How To Tie Into Existing Gas Line
If you are fortunate enough to have a natural-gas utility near your property, you may find it easier to build an eco-friendly home than if you don’t. But even if there isn’t a gas company in your area, you can still add a natural-gas heating system. Natural-gas lines are made of steel or plastic and range from about 5 inches to about 20 inches in diameter. You could dig up your yard, locate the gas mains and excavate in that area; however, that is expensive and time-consuming. Instead, here are some less expensive alternatives:
Check if you’re in an area with natural-gas service.
Before starting to dig for a natural-gas line, call your utility company to find out if you’re in an area where gas is available. You can also call a contractor who installs natural-gas lines to help you determine if there is a gas company in your area. If you’re not in a service area, you can use propane or fuel oil instead, but those aren’t as efficient as natural gas. If you have a natural-gas line nearby and you want to use it, you’ll have to excavate to get to it.
Choose the spot for your gas line.
Before you dig, mark the location where you want the gas line to enter the house. Dig a 2-foot-deep, 4-foot-long trench along that path and remove the soil as you go. Be sure to avoid any wires or gas mains. That will be your new gas line. If you have a nearby water main, be careful not to damage it during the digging process. If you hit a water line, stop digging and call a professional for help.
Install a pilot hole.
If you don’t see a gas line in the path, start digging a pilot hole. To do this, dig a 4-foot-deep, 2-foot-long trench and remove the soil as you go. When you reach the gas line, dig around the gas line to expose a 2-foot-long section. Then, remove the soil from the top of the gas line and drill a 3/8-inch-diameter pilot hole into the pipe. Make sure the top of the pilot hole is 6 inches below the ground level.
Add a flexible pipe and valve.
If you see a gas line, but it’s too close to your house for the natural-gas line to be installed, you’ll need a flexible pipe and a control valve. The flexible pipe is installed from the gas main to the house. It’s made from polyethylene plastic and has a valve that allows you to turn the gas on and off. The control valve should be about 12 inches inside the house. Install the flexible pipe with the valve on the gas main, and then connect the flexible pipe to the control valve.
Add steel piping.
Now you’ll install steel piping from the control valve to the furnace. The steel tubing shouldn’t touch the gas line, so install a nipple or T-fitting between the two lines. You’ll need to use a flange on one end of the T-fitting to secure it to the steel piping. Also, install a shutoff valve between the control valve and the furnace to allow you to shut off the gas to the furnace during maintenance. The shutoff valve also ensures that the furnace can’t ignite the gas.
Add a control valve and storage tank.
Finally, install a control valve and a gas storage tank inside the house. The control valve will regulate the flow of natural gas from the utility company to the furnace. The storage tank will hold extra natural gas for periods when the furnace runs frequently. A standard-sized natural-gas line is about 4 inches in diameter and is capable of delivering enough gas for a standard home. If your house is larger, you can install a larger line, but it will cost more.
If you have a natural-gas line nearby, you can use it to heat your home. First, find the existing gas line by digging in the path where you want to install your gas line. Once you’ve located the gas line, you can install your own line by digging a pilot hole and installing a flexible pipe with a control valve. Finally, you can connect your line to the existing gas line. When the work is done, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a natural-gas heating system.