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Need Higher Capacity Gas Meter for Tankless Water Heater

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  • May 4th, 2015 12:37 am
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes

Need Higher Capacity Gas Meter for Tankless Water Heater

Alright. So it looks like there isn't enough BTU coming through the 1/2 inch gas line into the home to provide enough gas to cover all current gas outlets (fireplace, stoves, bbq, furnace etc...) and now the Tankless needs about 200K BTU. Called my local gas comapny and they said they would upgrade the capacity for free. What should I be looking for? Right now, as per the tankless installer, I need to get the gas company to increase the size of the regulator so I can get more BTU's coming in. The installer suggested once that is done, we split the line before it gets into the house and add the second line that way as it's easier to run the new line to the furnace room. The original run went into the ceiling of the garage and down again and it seems that is a lot of work to do this.

Can they just use the same 1/2 inch line and then do the splitting inside the furnace room? Or is that 1/2 inch line too small for all the BTUs I need?
27 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 20, 2011
1141 posts
426 upvotes
Mississauga
I know codes are different depending on where you live but let's say you at least live in Canada. From what I understand, anything over around 100k btu's should be around 3/4" piping.
Member
Jul 14, 2012
331 posts
142 upvotes
Hamilton
Length 1/2 3/4 1 1-1/4

10 227 474 894 1 835
20 156 326 614 1 261
30 125 262 493 1 013
40 107 224 422 867
50 95 199 374 768

It didn't want to copy from the PDF nicely, but this is from the B149 gas code. As you can see with the 1/2" pipe, IF your pipe from the meter was less than 10' total AND you didn't have another gas appliance in the house, then technically it would work...so yes you need to upgrade your piping.
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Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4669 posts
1940 upvotes
WFH
When sizing pipes diameter means very little on it's own. You also need to consider pressure and distance.

They're likely going to bring 1" into the house and split off a 3/4" for the water heater. The rest of your appliances can be connected to a 1/2" branch as before.

Normally the gas company will only deal with the supply line from the road, the regulator and meter. Everything on the house side of the meter is your responsibility.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36265 posts
10486 upvotes
Ottawa
bowmah wrote: Alright. So it looks like there isn't enough BTU coming through the 1/2 inch gas line into the home to provide enough gas to cover all current gas outlets (fireplace, stoves, bbq, furnace etc...) and now the Tankless needs about 200K BTU. Called my local gas comapny and they said they would upgrade the capacity for free. What should I be looking for? Right now, as per the tankless installer, I need to get the gas company to increase the size of the regulator so I can get more BTU's coming in. The installer suggested once that is done, we split the line before it gets into the house and add the second line that way as it's easier to run the new line to the furnace room. The original run went into the ceiling of the garage and down again and it seems that is a lot of work to do this.

Can they just use the same 1/2 inch line and then do the splitting inside the furnace room? Or is that 1/2 inch line too small for all the BTUs I need?
I suggest that you let the utility give you the extra capacity and then the installer, (I am sure that you have hired a licensed gas fitter and he is willing to put his name on the certificate (tag) that hangs from the pipe) can do whatever is best for your situation. As a licensed tradesman he is fully understanding of the regulations and the requirements, including pipe sizes and locations of the runs.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
ok good info gang. Looks like we cannot use the original 1/2 inch from meter to the furnace room. So are my options:

1. Pull new 3/4 inch line to the furnace room to use on all existing and new tankless
2. Split the line after the meter and pull a new line just for the tankless and use the old line for current outlets

I wonder if #1 would work well, ie. having 3/4 inch feed the original 250BTU and then 200K for the tankless. Good idea? I am just trying NOT to have to pull a new line outside of the house and do drilling.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
4714 posts
2640 upvotes
Pretty sure gas code say you need 1" from the meter to your furnace drop.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
pootza wrote: Pretty sure gas code say you need 1" from the meter to your furnace drop.
Sounds like I should ask the installer to pull a new 1 inch line you mean?
Member
Jul 14, 2012
331 posts
142 upvotes
Hamilton
pootza wrote: Pretty sure gas code say you need 1" from the meter to your furnace drop.
Nope. It's good common practice that a lot of installers use, mostly because its comes off the gas meter with 1", but it's not code.

