Csst


  #1  
Old 12-26-03, 10:44 AM
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Csst

I don't know if this really belongs here or in the plumbing forum, but another post brought up the subject of Wardflex CSST gas plumbing so I thought I'd give it a shot. We've been living with this problem for at least a year so it's not an urgent matter, but a fix might score some wife points... Sorry this is going to be a little long, but I want to give the full history.

I have a house that was built 4 years ago with CSST throughout. The system uses a pressure regulator at the meter which sends gas to another regulator and distribution hub in the attic. At the time the house was built, our city required that a vent tube be installed on the attic regulator (there is a port for it...) to the outside to vent small amounts of gas that are released as the regulator does it's job. To make a very long story shorter, all the houses in our development have this set up and many of us began having problems with them after about 6 months. Problems ranged from pilots not staying lit to total gas shutdowns (no gas at any appliances). It was determined that the vent tubes were too small and were getting clogged, causing the regulators to malfunction. It was also determined that the venting was not necessary (only minute amounts of gas are ever released) and that other cities in the area were not requiring them. Our city has since dropped the requirement as well. Some of us had the tubes replaced (at builders expense and usually after a long fight) and some of us simply unhooked them. I wasn't having problems when everyone else was so I did nothing.

One morning after about 2 years, I got up to a cold shower and found that the water heater pilot had gone out. It may have been totally unrelated, but I knew about the problems everyone else was having, so I finally unhooked the vent tube. For a few weeks before the pilot outage we started having problems with the stove - It worked, but started taking several seconds after turning it on before there was any gas flow. Sometimes it was instant as it should be, but other times it was taking up to 20 seconds for the gas to start flowing. That may not seem like a long time, but when you're standing there listening to the clicking of the igniters, it's forever. It was the same on all burners and once one was on, the others would start instantly. I expected that the problem was related to the regulator and would go away once I unhooked the vent tube, but it never has. I have also been up in the attic a couple of times when the main furnace came on and failed to start due to lack of gas flow (according to diagnostic lights). Again, no major problem - it shuts down recycles and works fine the second time.

I suspect that although the regulator didn't malfunction as others did, it may have been damaged due to pressure build up over 2 years in the vent tube. There was a small pressure release when I finally took off the tube. Has any one had any experience with this type of system? Any thoughts about a fix? Any thoughts about who I can call to have the system looked at? I've tried plumbers, heating and A/C contractors and the builder. Plumbers say to call the appliance manufacturer (GE - the stove is the symptom not the problem...). Heating and A/C contractors say to call the plumber. Builder says to call the heating and A/C contractors.

Doug M.
 
  #2  
Old 12-26-03, 11:46 AM
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Hello: Doug

All if not much of the problem, as you described it, has to start with the gas supplier. Contact the gas company suppling the gas.

The reasoning is to determine who owns the step down regulator you are referring to that is in the attic. That part may or may not belong to the gas company. If it does, they must be contacted.

If that regulator belongs to the gas company, they have to insure sufficient gas pressure and volume is supplied to it from the meter set assembly outside.

They must check and insure the pressure and volume out of it, is correctly set and matched to the demand loads of all the appliances it supplies.

If the attic step down regulator is not gas company equipment, the service and or repair to it is than the responsibility of the individual home owner or complex owner, if the unit is part of a multiple unit complex.

The description you describe regarding the gas equipment, as I read and understand it to be or imply, is referred to in the gas industry as a pounds delivery system.

Which means the main piping to that attic regulator is or could be either a 2 or 5 pounds of delivery pressue system. Not something for the non professional to deal with. Contact the gas company.

Pertaining to the venting system. Same applies. Unless that regulator belongs to the house or complex. In this case, a pro is required, suggested and or recommended.

Since the codes changed, that does not or may not imply the new codes apply to prior construction. Check with the gas company, a licensed gas plumber and or the local building and or safety codes departments in you area. Contact all, if need be.

If I missed any specific points pertaining to gas equipment or generalized information you need, use the reply button and update me. Be glad to help more, if possible.

Regards & Good Luck. Sharp Advice.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-03, 01:14 PM
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Sharp Advice,
You didn't miss anything other than what I left out. I called the gas company when all this started and they sent me to the plumber. From neighbor's experiences, the attic regulator is ours, the meter regulator is the gas company's.

There are several hundred homes in our development and we have a communication forum similar to this one. We all have CSST, and my problem seems to be unique. There are several other people who have had unique problems, all of which usually end up being related to the attic regulator and most everyone who's had a problem has had to fight with builder, gas company, inspections, and/or plumbers to get it fixed. My problem isn't worth all that. I'd love a fix, but I'm not willing to pay much for it. I'm posting this more out of curiosity than anything, hoping that someone might have some CSST experience.

One last note: I used to be a fireman in our city and I know/knew the inspection department fairly well. I've had some long discussions with them regarding the entire CSST set up. I'm confident that removing the vent tube is not a code violation and would not be an issue for inspection. I'm also fairly confident that it is not a safety issue, but it would probably be more correct to say that I don't think it poses any more of a threat than the entire CSST system. 20 years ago we were confident that Federal Pacific breaker panels and Polybutylene plumbing were safe too. I'm reserving judgment.

Doug M.
 
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Old 12-26-03, 07:38 PM
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Hi: Doug

Suffice it to say, there can be many potential posibilities. Some of which can be temperature, regulator brand, model, loacation, installation method and vent length, to name a few.

I worked with several brands over the years and pioneered the horizontal installation method for the S2 compact regulator. Which was not inteneded to be installed horizontally.

Installing it in that fashion, it was discovered the vent needed to be extended but only so much or it effected the operation. Not to get into to many specific boring details, suffice it to say, long venting extensions effected the atmospheric pressure in the extension.

Vibrations and noises occured. As well as effecting the atmospheric pressure on top of the diaphragm, which in turn effected the control of gas volumn and pressure beneath the regulator, as gas demand increased and or decreased, etc.

If the type you have is a smaller version of what is a normal standard size regulator, it may be a compact S102 Fisher. That regulator is very good but has some special requirements for installation in order to operate correctly.

Another possible or potential problem is gas company district operating pressures and volumn capacities. All controlled by the gas companies delivery lines and systems.

None of which could be determined in a text only format nor a discussion forum like this one. Nor without being on site and having the tools of the trade.

Gas delivery pressure as well as volumn to that regulator is equally as critical. My assumption is the outside equipment is already an pound or inch delivery sustem, if there is still a need for an inside step down regulator.

Personally not dealt with either an inch or pounds gas delivery system which entered a non commerical structure. Not code here for residential units nor light industrial units or multiple dewelling complexes.

But this has been one of the very best in depth non appliance problem related topics posted in my forum topic in a very long time. I thank you for even bring up the subject. Helps me to keep my own mind & memory sharp within the details of the industry. Thanks.

For the benefit and a word of caution to all readers of this subject, be advised for your own safety and well being, always have a professional deal with all problems related to gas meter equipment, piping, delivery & or pressures systems.

Regards & Good Luck Doug
Tom...Sharp Adivce
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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 12-26-03 at 07:49 PM.
 

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