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Meco Midget & natural gas

I am moving studio to my garage and switching from Oxy Acetylene to Oxy Natural gas.Will be having an Oxy concentrator and a G-tec booster to modulate the natural gas pressure. Will I need new hoses for the natural gas? Will I need a different regulator? Also, what pressure for the nat gas?

Hello Joanne,
According to what I read at the G-Tec site, you would need a new regulator for the gas side, since the gas pressure is so much lower than acetylene pressure at the tank is. G-Tec shows a standard red and green set of hoses with a torch in front of one of its units, so I suppose you can use the hoses you have, if the end will fit on the O2 concentrator. On mine, I use a hose barb, and I suppose you could cut off the threaded and and use a barb and clamp if you had to. You can certainly mate up the concentrator and hose and see what might work. Your local welding supply or the vendor who is supplying the concentrator can probably also help. From what I see at the glasswork suppliers sites, they supply a standard red/green hose, so I suppose it works with the typical O2 concentrator.
I wonder why you’re going to all the expense of a natural gas booster when a simple one pound propane tank would allow you to use your current hoses and acetylene regulator. Just buy the small tanks as needed or refill them from a 20 lb barbeque tank with an $8 adapter. That’s what I and the Meixners have done. But it’s down to personal preference, I guess. Good luck on the studio move! -royjohn

Thank you so much for the advice! I am going this route because my garage is attached to my house and I don’t want any complications with my insurance

I went through the same exercise 4 or 5 years ago and settled on a meco midget torch on 1 lb. propane cylinders and a medical O2 generator. It does everything that I need. There is a lot about this in the archives…Rob

My homeowners policy doesn’t like high pressure fuel in my attached garage. Glad to keep hearing good things about the meco midget

The G-tec comes with a regulator pressure gauge. Please have a licensed plumber install the black pipe for your natural gas. i have a separate cut off at the wall to the g-tec and i think that is recommended. I have flashback arrestors on my gtec output, and a “Y” connection to feed two torches. I had unsatisfactory results with a oxygen generator - but my experience may not be typical. I use a medium cylinder of Oxygen - with flash back arrestor on it as well. The reason for the G-tech is to deal with the low residential delivery pressure of NG. However - and you could save some money - I used the Meco Midget for 4 or 5 years with no g-tech but with compressed OXY. The Meco Midget has an unusual gas mixturing capability and you can really get away with a lot. FWIW - now i use the Paige ventilated tips almost exclusively on the Meco. I used an earlier version of ventilated tip at low pressure prior to getting the g-tec. Judy Hoch

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And the G-tech comes with a flexi hose that connects to a black pipe. Your installer will understand how to do this - it is NOT a DIY. If you need a picture - flag me and I’ll show you mine…Judy Hoch

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I explained to my insurance company what I was doing and got a letter approving it. Originally, my hope was to get all high pressure cylinders out of the house. O2 is now on demand and there is nothing stored under pressure. Propane is a refillable 1 lb. cylinder. I am happy and they are happy…Rob

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@jmdw

When I was researching putting my torch on natural gas, a high level manager in the installation division at my local natural gas company told me a state law made it illegal to have a torch and a furnace on the same natural gas line in the same building, and an attached garage is in the same building. He also said it is illegal in our state to have two separate gas lines installed in the same building.

Having used natural gas for many years, I’ve had several experiences with gas contractors and plumbers who either do not know or are willing to disregard the law.

If your goal is to maintain insurability, talk to someone knowledgeable at your natural gas company whose job includes having information that the other folks you have consulted do not have. Your insurance agent might not know this information, but when a claim arises, there is no doubt your insurance company will suddenly know everything that allows them to deny that claim.

good to know! i will check

yes, have qualified
plumber to install have instructions from G-tec

You can get all kinds of crazy stuff out of your insurance people. The latest here was that they sent someone out to examine the outside of my house before approving the home owner’s insurance and required that we move stuff away from the front of the garage (slip and fall hazard?) and take a few vines away from the gutters and caulk some spots that were rotting on a set of columns on the front porch. On the porch, there were rotten areas on the columns, but they were decoration and didn’t hold up anything. I didn’t caulk the rotten areas, which would have made no sense, but instead put new wood into the rotten areas and repainted. They are sending someone out to look at our rental house next week, we’ll see what they come up with on that one. As far as “high pressure” gases in your garage, I would challenge them to tell you that you can’t have a 1 lb propane cylinder in it or a 20 lb can there or on your back deck barbeque. They just don’t prohibit such things or they would have to give up 80% of their suburban policies. Your natural gas is a whole lot more dangerous without some form of auto-shutoff (there are such things, but it seems neither your insurance agent nor G-Tech told you about them) than a 1 lb propane canister. We had a family of three die in a natural gas explosion last year in Knoxville, but I challenge you to find a case where a 1 lb propane canister took out a house. I hate to rant on you, but this kind of stupidity just upsets me when they are blindly following some kind of regulation without any regard for whether it makes any sense. Do what you think best, but I would consult my local fire marshall. Those folks have seen the fires and usually are in the know. Good Luck, whatever you decide is best! -royjohn

Yes, it is not a DIY for someone who does not understand plumbing or how to check for leaks. When I plumbed the gas line for my doublewide twenty years ago, my entire extended family was sure I would blow myself up. I followed the instructions for installing black pipe and before the inspector showed up I pressurized the line and set up a gauge. The gauge was not supposed to leak down…it did not and actually, as the day warmed up from sunrise, the pressure rose. There was no problem passing the inspection and I lived in that house about five years with no problems from the heating system. Use a lot of pipe tape and put things together tightly and check for leaks by pressurizing your system and using soap bubbles…which you should do on your torch connectors anyway. Also be aware that your metal flexhose will say that it needs to be replaced any time that you move the hose and stretch it in any way. Good luck with that. Such as when you have a flex hose on your gas range and move it to clean behind it. How many people do you think actually do that? Ya pays your money and ya makes your choice, I guess. Best of Luck -royjohn, the crank.

first thing i did to start the ball rolling on this project was to call the Fire Marshall in our area. They do not deal with residential properties here. They had me call Inspections & Permitting.
They referred me to the NC Fuel & Gas code. In cases like this, hoops need to be jumped through