A Dose of Iron

Bringing natural gas to the house requires some heavy metal

Custom Design & Construction's Sheldon Street project will be utilizing natural gas for home heating, tankless water heating, a clothes dryer, kitchen and outdoor cooking appliances, and fire pits. As such, it’s time to install gas lines for that service throughout the house. Based on total anticipated BTUs, a 2-inch line will be used to bring gas from the utility main line. “Gas comes in at very low pressure—2 or 3 pounds,” explains Bill,  “so you need to have large pipe to handle the volume of flow that will be required to adequately service the needs.”

Mario Gonzalez is working with black iron pipe, the norm for gas supply, bringing it in from the main underneath the raised foundation rather than alongside the more accessible exterior of the house. That means today’s job is going to be a physically demanding and dirty one. “We try not to run gas line anywhere where someone might accidentally dig it up or cut it,” says Dan. “And where it is outside the structure, it’s buried deep to avoid that scenario.”

From underneath the house, the line branches off to feed the laundry room and the tankless water heating system, then through walls to the second story—remember, this house is a flip-flop of a typical home, with living areas upstairs—where it feeds the furnace, kitchen appliances, an outdoor grill (“You know, one of those suckers that’ll roast a whole pig in 8 minutes,” laughs Dan), and a fire feature or two.

Since black iron pipe is rigid, it can be tricky to work with—sections must be lowered through holes drilled into wall plates from the top down. Where custom-length sections are called for, Gonzalez uses a well-oiled power cutter/threader to get just the right size segments onsite, a shining example of why it’s good to have the right tools for the job.



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