If your home currently relies on home heating oil to run its furnace, you probably know that it’s among the most expensive home heating options available. You may also know that natural gas offers a cleaner, cheaper option. However, to take advantage of it, you’d need to have gas lines installed in your home to support a new furnace and any other gas-powered appliances you’d like to use.
The process of getting those lines installed, though, can seem overwhelming. Plus, if you don’t have experience with natural gas in a residential setting, you may have some questions about various aspects of the process. To help, here’s everything you need to know about gas line installation from the experts here at Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.
What Are the Advantages of Natural Gas?
The first thing you may be wondering about having natural gas lines installed in your home is why you’d want to do it in the first place. The answer to that is simple. It’s that natural gas is among the cheapest and most reliable ways you can heat your home. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average home could cut its heating costs by up to 70% by using natural gas when compared to home heating oil.
Plus, natural gas is quite safe because of its narrow range of flammability. That means it will only burn when mixed with oxygen in specific concentrations. To ignite, the air-fuel mixture must have at least 5% natural gas and no more than 15%. Otherwise, ignition is impossible. That reality means the odds of a natural gas leak inside a home causing a fire or explosion are minimal.
And if all of that weren’t enough, natural gas is also friendlier to the environment than home heating oil. According to the EPA, burning natural gas results in fewer emissions of CO2, CH4, and N2O per MMBtu compared with home heating oil. All three are potent greenhouse gasses that contribute to the trapping of excess heat within our atmosphere.
The Natural Gas Service Installation Process
If your home doesn’t have an existing connection to natural gas delivery infrastructure, the process of installing natural gas lines in your home must begin with a call to your local gas utility. They’ll check to see if your home is close enough to a gas line to permit a connection to their infrastructure. If it is, the gas company will install an underground service line to your home. Depending on the provider, they may also install a meter to measure your gas usage. If not, you’d need a plumbing contractor like Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning to handle that for you. At that point, your home would be ready to have natural gas distribution lines installed to where you need them.
Installing Natural Gas Lines
The next thing you’d need to do is to work with our team to decide how and where you plan to use your home’s new natural gas service. At a minimum, you’d likely want a line run to where your home’s existing furnace is, so it can supply a new gas-fired furnace in its place. In that case, Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can handle the entire installation for you, including helping you choose a new furnace and install it.
Then, depending on your needs, you may also want additional gas lines run in your home. For example, you may need a line run to power a natural gas clothes dryer, a stove, or a water heater. Gas-powered appliances, while slightly pricier to purchase than electric equivalents, will cost less to operate, just like your new furnace. And while it’s always possible to add additional distribution lines in your home at a later date, it’s typically best to have the installation work done all at once.
Types of Natural Gas Piping
Depending on your home’s location and the natural gas provider that serves it, we may use a variety of different types of gas pipes to supply your appliances. These include pipes made from the following materials.
Flexible Stainless-Steel Tubing
Flexible stainless-steel tubing offers simplified installation in tight spaces and can make the addition of natural gas lines to your home easier. Plus, they hold up well during natural disasters like earthquakes. However, this type of gas line will only last around 30 years or so before requiring replacement.
Another common gas pipe material is galvanized steel. They’ll last between 40 and 100 years and are quite energy-efficient. However, they’re relatively difficult to install and aren’t used very often for new service installations these days.
The most common type of gas piping is made of black iron. It’s strong, reliable, and lasts up to 70 years or more. However, it’s not easy to install inside finished walls and may complicate installation inside certain homes.
Used almost exclusively for gas lines run underground, pipes made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) offer a sturdy and economical option. They have the benefit of being corrosion-proof, so they won’t degrade over time due to moisture exposure. Plus, they’re slightly flexible and can accommodate slight movements in the ground without breaking.
What You’ll Need to Know After Adding Natural Gas Piping
After having natural gas lines installed in your home, you’ll need to add a few tasks to your list of regular household maintenance. One is that you’ll need to get used to scheduling annual inspections of your home’s gas infrastructure. This will help you get the most out of your natural gas appliances while keeping your home safe. You’ll also need to start paying attention to your natural gas usage to make sure your new furnace continues to operate at peak efficiency. And if it’s not, you’ll need to call us for a furnace service visit.
You’ll also need to get to know the signs of trouble with your home’s natural gas piping. For example, if you hear any unusual hissing sounds in and around your home’s pipes, you’ll want to call Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning right away. You should also know that natural gas is naturally odorless, so suppliers add a substance called mercaptan to it so that you can smell a leak should one occur. It gives the gas supply a telltale rotten egg smell that’s difficult to miss.
Your Natural Gas Piping Experts
If you’re thinking about adding natural gas service to your home, Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is the place to call. We offer comprehensive plumbing services, including natural gas line installations, or if you are looking for maintenance or repair. We can help you plan out your home’s gas line installation and execute it for you. Plus, we also offer complete HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair services, along with indoor air quality solutions, too.
That means we can also help you buy and install a new furnace and help you maintain it to get the most out of your investment. As a family-owned and operated business since 1984, you won’t find another company with a better reputation than ours. Just look at our over 1,800 glowing customer reviews to see what you can expect when you work with us.
So, for natural gas line installation, gas line repair, and more in Portland, OR, Vancouver, WA, and Boise, ID, call the experts at Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today!