Many homes in most parts of the world have gas running to them through Atmos gas corporations. Natural gasoffers many benefits over electric power. Gas furnaces and water heaters are generally less expensive to operate than electric ones. A gas furnace can heat a space quicker. 

Gas cooktops are preferred by many people to electric. Who doesn’t like the convenience of a gas fireplace in the winter months?

Natural gas can be scary, but it’s also a system that requires occasional maintenance and service.

Learn more about gas system maintenance to ease any anxiety. This article is appropriate for anyone who has natural gas supplied to their home or is considering purchasing one.

WHERE IS YOUR GAS METTER?

Atmos or Coserv is responsible for maintaining the gas distribution system within the neighborhood, up to the home’s gas meters. The homeowner is responsible for all matters beyond the gas meter.

The gas meter is located either in an alleyway behind the home or directly adjacent to it on the right or left. They are approximately the same size as a backpack and are typically painted gray or forest green.

If the gasmeter is situated right up against the home, the gas company is responsible for the gas line that runs to the yard.

If the gasmeter is not located near your house (e.g. back in the alley), then you are responsible for the gas line running through your yard from the gasmeter to your home.

This line is generally made of two different materials: black iron/steel or plastic/polyethylene.

BLACK IRON YARD LIST

If the steel gas lines have not been replaced, older homes built before 1970 will likely have them. This pipe is cut to the required length and threaded using special equipment.

The horizontal line will be buried in the yard and will rise with 90-degree fittings at both ends. It will connect to the meter at one end. It will then rise to the top and enter the structure. It will often be connected to a shutoff valve.

It’s not a matter ” if” these steel yards lines will have problems. It’s not a matter ” ” or ““.

These lines carry gas, but not water. However, soil moisture will eventually cause them to rust and lead to leaks. If the underground gas line leaks, it can lead to a dead patch in the grass, strong sulfur odor, and high gas bills.

These types of failures are so common that the entire line is replaced rather than repairing a single spot.

POLYETHYLENE YARDLINE

Around the mid-to late 1970s, “Poly” gaslines were introduced to this region. Because of their plastic construction, these lines are not susceptible to corrosion or rust.

The horizontal line below the ground will consist of a continuous polyethylene pipe with no joints at the ends. It will connect to an “anodeless raiser” at each end. These “L-shaped” steel sleeves connect to the horizontal line underground, and transform the plastic line into steel piping above ground.

Because polyethylene pipe is less durable than steel pipe it can be easily damaged by being struck during excavations or driven into the ground with a stake. The gas line itself is in good condition.

Leakages in these gas lines are usually found at the riser connections below the ground or the steel pipe above the ground. Ground movement and improper installation can cause these leaks. This can lead to a gas smell and higher gas bills.

BLACK IRON PIPING IN THE HOUSE

Once the line is inside the structure, it must then reach all gas appliances in the house, including gas dryers and gas ranges, water heaters, furnaces, water heaters, water heaters, and gas dryers.

Each section is cut to the required length, and ends are threaded during construction. All fittings and pipe are assembled by hand.

Design of a System

The pipe begins at a larger size when it enters the home (typically 1 1/2’’, 1 1/4’’ or 1’’ IPS depending on its size). The size of each pipe “tees” from the main run gradually decreases until it reaches the appliances, usually at 1/2” IPS. The attic will typically be connected to the mainline.

The smaller lines that “tee off” will fall into the walls behind appliances, and then reach the point where the appliance is connected up. Each appliance should have a shutoff valve (typically a yellow, red or older gray handle).

Common Problems

The steel pipe is extremely resistant to damage but the main problem is where the threaded connections were made.

As the pipe expands and contracts with temperature changes, fittings can start to leak. This is especially true if they were not constructed with care. The strong sulfur smell that is often a sign of gas leakage is the first sign.

CSST GAS SYSTEMS

A CSST gas system is often installed in newer homes that were built within the past 10-15 years. CSST stands to Corrugated Stainless steel Tubing. This flexible pipe is lightweight and simple to install.

It is generally more expensive than black Iron in material costs but it is easier to install. It is a popular choice for home builders.

System Design

Unprotected CSST cannot be installed outside of a home. Therefore, black iron gas pipes will likely enter the structure like a complete black iron system. Once inside, the flexible CSST will transition to the mainline until it reaches a manifold. This is where the mainline connects to all the smaller appliances lines in a single location.

A shut-off valve will be installed at each appliance line. It is similar to an electric breaker panel, except that it does not include the gas system.

The smaller lines will run through the attic and fall down the walls near gas appliances. When it reaches the appliance, the CSST will once again become a steel pipe. An appliance shut-off valve will be located at this location.

Common Problems

CSST, when installed as a manifold systems, has fewer joints which can leak. Each gas line runs straight from the manifold to your appliance. CSST is less durable than steel in terms of damage. It can easily be punctured with a screw or nail. Pipe installation is not without restrictions.