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Old 09-12-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
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HI;

I am not sure if anyone here can help me with this. If there is a better place to ask, please let me know.

I have black iron running to my furnace, I believe it is 1 inch (measures 1 3/8 on the outside) before connecting to the furnace, there is a reducer that makes it 1/2 inch pipe that connects to the furnace.

I want to add onto this gas line so I can connect in a 53,000-BTU natural gas grill. I was going to add in a T on the 1 inch and then run the line out to the grill off of the 1 inch.

From where my meter enters the house, there are 2 natural gas lines, the one I just described only feeds the furnace right now. The second line coming in from the meter goes to the water heater, and the dryer. I also plan to add in a gas oven off of the line the dryer and hot water heater are on.

Any suggestions on how I know if my sizing in proper, I don't want my 85,000 BTU gas furnace to be starving for gas and to develop problems.

If photos and diagrams would help, let me know and I will upload.

Thanks
Jamie

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Old 09-12-2008, 10:05 AM   #2
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Jamie, I moved your thread here to plumbing from the HVAC section. I can help you make sure your pipes are of adequate size to serve the future demand.

From what I understand, you have two different gas lines entering your house from your meter, correct? If so, we'll size your gas system as two separate systems. If one pipe enters your house and then branches off, it is one system. Please clarify that.

Every single piece of gasline in the house is based on one distance measurement, and not the length of the individual pipes or branches. The distance needed is the distance from the meter to the appliance the farthest away from the meter, in feet of pipe. Once I know that measurement, I can size any piece of pipe in your home. Actually, if you have two separate pipes entering the home, it'll be two measurements. If the new gas grill will be the longest run, approximate the length based on how you'd run the pipe. Accuracy within a few feet will normally suffice.

Given the btu/h info you've provided, once I have the length I can get you really close. I'll be using the sizing tables in the International Fuel Gas Code, FYI.

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Old 09-12-2008, 10:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
If photos and diagrams would help, let me know and I will upload.
A diagram would make this much easier, but we can probably get by without it.
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Jamie, I moved your thread here to plumbing from the HVAC section. I can help you make sure your pipes are of adequate size to serve the future demand.

Thanks!, I wasn't sure if gas was dealt with by the plumbing guys or the hvac guys. Thanks for the info.

From what I understand, you have two different gas lines entering your house from your meter, correct? If so, we'll size your gas system as two separate systems. If one pipe enters your house and then branches off, it is one system. Please clarify that.

I have examined my system and will clarify. It is only 1 line from the meter, but splits 2 ways immediately upon entry.

Every single piece of gasline in the house is based on one distance measurement, and not the length of the individual pipes or branches. The distance needed is the distance from the meter to the appliance the farthest away from the meter, in feet of pipe. Once I know that measurement, I can size any piece of pipe in your home. Actually, if you have two separate pipes entering the home, it'll be two measurements. If the new gas grill will be the longest run, approximate the length based on how you'd run the pipe. Accuracy within a few feet will normally suffice.

Since it splits right where it enters the house, do I just pick the longest run and tell you that number, total ln feet for that run and ignore the shorter run?

Given the btu/h info you've provided, once I have the length I can get you really close. I'll be using the sizing tables in the International Fuel Gas Code, FYI.
Thanks for your help. After your message came, I just went down to the basement and crawl space and etc and did all the measurements and some photos. The numbers are all going to be quite close, give or take 1-2% overall.

I will put together the diagram and photos right now and post it when I am done.

I have one other question, Does gas come in to the meter at a higher pressure, then get knocked down before being fed into the house? As the line from the gas co is smaller than the line going into the house:

This is my Gas Meter:


This is the pipe on the left gas co side of the meter with a tape on it:



Pipe on the right side, going into the house:


Just a shot of the gas line going into the house, Not sure what someone wrapped all over it... Something to try and close up the hole in the foundation maybe...

