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Gas supply in home shop


#1

I’m soon moving to a new house and will have the space once again
after several years to have my own shop area. Rather than deal with
using propane and storing the tanks outside this time around, I’m
considering the idea of running my bench torch off city gas. The
access in the area I will be using is simple – all I would need to
do is have a certified plumber put a tee in the gas line that runs
along one of the rafters and drop a straight shot (with a manual
shutoff valve and flashback arrestor) down the wall to where I would
then attach the hose for my bench torch.

The end of the straight shot down the wall is where I have basically
two choices: a) connect a gas regulator (such as I’d use on bottled
gas) to the end of the line and run the torch from that; or b) forget
about using the regulator and just put on a nipple for a push-on fit
(with small hose clamp) of the torch’s gas line.

Which one is the better choice? I do not know if I actually need a
regulator on the line when I’m running off city gas. Anyone have any
experience in this respect? This is the last hurdle on the shop
design.

Talia in Kansas


#2

Hi, Talia – I hope your shop is not in a basement; natural gas is
heavy and will sink to the floor and collect there. In most places it
is strictly illegal to have something like this in a basement or
otherwise underground –

Margaret


#3

When I was in a house with city gas, I did just that. No extra
regulator, as the regulated line pressure into the house was very low
to begin with. I forget the exact figure, but if you were using
bottle gas with a regulator, you would normally be running higher
than city gas. I found it adequate for all of my torch work. And
appreciated not having to deal with bottles, or getting them filled.
It might not do for large scale soldering or melting/casting, but for
making jewelry, it was more than adequate, and I have always had at
least some fairly large silver pieces in my work. Jim


#4

Talia, I will be interested to see if anyone else answers, as I am
going through the same process at Metalwerx. I will be glad to
share my experiences once the installation is complete.

-k


#5

Dan Wellman here… I think that Talia is confusing LP (Propane)
with Natural Gas. Her statements are true with regards to LP but
allowances are made by code for LP in basements provided it meets
local code requirements. Think of the many water heaters, furnaces,
boilers etc. that are in basements. All of them have safety systems
to prevent a build up of gas in the basements. Natural Gas is Lighter
than air and rises out a vent / chimney etc. As a practical matter
the valves on the torch will function to regulate the gas flow to the
tip and an in-line regulator is probably not necessary. I would
advise that a locally licensed installer put in the gas line. They
should know the local code and install it to meet those standards at
a minimum. An extra safety shut off in the line may be required. Most
UL or FM (Factory Mutual) standards require some kind of automatic
shut off to protect against the torch being left on slightly and
leaking etc. I would recommend an automatic shutoff station where
you hang the torch on a shutoff arm and that shuts it down. Most of
these have a small pilot flame so that there is an easy relite when
the torch is picked up. Also bear in mind that your insurance may
have even stricter standards.

Dan Wellman Heating Serviceman


#6
   Hi, Talia -- I hope your shop is not in a basement; natural gas
is heavy and will sink to the floor and collect there. In most
places it is strictly illegal to have something like this in a
basement or otherwise underground - 

Margaret

I think you’re confusing natural gas with Propane. That’s the one
that’s mostly a problem for being heavy and sinking to the floor.
Natural gas dissipates much better. In a closed room, of course, any
gas leak of any kind could build up to dangerous levels, but that’s a
different situation. If natural gas were so dangerous in the
basement, there wouldn’t be so many water heaters and furnaces in
people’s basements, that run on the stuff…

Peter


#7

It is technically the basement, but the difference from a normal
basement is that the house is split level built on a hill and thus
opens out on the ground floor on one side of the house, while the
living area of the house opens on the ground floor on the other side
of the house. I’ll actually be taking over the garage (which is in
the “basement”) and have already purchased a gas detector for the
shop as well as had a ventilation system installed, and a certified
plumber will be doing the gas line installation. I’m definitely a
safety kind of girl :slight_smile:

Talia


#8

You will not want a point of use regulator. The pressure will be
low enough to use as is and a regulator will not help but hinder
you. I would not use push on hose connectrion , but they have been
used for years in chem labs. The gas will be lighter than air and
will be stenched with mercaptan which contains sulfur. Use the
same fitting that comes on a fuel gas regulator to connect the
hose. The standard is probably a 1?4 inch male male pipe thread
to 1/4ich left hand “B” nut. Your welding supplier will have these.
Nat gas air will work to a point but there is less heat available
than with propane or other fuel gas. You may want oxy- fuel some
of the time. Some glass workers will use used medical oxygen
concentrators. These are useful - they can not legaly be resold for
medical use so they keep coming available since most of the
original use is for terminal medical cases . They can cost from zero
to about $500 ( too high). They will be big enough for several
small torches. Oxygen pressure is only 5 psig for these .

Use common sense and be careful. Jesse


#9

Talia-- I’m not downplaying the need for safety, of course, but if
natural gas were particularly a problem in basements, where would we
all keep our furnaces, clothes dryers and water heaters?

–No�l


#10
I hope your shop is not in a basement; natural gas is heavy and
will sink to the floor and collect there

Margaret Natural gas use in the basement is quite common and quite
safe. My two furnaces and hot water heaters are all on natural gas
and are located in the basement. Natural gas is actually much lighter
than air and will rise, rather than sink and pool. Whether a gas sinks
or rises is not really the main issue in regards to its safety. Any
combustible gas that leaks in a confined and unventilated space and
has no way out, can be potentially dangerous. It does not really
matter if it sinks or rises, either way it will still accumulate.

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Alberta Canada


#11

This has been a very educational thread for me. I had my studio
tech and the pipefitter finally meet and discuss what I will need.
We still have a question on just what the pressure should be for the
Nat gas. I have pipes going off in two different directions, with
two mini-torches a piece. Each section, in the co-op studio on one
end and the school on the other, the regulation of the gas will be
key.

I will still have large acet and oxy tanks, which will be hard
plumbed with a cutoff under the bench. The hardest part will be
trying to educate everyone so they will feel, we we feel very
secure. I will be posting shut off procedures in full view, but it
will take a while before everyone remembers.

One step at at time, but we are getting really close.

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph: 781/891-3854
Fx: 781/891-3857
www.metalwerx.com
email: @Karen_Christians