Are you getting the most out of your home’s natural gas service? 35% of homes in Texas use natural gas as their primary heat source. This percentage is even higher in DFW. Whether you have Atmos or Coserv supplying gas to your home – natural gas is typically the cheaper energy source when compared to electricity.
From gas stoves to backup generators, natural gas can power many important appliances in the home. Not only is gas typically less expensive compared to electric appliances, it also provides significant performance advantages. In this article, we’re going to go through a few upgrades that are possible with natural gas along with a bit more information about how they are implemented.
Gas Stoves And Gas Grills
It’s no secret that gas stoves are often preferred to cook with by professional chefs to home cooks. This is mostly due to the very precise temperature control and responsiveness of a gas cooktop.
If you love to grill outdoors, why not ditch the constant propane tank refills and go with a natural gas hookup on your patio?
While you likely have a couple of outdoor electric outlets, it’s surprising that many new homes built in DFW to existing homes don’t have gas hookups. For homes with a natural gas line, Legacy Plumbing installs natural gas stoves and grill hookups. This is a commonly requested plumbing upgrade for the kitchen and the backyard.
The process of adding a new gas line for either of these upgrades varies greatly based on a couple of factors. We’re grouping these two appliances together because the process of installing a new line is similar for both.
First: what’s involved in running the new gas line? The gas pipes supplying the appliances in your home will either be a rigid steel pipe called “black iron pipe” or a flexible stainless steel pipe called “CSST”. These pipes will run through the attic and down the walls to where the gas hookups are needed.
If the house is single story where the attic above the kitchen or exterior wall near the porch is easily accessible, this usually makes for a much easier installation without having to cut into much sheetrock to run the new line. If the house is multi-story without easy access above the needed areas, then it typically takes much more work and more drywall patching to run the new line.
Second: is the gas piping sized properly for an added appliance? Unfortunately, it’s often not as simple as finding the nearest gas pipe in the attic and connecting a new line to that spot. The gas system of the home must be sized properly or some of the appliances will not get enough gas and will not work properly when multiple appliances are running.
In order to know where you can connect to the existing system, a gas load chart must be created. Sometimes called a BTU load or “sizing” chart, this exercise lets you know what each of the different sizes of pipe can support based on how long they are as they run through the house.
Gas stoves and grills typically don’t have a very large gas demand. On average, the total BTU load typically is under 40,000 btu/hr. So this means that it usually isn’t too difficult to find a spot in the system that will support the added line.
Gas Pool Heaters And Gas Generators
Adding a pool to a home is a pretty big investment, but is popular in Frisco, Plano and nearby communities. It makes sense to get the most out of this investment by adding a pool heater at the same time for year round use. Having a pool heater will significantly extend the comfortable swimming season. Furthermore, natural gas has a significant advantage over electric heat pumps in how quickly natural gas heaters are able to warm up the pool.
Gas backup generators are experiencing a recent surge in popularity in this area due to the headlines about the reliability of the Texas power grid over the last couple of years. Many homeowners want the peace of mind that comes with an alternate power supply to protect them and their house from freezing.
We’re grouping backup generators and pool heaters together in this section because the process of installing new gas lines for them is often very similar.
How much gas supply do they need? Pool heaters and backup generators need a higher flow rate of gas when they turn on. Unlike smaller appliances like cooktops and grills, the BTU load for these appliances are typically well up into the hundreds of thousands range starting at 150,000 to 300,000. This means that in many residential situations the only practical place to tie them into the system is all the way back at where the gas meter is located.
How do you run the new gas line? To get from the gas meter to wherever the appliance is located usually involves running a new gas line through the yard. These gas lines are made of a corrosion-proof polyethylene piping that runs under the ground. At the ends, this line transitions to special fittings called anodeless risers that have threaded steel pipe connections on the top. These connect to the appliance at one end and to the gas meter at the other end. Sometimes, pressure regulators also have to be installed as part of the process that ensures enough gas will be supplied to each appliance that needs it.
This work is more labor intensive because of the need to dig a 20” deep trench the entire way. If there are sidewalks, trees, or driveways along the way, it adds to the amount of work required.
Are you getting the most out of your gas system? Hopefully, this article gives you a bit more information if you’re considering any of these upgrades.
Legacy is a full-service plumbing company and we are fully licensed and insured to work on all natural gas systems. We install new gas lines for homeowners in the North Texas area on a regular basis These gas lines are fully up to code and properly inspected.
If you have any questions about what it would take to turn your gas project into a reality, just give us a call and we would be happy to cover all the relevant factors of your specific situation.