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View Full Version : Want to run gas pipe for garage heater-long



ww_wanna_be
02-26-2007, 11:34 AM
Hey guys, I know, hire a professional is probably the answer most will give me, but i'd rather hear that I CAN do it and how. Here's the scenario:

Small 18kbtu infrared heater for garage/shop-already purchased and ready to hook up-given.

gas meter and shut off 30 inches outside of unfinished garage wall, about 6 feet down the wall (left to right, not up and down) from where I want the heater to be installed, with an unused T fitting (plugged).

Need to run about 8 linear feet of pipe, along with appropriate elbow to turn pipe the right direction, a shut-off valve inside the garage and the necessary fittings for resizing the pipe-to-shutoff-to hose that connects to heater.

Best price estimate was $395.... just doesn't sit with me... surely I can turn gas off, wait until fireplace pilot goes out, (turn off firplace and waterheater for duration) open the seal on the T and allow any remaining gas (at very low psi, right?) to evacuate....then:

Using the proper piping, fittings and thread sealer / sealant (the stuff looks like black puddy on existing joints) connect all the parts as if my life and house count on perfection, which it does...then turn gas back on and test all joints for any possible leaks ( I do have a degree in Non-destructive testing and have this part down, as the ONE I'm surest of)...

If no leaks, test heater to make sure it works....let it run for a few seconds and test fittinngs again, just for my own "oh my God, am i sure",

Purge air from system to avoid any possible problems, then,

If all is well, then turn on fireplace pilot and light it.... ok, then same for water heater.....

Am I fooling myself, or does the guy who gets paid $10 hr by the local HVAC company have that much more skill than I can muster?

I know the devil is in the details, but details and logic are my strong suit... I never said i wasn't stupid, just logical and careful.

Here's an excerpt that got me going: http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/plumbing/gas/move/pipe.htm
Intimidated By Natural Gas:
About 10 years ago, when I was working as a design engineer, I bought my first house. I mentioned to a co-worker, a senior mechanical engineer, that I needed to get a plumber to install the flexible gas connector for the stove, because it was something that a homeowner could not, or should not, do himself. The engineer enlightened me about natural gas.

He explained that the pressure was very low, less than 1/2 of a pound per square inch. But more importantly, he explained the safety of natural gas. All gaseous fuels (and vaporized liquids) have a certain range of air-to-fuel ratios that will allow for combustion. Natural gas, he explained, requires a very precise air-to-fuel ratio. This fact makes it very unlikely that a minor gas leak could result in an explosion. (But it is possible.) The smell of gas, he told me, would be unbearably strong before the atmosphere became explosive.

His confidence and knowledge convinced me to try connecting the stove myself. As he suggested, I bought some pipe thread compound for the fittings and when done I tested the connections for leaks by dripping some soapy water on them. I couldn't believe how simple it was. Later, I began to notice the wide availability of gas pipe, fittings, and flexible connectors. I saw these parts in every hardware store and home center I shopped at. A relative who worked in industrial maintenance confirmed how common it was for average people to do their own gas piping. From that point onward gas plumbing took on a new perspective.

Advice?



Thanks,

Danford C Jennings
02-26-2007, 12:16 PM
Jerry,

Since you only wanna hear what you wanna hear.......go for it.

If, heaven forbid, your house does blow up and you're around to tell us about it, good luck with your insurance company.....

You probably have the skill of the $10/hour guy, since he is probably the helper. (Though, I'm not totally convinced since this shoulda been posted in "Home Improvement" ;) ) Journeymen plumbers in my neck o' the woods get at least 3 times that...

Dano

ww_wanna_be
02-26-2007, 12:25 PM
Dan the point isn't that I "must" do this, it's that it seems so doable, and i didn't intend to slight the helper's worth, but i met the guy and I'm glad he was operating under someone's license, not his own.