This is a overview shot of the whole meter:




It looks to me like the incoming pipe line is barely an inch (maybe right at an inch OD - see photo). Does the 1 inch size of the incoming line severely limit what I can do / run?

It will take me a little longer to get the drawing done, then I will post it.

Thanks
Jamie
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:58 PM   #5
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Most gas meters have 1" threads, so no matter what you do, you're necking it down to 1" for a short distance. Seems silly to have a 2" or 3" gasline necked down to 1", but that's the way of things.

Unless you have a 2psi pressure system, your meter is putting out 1/2"psi. With an elevated 2psi system you'd have a regulator in your house. Most homes don't have this.

I'll check back when I have a little more time and your measurements are posted.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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HI;

Sorry it took me a while to put this together. These scale drawings always take a long time to do. I think this image / drawing tells the whole story:



Above: The add-on gas like for the grill would be about 15 feet of black iron inside, then the standard grills hook-up hose. The new stove / over in the kitchen would take about 8 more feet of pipe.


Where the gas line comes into the crawl space - just though the wall from the meter:




The T that goes to the Water Heater:





This is the elbow that is a 1 inch to half inch for the half inch dryer line. Right at this elbow is where we would need to add about 6 feet or so of straight pipe to be able to connect the gas stove.



One Last Photo, this is where the pipe again reduces from 1 inch to one half inch right in front of the furnace. This is the area that I would want to tap into to connect the grill.

Just a quick appliance summary:

Current:
1. 80,000 BTU furnace (high effeic.)
2. 40,000 BTU water heater
3. Standard Gas Dryer (I can figure out the BTU's for it if you need to know them.

Want to add Now:
1. Standard Gas Range / Oven
2. Outdoor 55,000 BTU Gas Grill

Would possibly add in the future:
1 or 2 30,000 BTU gas patio heater
Larger gas water heater
Gas heater for small indoor hot tub

Thanks so much for your input and suggestions. My dad and I have worked on gas pipe many many times in our lives, however, we have never dealt with sizing issues, as it was normally a situation where we were moving or replacing something. This is also the most gas items that we have ever had in a house.

Thanks Again,

Jamie
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Old 09-12-2008, 05:20 PM   #7
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Starting with the lower half of the diagram....

The longest run in the entire house is 60' (the run from the meter to the grill). That's the only measurement we will use to do this.

The 1" line coming into the house is good for 260000 btu/h's at 60'. You can actually make the run to the grill 1/2" black pipe instead of running larger pipe out there. Figured based on the 60' measurement as required, 1/2" is good for 66000 btu/h's...Since we're past the furnace we can drop its btu/h load off for sizing the branch to the grill.

If you intend to run the patio heater off the same pipe as the grill, install 3/4" pipe so you have some room for growth on that branch. 3/4" is good for 138000 btu/h's (55000 grill + 60000 two heaters) per the table, so it will adequately give you the growth room.

Now the top of the diagram...

The 1" run is a bit shorter. Everything still applies. Total proposed load on this 1" line will be approximately 130000 btu/h's (40k water heater, 50k range, 40k dryer). 1" can handle this with no problem. You can easily drop down to 1/2" for your gas range unless it is a big fancy commercial unit. Remember, 1/2" is good for 66k at 60'.

Now, the total (proposed) load on the house including two patio heaters...

Approximately 325000 btu/h's with 60' of run. Now we're a little undersized for the 1" pieces coming in from the meter. I'd suggest re-piping the short run from the meter to where the two runs of 1" go off in two directions. The pipe from the meter needs to be 1-1/4". You can tee off of it and reduce down to 1" to pick up those runs. You can reduce down to 1" right by the meter. The fitting outdoors to the right of the clear lens in the meter is an illegal fitting anyway...So it should be replaced. It has running non-tapered threads, and the pipe nipples are NPT tapered thread. The coupling needs to be a cast iron fitting with tapered threads...What is installed is a thread protector that is installed on pipe at the factory for shipment. They should be trashed after shipment and shouldn't be used for actual plumbing.