I see more and more new houses where they come off the meter with 1" and reduce it right away to 3/4 and then bring it into the house. I assume it's to save money more than anything, or maybe the builder is offering 1" as an upgrade and charging tons for it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
So right now we have 1/2 inch coming in and the installer says the regulator / meter needs higher capacity after he did his calculations (including the length of the run). Before I finalize the quote, can anyone suggest if I should run a new 1 inch line to replace the 1/2 inch line or is it ok to run a second 1/2 inch line to another part of the outside of the house that has easier access to the furnace room in the basement?
Member
User avatar
Mar 25, 2012
466 posts
103 upvotes
Toronto
You may have to run 1" to your 1st appliance then reduce down to your other appliances, your tankless might require a 3/4 line directly into it. Another consideration is your tankless might have to be the 1st appliance in the run, if not it might not have sufficient gas flow if other appliances are running at the same time.
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
477 upvotes
Burlington, Ontario
Have you tried actually asking your licensed gas gas installer these questions?
I'd figure they would know better than anyone here since they are technically supposed to know the answers to all of these questions..
And bonus: They can come to your house and figure out the best options.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
G55man wrote: You may have to run 1" to your 1st appliance then reduce down to your other appliances, your tankless might require a 3/4 line directly into it. Another consideration is your tankless might have to be the 1st appliance in the run, if not it might not have sufficient gas flow if other appliances are running at the same time.
I see. So given the complex original run (through the ceiling of the garage), the installer suggested after the meter capacity upgrade, he split off another line from the meter to the outside of the house to get a more direct line to the furnace room. Is this an OK way to set things up? It would save on costs to re-run the old piping and all current outlets could use the old run. Just the tankless will use the new run. What do you think?
Member
User avatar
Mar 25, 2012
466 posts
103 upvotes
Toronto
bowmah wrote: I see. So given the complex original run (through the ceiling of the garage), the installer suggested after the meter capacity upgrade, he split off another line from the meter to the outside of the house to get a more direct line to the furnace room. Is this an OK way to set things up? It would save on costs to re-run the old piping and all current outlets could use the old run. Just the tankless will use the new run. What do you think?
Yes you can essentially split the line at the meter and run a new line to the tankless and use the old line for your existing appliances.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36265 posts
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Ottawa
bowmah wrote: Sounds like I should ask the installer to pull a new 1 inch line you mean?
Yuh think? As I said before, (and reiterated by BuildingHomes), ask the professional what needs to be done. Nothing said here is of real value as no one here can actually do the work. The person that knows, has the right answers, has the ticket to do the work, is the licensed gas fitter. Everyone else is only conjecture.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
I had a lengthy conversation with the installer. These questions of discussion are for me to better understand the situation and my own due diligence. Sometimes, you need to ask good questions to an installer and this is how I get to those good questions. Glad you are not my coach lol
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36265 posts
10486 upvotes
Ottawa
bowmah wrote: I had a lengthy conversation with the installer. These questions of discussion are for me to better understand the situation and my own due diligence. Sometimes, you need to ask good questions to an installer and this is how I get to those good questions. Glad you are not my coach lol
Sometimes you also need to understand what a licensed professional is. This is a person that has to sign a certificate insuring the work that he has done is to code and is safe for use. They tale responsibility and liability for the guidance and work they do. No opinion, just fact.
The coaching here is that you need to listen to someone that is a professional and not random opinions from the internet. If being guided towards proper process is bad coaching then you are mislead about coaching.
Due diligence is asking the right people questions. It is your house and your family's safety that it is to be done right.
But hey, go ahead and blame someone for telling you to do it right.
Jr. Member
Sep 21, 2004
125 posts
79 upvotes
North Vancouver, BC
The pipe size you need is based off of two primary things, one: length of pipe and second: the pressure at which the gas is being supplied. If one or the other is to small, you will not have sufficient pressure at the fixture to deliver the volume that you need (Small pressure and small pipe is to much resistance / friction and it will "slow" down the gas. One option you have is to have your gas supplier increase the pressure to your meter. If you do this you can get away with smaller pipe throughout your house. One thing that you have to consider with this is that your devices in the house will want 1/2 to 1/4 PSI (7"w.c.) or less. So you will need to put pressure regulators at branches or at the device to drop the pressure before you can use it.

I am putting in a new Dryer and two new fireplaces in my house. I need to run the line 100 feet +, I also have the hot water and furnace and stove on Natural Gas. All of this and I can get away with a 1/2" line. Fortis BC will come out and replace the gas pressure regulator at my house ahead of the meter to 2 PSI for free. I do all the work downstream from that.

I suggest a good starting point is to read the B149 gas code and just Google most of the other stuff. It's completely doable if you do your research as a home owner. For those on here that say "You should never do it yourself.. hire a professional".... all I can say to that is, the District out here will issue permits to homeowners that have done their research and can show general knowledge of what they are doing. They seem to think its safe enough and have policies in place to allow that. A pressure test is required on new piping and an inspection (by a professional with the City) is required to confirm you did it yourself. If it's done incorrectly (fittings to loose or not enough pipe dope) the pressure test will show.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 25, 2006
3678 posts
987 upvotes
Good info BouncyBall. Appreciate it!

We do have regulators currently and even the current installer says it was a good set up for all the outlets we have. Just this darn new tankless requires even more.

FortisBC has told me we are at 1.75 psi now. Is 2 the ceiling? Or can we higher? Just wondering what the normal ranges are. Thx.

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