Gas pressure might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to plumbing. For one, most people don’t realize that plumbers are frequently But, like so many other facets of plumbing, it’s these un-thought of things that are crucial to the proper operation of your home’s systems. Without delaying any further, let’s talk about why gas pressure is so important.
The Importance of Gas Pressure
Natural gas fuels many homes furnaces, water heaters, ovens, or other fixtures. This gas, made predominantly of methane, is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Gas companies add in a specific odorant, which most people describe as rotten eggs, to help identify a gas leak fast before disaster strikes.
Now, why is pressure important? Gas is delivered to your home via a pipeline, and the gas moves through it thanks to the power of pressure! There are compressor stations along the pipeline that exert pressure on the line to keep the gas moving from the high pressure areas to the lower pressure places (that’s how pressure works). The gas moves from the pipeline to your local gas-supply grid. Here the pressure changes into a few different paths, moving to high, medium, or low pressure lines throughout the distribution system. When gas enters your home it’s at a rate of about ¼ psi – 60 psi. There’s a range and it depends on the home/business the gas is serving. The building will have a round regulator next to the gas meter to well, regulate, the pressure of the gas coming into the building.
Regulators, as you might imagine are quite important as well! These are designed to completely shut off the flow of gas into the home when gas isn’t in use. The regulator is able to allow more, or less, gas into the home as well to meet the specific demand, whether it’s just an oven or if the water heater and furnace need it as well.
Once inside the home, each of the specific fixtures/appliances that use gas have different constructions, nozzles, pipes, etc to ensure that they get the proper amount of gas at the proper pressure.
Now here’s the big nugget, here’s why gas pressure is so crucial.
If the gas pressure is too high, the gas will flow too fast. Gas flows too fast and the risk of fire increases drastically. Look at it like this, If too much gas flows into the furnace for instance, the furnace will generate more heat than it is designed to handle. Your furnace’s fan and exhaust won’t be able to handle the excess heat and soon it will overheat. The same is true of other appliances! They’re designed to work with a specific amount of gas, if the pressure is too high they’ll get too much gas and they won’t be able to function correctly. Things overheat and break down and the risk for trouble rises.
That’s why your home has a regulator, to prevent the pressure from being too high – but if this should malfunction you have to keep your eye out and have regular inspections and maintenance of your home’s various systems.
Is your gas systems up to snuff or working fine? Do you even know? It might be time to have a licensed plumber come out, perform an inspection and ensure you home’s gas systems are as safe as can be! If you’re in the Tucson area, give Economy Plumbing Service a call!