Don't forget to air test the new runs of pipe. Be sure to shut the valves to all appliances first. I'd suggest an air test of 10psi at least. You can get a pressure gauge at a plumbing supply store for a few bucks. Check for leaks with soapy water on each joint.

Hope I haven't confused the crap out of you. Let me know if you're confused on any of it.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:34 PM   #8
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HI;
Thanks so much for all the great information, I followed everything perfectly up to this point, where I have a couple questions.

"Approximately 325000 btu/h's with 60' of run. Now we're a little undersized for the 1" pieces coming in from the meter. I'd suggest re-piping the short run from the meter to where the two runs of 1" go off in two directions. The pipe from the meter needs to be 1-1/4". You can tee off of it and"



.So are you talking about just re plumbing it starting at where I have the red box drawn and them into the house? Would any of the pipe on the left side of the meter get changed out?

"reduce down to 1" to pick up those runs. You can reduce down to 1" right by the meter."

.Meaning that I would run 1 1/4" to just inside the crawl space then put a 1-1/4" T on it, then use 1-1/4" to 1" reducers off of the T, 1 for each 1 inch pipe, correct?

"The fitting outdoors to the right of the clear lens in the meter is an illegal fitting anyway...So it should be replaced. It has running non-tapered threads, and the pipe nipples are NPT tapered thread. The coupling needs"

.In the above photo, is this fitting the one that I drew a red box around? If so, then is the fitting I drew the yellow box around also illegal, as it looks very similar to me.

"to be a cast iron fitting with tapered threads...What is installed is a thread protector that is installed on pipe at the factory for shipment. They should be trashed after shipment and shouldn't be used for actual plumbing."

.Kind of amazing the things people try to get away with. I know that this entire gas setup (outside meter work, and all the main 1 inch runs in the house were done by someone that was licensed with a permit.

Don't forget to air test the new runs of pipe. Be sure to shut the valves to all appliances first. I'd suggest an air test of 10psi at least. You can get a pressure gauge at a plumbing supply store for a few bucks. Check for leaks with soapy water on each joint.

Hope I haven't confused the crap out of you. Let me know if you're confused on any of it.

.I think I am following everything pretty well except for the slight question I mentioned above.

I do have one other issue that I didn't mention before, as I didn't imagine we were going to get into this involved of a discussion here.

At the joint where the water heater is T 'ed off of the 1 inch line, There is a small amount of gas leaking. Very small, however, I can smell a tiny bit of mercaptan near the joint. I have smelled a tiny amount over near the end of that top run that goes to the dryer, and think it might be in the 90 degree elbow where it makes the turn to go towards the dryer.

It is a very small amount of mercaptan, because I can really smell it, even if a un-ignited burner is on for just a second, I can smell it all around the room. This I only noticed when I was right up by the pipe.

Now as I am sure you saw, they used the pipe compound on these gas pipe connections, and after 45 years, I am afraid that if I just put some wrenches on there and try to tighten it, that I am going to break the seal that is in place from the pipe compound and I am going to end up having to pull or cut out lots of pipe to fix it all.

I always use Tef Tape on black Iron gas pipe and it never leaks in my experience.

If I should try and do something about the "leaks" or not, I am not sure what I can do without a gut and replace.

One last question, just so I understand it, The pipe from the Gas co coming to the meter is 1 inch (unless it is 1-1/4 and I am measuring wrong). Does it come up to the meter with higher pressure that gets dropped in the meter or something that allows you to run 2 - 1" lines off of it?

I have a feeling your going to tell me to rip out everything back to the meter and start over. If I do that, could I run one 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 pipe from the meter to by the furnace where the first junction is anyway? It seems like a waste to have the 2 - 1 inch lines run just a couple feet away from each other for over 25 feet. I don't really want to re-do the pipes if I can help it, I have just been thinking about it, and am not sure what else I can do. I don't smell the mercaptan all the time when I go by that joint that goes to the water heater, but sometimes I do.

