Will I need a different gas meter? Gas line suggestions?

SlipperyPete

Member
Sep 19, 2020
13
Baton Rouge, LA
I'm in the process of pricing my pool installation. This site has been a great help so far. I'm new to the forum so I apologize if this is in the wrong board.

Each pool contractor has made a blanket statement like 'you may need to change your gas meter' and 'the gas line might not work if it isn't dedicated to the pool heater'. But no one has told me definitively. I want to do what is right, but I need to budget accordingly, b/c everyone's bids don't include plumbing. I don't want to agree to a price then realize I have a few grand in plumbing I need to tack on to the price. I've called the gas company and told them I planned to add a 400k BTU heater to my home and the rep on the phone couldn't even tell what type of meter I had, much less whether or not It needed to be bumped up. I'm hoping someone here can help.

Here is the background of my project.

House is 18 months old and back then my plumber stubbed out a 1.5" pipe where I planned on putting my equipment. What I didn't know then, and others have since pointed out, is that line probably won't work b/c the plumber didn't run a dedicated line. Meter on left side of home; gas stub out for pool heater is on the right. He basically ran one pipe in the attic and used it for my two furnaces, 2 tankless heater, kitchen cooktop, and outdoor burner and brought that pipe down on the other side of the house for my pool. When the gas meter was installed, I told the local gas company all of the appliances I had PLUS that it needed to be sized for a whole home generator and pool heater. The gas company said it could handle it. Now it seems the gas company, plumber, and pool contractors don't really know. I know the true solution is to contact a plumber that is familiar with pools, unlike the plumber that plumbed my home. In the meantime, I'm hoping this forum can help guide me so I can make an informed decision. So the question is ... what do I need to plan for moving forward? If I haven't provided enough info, please let me know what will help.

Meter information:
Sensus R-275
275 CFH
MOAP 5 PSI
The regulator just says Honeywell American Meter.
 

Chrissykr

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2014
623
Rogers, AR
I am not an expert but when we had our heater installed we needed a dedicated line with two shutoffs. One is at the line coming into the house and the other is at the heater. Our gas company came and switched us out to a small commercial thing at the utility pole. It cost us $2,000 and I just used my regular plumber.

One of the experts will be by shortly who can help you...
 
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ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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Your meter is 275 cubic feet per hour of gas. 1 CFH = 1,000 BTUs. So it can supply 275k BTUs.

You will need a larger gas service for a 400K BTU heater.
 
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SlipperyPete

Member
Sep 19, 2020
13
Baton Rouge, LA
Your meter is 275 cubic feet per hour of gas. 1 CFH = 1,000 BTUs. So it can supply 275k BTUs.

You will need a larger gas service for a 400K BTU heater.
thanks for the info! I was assuming I’d need to upgrade the meter. I guess I need to figure out a way to get a dedicated line where I want the heater now if the shared pipe is basically useless. To go around the house and pool, it would be roughly 150’. I could always change the location of where I want my pool equipment, but that would mean further runs from my pool to the equipment.
I’m not very happy with my plumber at the moment.
 

PoolGate

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The meter upgrade may be free from the gas company but running the line is going to be super expensive. I got quotes up to $4500 for 75 feet of line.
 

SlipperyPete

Member
Sep 19, 2020
13
Baton Rouge, LA
The meter upgrade may be free from the gas company but running the line is going to be super expensive. I got quotes up to $4500 for 75 feet of line.
Ouch. Someone local told me I should expect $25/ft for the gas line. If I ran it underground, I’d be looking at $3,500-4,000 which kind of hurts bc I’m already on the edge of what I want to spend. My other option is to place the pool equipment on the other side of the house. Close to the gas meter but further from the pool.

So I guess my next question is... what difference does it make to have the heater, pump, etc 80+ feet from the pool? The original option would have put the equipment about 30 feet from the pool. Seems like the heater would have to work harder to warm up water through more cold/underground pipe. Maybe use more electricity bc I am pumping water further.

my original location already has electrical in place. Now that I’m thinking about it, One pool guy mentioned I could run a heater with my current pipe up to 275 BTU. So the existing gas line might be able to handle a 250-300k BTU heater. I don’t know but does distance offset some of the power of the heater?
 