Did you really say I was probably as skilled as the $10 hr guy? that hurts, dan there's nothing wrong with making that wage, but this idiot, with a lit cigarette hanging out his mouth, about to mess with my gas pipe, saying "it's ok, it's low pressure"...that's why I made such a remark

Just seems like something I hate to pay for.....

As for the Home Improvement section...didn't occur to me, or i would have.

robhannon
02-26-2007, 12:33 PM
See if you can get a hook up only estimate. Dunno if thats possible for gas, but I have seen people get them for electric additions. Run the pipe from the heater all the way back to a bit before where you want to tap into and the HVAC guy would make the last hookup after eyeing over your work. You can leak check the pipe you installed with a compressor and soapy water pretty safely that way too. I would find someone willing to give you a quote for that before actually running the pipe though. Depending on your local laws there may not be anyone willing to do it. If you do your research and feel comfortable with it I wouldn' worry too much about doing the job yourself, but if it give you that uneasy feeling don't. Make sure you also follow all codes, even silly ones, or it could be a problem should you sell the house later on. I have seen houses here get held up on inspection because the outlets were installed with the ground prong at the top instead of the bottom.

Danford C Jennings
02-26-2007, 12:37 PM
part.....

Any who, I always try to "err" on the cautious side. In the Army I obtained a secondary MOS in electronics-8 month AIT. You'd be extremely hard pressed to find a posting from me on even the most basic electrical advice on this forum.

In my view, it's not a question on whether or not you have the ability, it's more a question of whether or not you can afford it if something does go wrong. FWIW...

Dano

Edit: Damned if I do, damned it I don't.....Can't read minds, Jerry; or does the guy who gets paid $10 hr by the local HVAC company have that much more skill than I can muster? is a long way from what you "meant"...Nooooo, I was not insulting you. See the emoticon?

TDHofstetter
02-26-2007, 12:53 PM
PROVIDED that the existing gas line is large enough to supply gas to everything it feeds INCLUDING the new heater... and PROVIDED that you do NOT use pipe dope, but instead use Teflon tape - and PROVIDED that you're careful and thoughtful about what you're doing... and that you use suitable metal fittings instead of any variety of plastic fittings...

AND provided that you otherwise take the course of action you've already descibed, which assures me that you have a pretty good clue how to do it...

...then I'll say yes. You can probably do that job without very much trouble. I've done gas plumbing on-and-off since about 1978 (when as a kid I plumbed gas for a fella's trailer house in exchange for a Washburn guitar). It's NOT difficult to get a good, permanent seal. You do need to be aware of line size, though, and resistance in fittings. It's a very good idea to read the NFPA publishings about it, of course - "code" gives you very good guidelines, limits, and details.

-- Tim --


This parent is no more!
This is an EX-parent!
- Lizzie Borden -

ww_wanna_be
02-26-2007, 01:11 PM
>PROVIDED that the existing gas line is large enough to
>supply gas to everything it feeds INCLUDING the new
>heater... and PROVIDED that you do NOT use pipe dope, but
>instead use Teflon tape - and PROVIDED that you're careful
>and thoughtful about what you're doing... and that you use
>suitable metal fittings instead of any variety of plastic
>fittings...

YEP

>
>AND provided that you otherwise take the course of action
>you've already descibed, which assures me that you have a
>pretty good clue how to do it...

I think so

>...then I'll say yes. You can probably do that job without
very much trouble. It's NOT difficult to get a good, permanent seal. You do need to be aware of line size, though, and resistance in fittings. It's a very good idea to read the NFPA publishings about it, of course - "code" gives you very good guidelines, limits, and
>details.
>
>-- Tim --

I only have two devices on the line, a fireplace and a cold water heater. My plan was to use the std 1" pipe from the Tee all the way to the reducer that goes to the hose that came with the heater...

Do you recommend the TFE paste of the Yellow PTFE tape? Dode here allows either.