Thanks again

Jamie
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:02 PM   #9
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Answers to clear a few things up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
.So are you talking about just re plumbing it starting at where I have the red box drawn and them into the house? Would any of the pipe on the left side of the meter get changed out?
No, the pipes coming out of the meter are the gas company's. You can't fool with them and there's no need to. They're at a fairly significant pressure as well.

"reduce down to 1" to pick up those runs. You can reduce down to 1" right by the meter."

.Meaning that I would run 1 1/4" to just inside the crawl space then put a 1-1/4" T on it, then use 1-1/4" to 1" reducers off of the T, 1 for each 1 inch pipe, correct?
Pretty much exactly.

"The fitting outdoors to the right of the clear lens in the meter is an illegal fitting anyway...So it should be replaced. It has running non-tapered threads, and the pipe nipples are NPT tapered thread. The coupling needs"

.In the above photo, is this fitting the one that I drew a red box around? If so, then is the fitting I drew the yellow box around also illegal, as it looks very similar to me.
Nope. The fitting on the far right of the picture at the same level of the clear lens of the meter is the offender. It is the one about 12" below the 90* elbow on the right.

"to be a cast iron fitting with tapered threads...What is installed is a thread protector that is installed on pipe at the factory for shipment. They should be trashed after shipment and shouldn't be used for actual plumbing."

.Kind of amazing the things people try to get away with. I know that this entire gas setup (outside meter work, and all the main 1 inch runs in the house were done by someone that was licensed with a permit.
I see these used all the time. I once had a union outfit re-plumb an entire nursing home that had hundreds of them.

I do have one other issue that I didn't mention before, as I didn't imagine we were going to get into this involved of a discussion here.

At the joint where the water heater is T 'ed off of the 1 inch line, There is a small amount of gas leaking. Very small, however, I can smell a tiny bit of mercaptan near the joint. I have smelled a tiny amount over near the end of that top run that goes to the dryer, and think it might be in the 90 degree elbow where it makes the turn to go towards the dryer.
It is a very small amount of mercaptan, because I can really smell it, even if a un-ignited burner is on for just a second, I can smell it all around the room. This I only noticed when I was right up by the pipe.
Now as I am sure you saw, they used the pipe compound on these gas pipe connections, and after 45 years, I am afraid that if I just put some wrenches on there and try to tighten it, that I am going to break the seal that is in place from the pipe compound and I am going to end up having to pull or cut out lots of pipe to fix it all.
I always use Tef Tape on black Iron gas pipe and it never leaks in my experience. If I should try and do something about the "leaks" or not, I am not sure what I can do without a gut and replace.
Yes, you need to fix the leaks. If you smell mercaptan, there's gas in the room. That ain't good. Undo the connections, seal, and re-install them.

Now the bad news. You should never use teflon tape for gas installations. Pipe dope is the definate winner. Please, trust me on this.

Remember that you only have 1/2psi in your gaslines. That's a whisper of pressure. It doesn't take much to keep them from leaking.


One last question, just so I understand it, The pipe from the Gas co coming to the meter is 1 inch (unless it is 1-1/4 and I am measuring wrong). Does it come up to the meter with higher pressure that gets dropped in the meter or something that allows you to run 2 - 1" lines off of it?
Yup, much higher pressure on their side of the meter.

I have a feeling your going to tell me to rip out everything back to the meter and start over. If I do that, could I run one 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 pipe from the meter to by the furnace where the first junction is anyway? It seems like a waste to have the 2 - 1 inch lines run just a couple feet away from each other for over 25 feet. I don't really want to re-do the pipes if I can help it, I have just been thinking about it, and am not sure what else I can do. I don't smell the mercaptan all the time when I go by that joint that goes to the water heater, but sometimes I do.
No need to rip out all of the 1" you've got in the house, but it would work fine to do one main line from 1-1/4" like you suggested.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #10
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You can feel pretty safe with my pipe sizing info, but I definately suggest that you contact your local building official to make sure that they agree with the sizes you're putting in. There are a lot of plumbers out there...And inspectors for that matter...That don't know how to correctly size gaslines based on the IFGC code. Older codes and different model codes utilize different methods, so this method isn't 100% fail-proof in all jurisdictions.