JoyfulNoise

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There are exact schedules for pipe sizes required when you know the run length. At 150’ run length, a 400kBTU heater will need 1-1/2” pipe for the low pressure side (7-11 “WC). If you had a higher pressure run and used regulators, the pipe diameter would be smaller.

A 400kBTU heater REQUIRES a minimum of 400CFH. If you don’t supply that, the heater will likely not run or intermittently shutoff.

From the Pentair MasterTemp installation guide -

49929878-9BD7-490D-A515-2FE972813E25.png
 
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ajw22

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No distance does not change the efficiency of the heater.

Moving water an extra 50 feet only effects your builders install.
 
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JoyfulNoise

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I think the your 1-1/2” line is adequate. What is inadequate is your meter. Your gas company needs to upgrade it to handle all of your appliances, your generator and your heater. They just have to change the meter. There are residential meters that can easily provide 1MBTU (1000 CFH) flow. And the gas company should be happy to do it too .... it means they’re selling you more product!

You should get a gas plumber to put a pressure gauge on the end of the line where the pool heater is going to be and check to make sure you’re getting 11 to 14 “WC gas pressure. You should also test it when the heater is installed and running. Most NG heaters can’t operate at a pressure of less than 7” WC.
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,531
He basically ran one pipe in the attic and used it for my two furnaces, 2 tankless heater, kitchen cooktop, and outdoor burner and brought that pipe down on the other side of the house for my pool. When the gas meter was installed, I told the local gas company all of the appliances I had PLUS that it needed to be sized for a whole home generator and pool heater.
A 1.5" line at 150 feet can supply 482 cubic feet per hour (482,000 btu/hr).

That means that when everything is running at the same time the total demand should not exceed that amount.

The meter is definitely too small and would need to be replaced.

You might be able to switch to a 2 psi system where the line is pressurized to 2 psi and then you have a regulator near the heater that steps down the pressure to the heater inlet pressure.

You would need a regulator to step down the pressure to the other equipment as well, which might be a problem.

At 2 psi, the line can supply 4,220 cubic feet per hour (4,220,000 btu/hr).

Check with the plumber to see if the 2 psi is a viable option.

 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,531
How far is it from the meter to the T where the heater line and the line to the rest of the appliances separate into two different lines?

Maybe take the line going to the house off of the T and leave the heater only on the line.

Then, put a T coming out of the meter and run a new 1.5" line to the existing house line?

Alternatively, since you have to replace the meter anyway, going to a 2 psi system should be doable.

You can put a regulator near the heater and a regulator at each appliance or on the line going to the house right off the main T.
 
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setsailsoon

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Most gas meters are rated at a standard pressure drop and I believe it is .5 inch WC. They can actually go higher than that. since your line is sized correctly at one and a half inches you will probably be able to use the existing meter. In my development here in South Florida almost every house with a pool has a 400000 BTU an hour gas heater with a 250 standard cubic foot meter. they also have a gas stove and gas water heater. Part of the reason I think this works is we are located in the South and don't have to have a huge gas heater in the HVAC system. The good thing for you is you have the right size gas line. That's the expensive part. If it were me I would install the heater and try it with the meter you have. If that doesn't work call the gas company and have them install a larger meter. Often they will do that at no charge because it allows them to sell more gas. If you don't want to wonder about this have a qualified gas contractor do the calculations for you and they may very well go to a 2 in wc system as James suggested.


I hope this helps.

Chris
 
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mguzzy

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Jul 8, 2015
2,425
OV, CA
This all happened before I bought my house with the pool already installed. Our pool is at the opposite corner of the yard from where the gas meter is on the other corner of the house. A run of about 150-170ft sounds somewhat like your arrangement. But I can see they teed a 1.5 inch gas line to the pool at the meter, ran up up the side of the house and across the house/yard through the attic. So for a short distance the gas lines feeding the home appliances (hot water heater, etc) run parallel to the gas line feeding the spa. On the other side of the house it goes underground for the last 50 feet or so to the equipment pad. After learning more about spa heater requirements I can see why they did it that way.. it minimized the amount of digging they had to do. There would have been a lot of trees to contend with. It gave the gas line a clear shot from the meter without any other devices teed into the line. This was done back in they days when gas was run with black pipe per code. Now its done with PVC. maybe this will give you some ideas.
 

