The gas is on!

I put a call into our local gas company to establish an account and have the gas turned on. We scheduled a service appointment and I was waiting for the service engineer to arrive, to remove the locks and open the main valve and meter valve.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we planned to go from three gas meters down to one for the whole house. While breaking this news to the service engineer, I got the look and raised eyebrows. He put his tools back down and said: “Well, let me take a look inside the building first.”

I quickly figured that he was of the opinion that one line (one meter) would not be enough for our heating and hot water load. I gave him the quick tour, showing off our framing preparations for the insulation and took him into the utility room.

What a sight! Not the utility room, but the expression on his face. He quickly admitted that he had not seen a system like ours before. Once the surprise had worn off, he got back on track and asked a number of good questions:

Q: What is the maximum Btu output on the boiler?

A: 150,000 Btu

Q: What is the maximum Btu output on the water heater?

A: There is no water heater. The boiler powers the radiant heating system and domestic hot water storage tank.

Q: What is the peak load of the building?

A: The engineering model indicates that the peak load is 37,500 Btu.

Q: What other gas appliances are in the basement?

A: A gas range. May be a gas dryer.

Q: And the other two units?

A: Each unit will have a gas range. That’s it.

He seemed happy with the answers and explained that our one inch gas line coming into the building has a capacity of around 250,000 Btu. (I think I remember this correctly but don’t take this number for granted!)

With those details settled, we went back outside, where he removed the two redundant meters, removed the valve locks, and opened the valves.

He sent me back inside to open all interior shut-off valves, except the terminal valves (at the end of each gas line). While I was doing that, he monitored the gas meter for movement. If the dial moves, we have a leak somewhere. There was no movement – no leak.

Last check was to open one of the terminal valves to make sure that gas is in the system. We passed that test too.

It looks like we are almost ready to turn the heat on!


About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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