I'd suggest taking the diagram you did in to them and showing them your plan before beginning.

By the way, the fittings you drew the boxes around are called unions, and you need them at the meter, the furnace, and basically any other gas appliance that doesn't use a flexible gas whip to attach it.
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Old 09-13-2008, 12:15 PM   #11
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My 2 cents:

Excellent job KC. Good to know someone knows to use the IFGC and the running thread couplers not being legal.

One thing I would mention about unions...at each appliance there needs to be an approved shut-off valve before the union...so the union is between the SO vlv and the appliance.
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:02 PM   #12
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Just a thought from when I was doing gas work. You may want to verify that the meter can handle your peak demand.
I had to have the gas company come out and upsize the meter from 275 to 425 to satisfy my peak demand when I switched to NG heat.
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
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My 2 cents:

Excellent job KC. Good to know someone knows to use the IFGC and the running thread couplers not being legal.
Thanks for the nice comment.

One thing I would mention about unions...at each appliance there needs to be an approved shut-off valve before the union...so the union is between the SO vlv and the appliance.
Very good point about shutoff valves. You definately need to be able to cut off gas to just about any gas appliance before you take it loose!
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:13 PM   #14
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Just for clarity's sake, here's a picture of a running thread "coupling." These things are illegal and unsafe 100% of the time. The elbow in the picture is fine.

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
You can feel pretty safe with my pipe sizing
By the way, the fittings you drew the boxes around are called unions, and you need them at the meter, the furnace, and basically any other gas appliance that doesn't use a flexible gas whip to attach it.
Thank you so much for the info and the clarifications on everything.

I understand exactly what you mean about the coupler now.

There are no unions in the house at all. (Update: I double checked - There is one union on the furnace after the valve - the one gas drop that my dad installed) I suspect it will be harder to unscrew the gas pipes to fix them since there are no unions inside. (just that one)

So I can skip the unions completely on the dryer, stove, and grill?

So would the only places I put unions be where the purple boxes are: (there is already one by the furnace)




******** I am editing this as I realized I made a mistake here, I checked and the gas pipe here for the furnace that my dad installed was done with pipe dope. He does use pipe dope on gas pipes. So I am not positive what the issue is that he had using pipe dope with the copper fittings mentioned below, but I checked with him and it was only the copper that he had problems with the pipe dope on and said he was going to use tef tape from now on with a copper to gav type connection****************

My dad has done many hundreds of plumbing connections for drains and water. When he has had to adapt from a sweat on copper fitting to a threaded, then connect the thread to something, he normally uses copper, but has used pipe dope a few times. At least on the water pipes, the last 2 times he has used pipe dope, it has leaked, but when he has used tef tape, he has never had it leak. The only thing I could think of that might have caused him a problem with the water was for example the most recent one he did that he has a problem with was for a well pump where he had to connect from new copper plumping he put in to a threaded galvinized connection on the well pump. However he had to solder on the copper once it was put together because of how the pump was setup, so I wondered if the heat of soldering destroyed the pipe dope and caused it to leak.

I am not sure if my dad uses any specail brand of pipe dope on his gas connections though, I will check and see what he uses.

I just read an old conversation on here and they speak of using something called Rectorseal #5 for gas pipes, is this the best thing to use? Can I find this at a big box store?

Should I replace it in places that I currently have it installed. I am not sure where I got the idea that tef tape was a good idea for gas pipes, but I'll make sure not to use it anymore.


Thanks again
Jamie


Last edited by jamiedolan; 09-14-2008 at 11:05 AM. Reason: updated information.
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