Thanks,

okie
02-26-2007, 01:44 PM
Can you do it? How the heck would I know. Would I do it? In a heart beat. I built my house, wired it from the meter, did all the plumbing, including the septic tank and lateral line ( built the tank myself), and ran all the gas lines and set the propane tank. Still standing after 10+ years so I guess I did it right. Like you said, low pressure so it's easier to prevent leaks, but harder to find them. Don't recommend the cig lighter method, soap and water mix is safer. Use plenty, it's cheap. I would second the teflon tape use over pipe dope. Does NG smell? Propane has additives that smell bad so you KNOW if you have a leak fast. As far as purging the lines, your stove will do that before it lights. Bring plenty of matches. If it makes you feel better build a cheap pressure tester and do a pressure test on it(if you have a compressor).

Sawduster
02-26-2007, 02:57 PM
You can get what ever is the modern replacement for a mercury gage for a reasonable price (certainly less than the difference between your materials and the price of the plumber guy) or maybe rent one reasonably. Presurize the system at the meter connection with the pump that comes with the gage and check back in a few hours to see that it has sustained the recommended pressure. If it holds that, then you're cookin with gas (literally). No purging needed, just fire up the gas thing furthest from the meter. When you get gas there, you got gas everywhere (well everywhere you want it).

arcticfox46
02-26-2007, 05:27 PM
Jerry - YES you CAN do it.

I can too. I have done lot of stuff from wiring my garage and house wiring, and plumbing, and hot water installations and so on and so on and so on........

I did all the installation of my shop heater "except" the gas line install.

I debated it in my mind over and over. Yes, technically I could have done it - EASILY. But I didn't, in a large part due to the gas company installing a larger bottle and relocating the bottle. If it was just to tap in - I may have just done it myself.

Still - that is just me. But, I will tell you what "they" did.

The installers used flexable copper tubing and flare fittings. Real easy stuff to work with.

A friend of mine did his own gas installation, and wanted to be sure it didn't leak. After he installed the plumbing he called his gas company to come out and do a pressure test for him. Everything was find.

I did a gas dryer install for a friend of mine, and used flare fittings. Everything was fine. Funny, I'll do it for someone else but not for me. Hmmmmmmm.

For me - if there is a gas leak, and there would most likely not be - I want to blame someone else.

brent
02-26-2007, 06:14 PM
I did mine for my fireplace. I checked with the building inspectors and they said it had to pass a pressure test. I hooked up the stuff and they came over and signed off on it. Don't know how things work where you are but it made me feel better about it since it was the first one I did. I also got a quote to run it and it just about blew me away how much they wanted. I am just cheap, but I would not have done it if I did not feel right about it.

TDHofstetter
02-26-2007, 06:17 PM
The tape, anytime I can use it. I only like the paste for one thing, that being building vacuum adaptors for lathes... where it serves as a nongassing lubricant for the bearings.

-- Tim --


This parent is no more!
This is an EX-parent!
- Lizzie Borden -

arcticfox46
02-26-2007, 11:17 PM
The yellow tape is for gas fittings.

arcticfox46
02-26-2007, 11:19 PM
In Massachusetts only a liscensed gas tech is supposed to do gas installs. They don't want even the home owner to do it. Same with electrical and plumbing.

I don't want to get political - but!!!!

Sonny Edmonds
02-27-2007, 08:51 AM
Jerry,
I wouldn't have hesitated long enough to make a post about it, myself.
I probably would have been done doing it, in the time it took.
As for size, 1" is way overkill big for a small heater like that.
Out here, the natural gas pressure is in ounces, 6-8 ounces if I recall right. Maybe less.
You could run 1/2" from the existing T and be fine. 3/4" pipe for extra "worry wart" strength. With 1" you could run a spa heater in the shop, no sweat!
How do I know.....

