In many homes, natural gas provides heat. The other option is electricity, and while they both serve as fuel for running appliances, the one more frequently used is electricity. But natural gas is also widely used.
Natural gas is efficient and fast; however, it can quickly become problematic when you do not take specific measures. Since you cannot avoid certain risks, safety measures are there to help you avoid costly mistakes.
So what is the pressure of natural gas in a home?
Natural gas in homes has a pressure of 1/4lb per square inch or 25 PSI if you will. Anything above this pressure, especially if it is incredibly high, should be considered an emergency.
Natural gas is usually distributed across lines to various operators at much higher pressures. Usually, an operator connects from a well/ field and then sends it to different homes in his region or area. In the process of distribution to the final consumer, the pressure is reduced.
What Is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is the product of the compression of organic materials underneath the earth’s surface. It forms when these materials sediment and form minerals, coal, and rock.
It belongs to the hydrocarbon family and comprises different compounds, the most prominent being methane. Other constituents are water vapor and carbon dioxide.
Natural gas was extracted from the refining of crude oil alone in the past. But presently, it can be detected underground. Fossil fuel is usually found in huge cracks of rocks underground.
When this gas is processed, you can use it for domestic and industrial purposes. It could be distributed through pipelines or stored in natural gas tanks as compressed or liquefied natural gas.
How Is Natural Gas Distributed?
Before natural gas gets to your home, it has to be processed. After this processing, it is delivered to operators and consumers. But how does it work?
In the United States, there is a system of pipelines for natural gas distribution. There are numerous storage facilities as well. The operators get their supply directly from these pipelines according to the state and across states.
Natural gas is distributed in small volumes from the local stations at lower pressures to the end consumers. The gas stations control the speed and pressure at which gas travels.
The pressure reduces as the pipes reduce in size, and this is how its pressure drops to 1/4 PSI when it reaches your home.
The compressed gas that gets to your home is infused with mercaptan, a chemical that smells like rotten eggs. The smell helps you handle the gas cautiously and to detect leaks at any pressure or level.
Gas Leak And Causes
Gas leaks can happen by accident and damage your home’s pipe system while posing health risks to the inhabitants of your home as well. Hence, it is essential to know what can cause a gas leak and how to handle it.
Major cause of gas leaks is the poor fitting of household appliances. Appliances such as stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces are connected to the gas pipe system and held in place with seals. If the seals corrode or wear, it results in a leak.
Faulty Pipe Systems:
When the pressure of the gas being delivered to your home is abnormally high, it could be too much for the hose/pipe and may lead to a leak.
Sometimes, the fault in the pipe system could be created by corrosion which causes a disconnection. This is a common problem older homes have.
Carelessness on the part of the homeowner is another contributory factor in possible gas leaks. If you are negligent of minor changes in the state of your appliances, faults and leaks may go unnoticed.
Statistics show that many fire incidents in the US result from cooking, smoking, and other causes. Many of these explosions can be attributed to some form of carelessness.
Safety Measures To Prevent A Gas Leak
As you probably know already, natural gas is flammable. A gas leak can be detrimental to your health and that of your family. To avoid that, here are some preventive measures to put in place.
Inspect the state of your appliances often:
Regular inspection of your appliances will save you a lot of problems and bring possible complications to light. Machines wear with time and are prone to faults and leaks in various parts.
Ensure that your heat-producing appliances are in good working condition and are correctly connected to the gas lines. If you notice any fault, it’s best to contact a professional to fix it or install a new one entirely.
Be vigilant in the house:
It is crucial to keep an eye on the goings-on in your home so that you can detect any awry situation, such as a gas leak. Try to check the different rooms where there are appliances to see if there are smells.
Natural gas is infused with mercaptan, which makes it smell like rotten eggs. If you notice any smell, check your gas hoses and appliances before you check the bins.
You can use a carbon monoxide detector to check for abnormally high levels of the gas.
Monitor your gas pipelines:
If you live in a new home, you may have to contact experts to run checks on the gas lines running to your home, especially if you notice an abnormality in your gas pressure.
Get experts to provide you with a report on your appliances to know if they’re still in perfect working condition.
Ensure your house is well ventilated:
If there is a gas leak and the house has poor ventilation, it could cause serious harm to any child in the home or even an adult who is unaware. Hence, proper ventilation is paramount.
In areas where your gas-using appliances are situated, ensure air circulates well and that too many things do not clutter the place.
No Smoking Indoors:
Even if you want to smoke in private, it is best to do it in a secluded area at the back of the house. It is only safe to do this to avoid any mistakes like cigarettes causing a fire outbreak.
If a gas leak has gone undetected and a lighter or match is lit, it may cause a fire outbreak. Therefore, you should consider implementing a” no smoking indoors” policy.
Keep Lighters away from Children:
You see the “Keep out of the reach of children” inscription on a lot of products. The warning reminds consumers that children do not know how to use most products correctly and endanger themselves.
You should keep lighters and matches far away from the reach of children because they may want to play with them. Indeed, they are in danger of burns or other significant fire hazards if they are left to do so.
Get Experts for your repairs and Installations:
Do not attempt to be the hero if you notice any malfunction with your appliances. It is best to hire trained experts to repair them or install new ones if need be.
The cost of hiring a professional is a lot less than the cost of covering losses if a gas leak goes wrong.
How To Check The Gas Pressure In Your Home
To know if the gas pressure in your home is what it is meant to be, take the following steps.
- Check the pressure you have and compare it to the standard gas pressure for homes. You can contact your gas service provider to find out the standard. Most times, change in gas pressures can be traced to the gas company.
- If your service provider says everything is fine on their end, recheck your appliances. Ensure that there aren’t too many using natural gas at once.
Tip: If there are too many appliances using natural gas simultaneously, the pressure could drop. Therefore, the best course of action is to turn off any machine that isn’t in use.
Natural gas is a necessary fossil fuel today. Its efficiency and ease of use make it somewhat indispensable. However, anyone using it should handle it with care as it can pose significant threats to anyone using it.
The standard pressure of natural gas in homes should be 1/4 PSI. Anything below this could reduce the functionality of your appliances. If it’s more, it could cause the pipes to leak.
Prevention is always better than fixing problems. Hence, it’s wiser to take preventive measures to avoid gas leaks.
Gas leaks can be caused by carelessness, faulty pipe systems, and household appliances that are not correctly fitted. You can check for gas leaks by either using a carbon dioxide detector to check for the smell of rotten eggs or other methods.
Keep your home safe by enlisting the help of a professional when necessary. Check your home today and implement the measures listed in this article.