SlipperyPete

Member
Sep 19, 2020
13
Baton Rouge, LA
How far is it from the meter to the T where the heater line and the line to the rest of the appliances separate into two different lines?
The main gas line comes off my meter, goes into the wall (brick veneer), and up to the attic. It then runs 58' across the house and down the wall so it stubs out the brick on the opposite side of my home from the meter. Maybe the attachment will help illustrate my situation. The current line has several T's where the other appliances are fed from it (two furnaces, two tankless water heaters, gas cooktop, gas lantern, outdoor grill). I haven't gone in the attic yet to get the BTU info from everything.

Few notes:
- my elec & gas meters are both on the left side of the house.
- where is says 'Ideal location for pool equip.' is where I currently have the gas and electrical run for my equipment.
- I live on a narrow lot so my house is only 8' from the sidelines which limits my options.
- the 'Alt location' my equipment is where I intended to put a generator one day. generator location has a line and the electrician set everything up already for the generator.
- my ceilings are 10' (single story). So the run from the meter to the stub out is roughly 80'.
- My pool will be roughly 12k-14k gallons plus a 7'x8' spa.

What I'm gathering from all the great replies is that I have a few options:
1) upgrade meter, run new gas line approx. 160' around the house & pool. (most expensive)
2) upgrade meter, and use alt location for the pool (will make the generator install more expensive if/when I do it)
3) upgrade meter, T a new gas line from meter, run it up the brick wall into the attic and across the house then tie it into the gas line running down the wall to the stub out.
4) use a smaller pool heater.
 

Attachments

SlipperyPete

Member
Sep 19, 2020
13
Baton Rouge, LA
But I can see they teed a 1.5 inch gas line to the pool at the meter, ran up up the side of the house and across the house/yard through the attic. So for a short distance the gas lines feeding the home appliances (hot water heater, etc) run parallel to the gas line feeding the spa.
So you have a gas line exposed on the exterior of your home running up into the attic? It seems like that is a cheaper option for me than running a 160' line around the house and pool.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,425
OV, CA
So you have a gas line exposed on the exterior of your home running up into the attic? It seems like that is a cheaper option for me than running a 160' line around the house and pool.
Yes. Its is exposed on the meter side of the house, runs up the wall and then EL's into the attic. Its a straight run across the attic and the it does the same thing on the other side before it goes underground. The underground run was at some point covered by a sport court. Its painted to match the wall and is really not terribly noticeable. No one is ever on the side of the house where the utilities are anyway. On the sport court side of the house we have just gotten used to it.. its a part of the house.
Without knowing your layout. There are trenchless pipe installation techniques these days. I think they can do it with gas PVC, but don't quote me on that. I mostly wanted to describe my setup since it sounds like your layout. If it were done today I'm sure it would be done differently.

edit: I just went back and looked at your layout. If that line that is stubbed is that size the all the way from the meter, I bet that would work.
 
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setsailsoon

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so it looks like your gas line is 58 feet from the meter. And the stubout is right next to the heater correct. The drawing shows one inch for the 58 foot line but the stubout out near your heater appears to be 11/2 in.Is this correct? If so I would still try to run the heater with no changes. Or see if you can call the gas company and get them to address this now. You may have to ask to speak with the engineering department.

Chris
 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,531
The current line has several T's where the other appliances are fed from it (two furnaces, two tankless water heaters, gas cooktop, gas lantern, outdoor grill).
You can replace the meter with a bigger meter and go from regular low pressure (about 8" wc) to higher pressure at 2 psi, which will allow the line to carry more than enough gas.

You would not have to run any new lines.

You would have to put a regulator near each appliance or on each leg going to each set of appliances to reduce the pressure from 2 psi to 8" wc to go into the individual appliance.

How many legs T off of the main line?
 
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