OK, when we bought this house, there is an existing pool/dam spa built in. With heater, and bla, bla, bla...
The heater began failing. The insurance sent a plumber out. He said it needed to be replaced. The insurance didn't like that answer.
The sent another plumber out. A shister plumber. He said the gas meter was too small for the heater size, 350,000 BTU. :o (He also tried to sell my wife a new pump) The insurance liked his "report" and denied the claim due to improper installation. The undersized meter "starved" the heater causeing it to fail. (There is a mongo 1 1/4" pipe run from the meter to the spa.)
I call in the experts myself, Johnny Gas man! I make it a pointed point to be here for the entire evaluation. Super nice guy, great customer service rep!
He does an entire running calculation on the system. Not just the pool/spa heater, but it AND the entire house running gass at the same time. He gets the total gas requirement and finds that the meter is delivering enough gas. (Class 200 meter)
He sez he can install a Class 400 meter and recheck. I asked if he would please, just to prove it was not the gas meter that was the problem. (A Class 400 is the largest they install on residences)
He does, and does a great job doing it. He replaced stuff I wouldn't have expected would need replaced even.
Reruns the entire calculation. Not the meter or gas system. Insurance plumber proven to be full of chit!
Now, beings as I am State cirtified to work on ANY HVAC system in California, I do my own evaluation, with pictures, of the heater. I actually disassemble the thing and do photographic proof of the findings. A failure analysis. Far more than two plumbers inspections by just looking at the outside and fire box.
It's shot, rotten to the core and the core showed signs of weapage.

I got my new heater. I learned quite a bit about natural gas and it's delivery system. And have a brand new meter that could run my house, and 3 neighbors houses on either side of me. ;)
That was several years ago now. And No, I sure as hell did not renew that home buyers protection insurance. I'm not going to pay someone to argue with me and give me grief! :'( ;)

:D

[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
Saugus, CA
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"Lurkimus turdius orifus"

Welcome to the Forum!
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ww_wanna_be
02-27-2007, 09:41 AM
Thanks for all the advice and warnings.

Sonny, the only reason I intended to use the one inch was to duplicate the current configuration and use one side of the Tee for this heater and leaved the other side capped for future use on an upcoming spa. I think making it "look" original is as important as any other reason. But if I read you right, I could reduce the size going to my heater and leave the other side of the 1" tee capped for the future, right?

Edit: the code here says NG runs at 1/2 psi :)

Leo and all: the political and social side of all this does not bother me at all.... I'm just too stubborn to sit and watch someone else do what i think i can accomplish with research and cautious work. As for the insurance and all, if I duplicate the work that was done on the house during construction, how can that level of work be faulted? Seems to me (maybe I'm naive) that if a fire inspector or such were to look at the install and it matched the materials and workmanship of the original, it would pass muster. remember: this install consists of two short (4-6") pieces of pipe, 3 elbows, one 6' piece, a shutoff and one reducer fitting.... just seems too doable.

Anywho...thanks to all who answered my plea for advice.

TDHofstetter
02-27-2007, 12:57 PM
DO put that new shutoff right next to the new heater. It's called for by the NFPA, just in case you experience an "event" with the heater itself; you can shut off the flame & isolate it from the rest of the gas plumbing.

-- Tim --


This parent is no more!
This is an EX-parent!
- Lizzie Borden -

arcticfox46
02-27-2007, 02:43 PM
I don't beleive the insurance would ever have an issue with it.

They dont have any records to exactly what is installed. Same with the electric. Whe you house was built - they never record how many recepticles of light switches were originally installed.

To be honest - I rarely pull a permit - I just do it.

Sonny Edmonds
02-27-2007, 08:47 PM
I would put that shut off where the pipe ends and the flex hose begins.
Reason being is so's the flex hose can be shut off if a leak is detected.
(Kinda likea gas dryer is donna.) ;)
(We have flex hoses (metal corrigated thingamabobbers) on everything but the pool heater.
Wiggle-room, for earthquakes. :o }> )

:D

[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
Saugus, CA
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"Lurkimus turdius orifus"

Welcome to the Forum!
http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/15/15_4_125.gif