and check a sizing chart online for the type of piping you have.

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Old 06-10-2011, 09:10 AM   #3
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Gas line for pool heater


I recently had the exact same problem. I ran a 3/4" gas line about 60' underground to a 350btu pool heater. The pool heater would not run. I did not have enough pressure / volume at the end of the line to comply with minimum standards for the pool heater to operate.
I had to pay the gas company to switch over my regulator and meter to pounds instead of the standard ounces. Now with the higher pressure gas in the line, I had to install regulators to each appliance to lower pressure back to ounces.

Sounds complicated but not really once you study the charts and do the math. I would get a pressure meter for natural gas and measure what you have for gas pressure at or near the meter, calculate the present requirements and then see if you have the capacity to add a pool heater. You will also lose pressure over the length of the pipe run and you can goggle to find charts for that.

As a starting point............I would call my gas company and they will probably do the calculations for you and can estimate your capabilities for expansion at ounces or if you will need to convert over to pounds.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:29 PM   #4
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Gas line for pool heater


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Originally Posted by George6488 View Post
I recently had the exact same problem. I ran a 3/4" gas line about 60' underground to a 350btu pool heater. The pool heater would not run. I did not have enough pressure / volume at the end of the line to comply with minimum standards for the pool heater to operate.
I had to pay the gas company to switch over my regulator and meter to pounds instead of the standard ounces. Now with the higher pressure gas in the line, I had to install regulators to each appliance to lower pressure back to ounces.

Sounds complicated but not really once you study the charts and do the math. I would get a pressure meter for natural gas and measure what you have for gas pressure at or near the meter, calculate the present requirements and then see if you have the capacity to add a pool heater. You will also lose pressure over the length of the pipe run and you can goggle to find charts for that.

As a starting point............I would call my gas company and they will probably do the calculations for you and can estimate your capabilities for expansion at ounces or if you will need to convert over to pounds.
============

For a 250,000 BTU natural gas heater (1050 btu/cuft), you need a 1" gas line for the length you specified. You home may only have a 1 1/4" line so as another forum poster said, you may have more work than you think.
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