Question from the newspaper


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Old 11-07-09, 10:47 AM
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Question from the newspaper

This was posted in letters section in the local newspaper in an article about fuel prices this winter....any comment?

"Have you ever noticed how in the winter the flame from burning gas is more orange color which means more air in the line. More air means you need to run the gas longer to get the same amount of heat from the flame. Curious as to what would cause this as no adjustments have been made on the gas appliance."

Thx
 
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Old 11-07-09, 11:27 AM
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The answer is that no, in my twenty years of doing repairs on natural gas equipment I've never noticed that.

Furthermore, orange flames are typically caused by dust entrained in the combustion air, and is not associated with an excess amount of air in the gasses to be burned.

So his interpretation of what he is observing is just wrong.
 
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Old 11-07-09, 11:55 AM
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Thx Will..thats kind of what I replied. A certain amount of burning gas..gives a specific amount of BTU output as long as it is burning correctly..at least thats what I always was told.

Any idea why winter (such as it is here) would cause the orange flame? Pipes shrinking and flaking internal rust maybe?
 
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Old 11-09-09, 07:46 AM
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I know a lot of old-timers have said natural gas is "diluted down" in the winter time by the gas companies. I remember my dad saying this in response to why the furnace seemed to be running longer and the house "felt colder" in the dead of winter. As a former natural gas engineer myself, I can say that the gas you receive has the same BTU's per cubic foot, summer or winter. We are constrained by the state regulatory agency to deliver gas within a specific BTU/MCF range. Mainline pressures likely change between summer and winter usage, but by the time the natural gas goes through your house service regulator, those main line changes are reduced and evened out and your home service pressure should remain constant, regardless of the mainline transmission and distribution pressures.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 09:10 AM
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Beachboy has it right on!


The gas utility I worked fror, and no doubt all the rest as well, constantly tested the BTU value of gas purchased from the pipeline. And that did vary over time from a low of about 995 BTUs/cubic foot to a maximum of about 1015 BTUs/cubic foot at a standard temperature and pressure.

And those variations didn't necessarily bottom out in the winter time either, it was a matter of where the gas was coming from and other such factors. It's NATURAL gas!

During very cold periods, the utility had "peak shaving" stations where propane gas could be added to the gas supply purchased minute to minute from the pipeline.

These were actually kind of interesting. They were large underground propane storage tanks that would take, oh, a thousand truckloads of propane to fill completely. During a cold snap where the peak shaving station was operating at maximum capacity, it could empty those tanks in three to four days of operation.

Propane is stored as a liquid, so converting the liquid propane to a gas involved heating it with the use of large hot water boilers, then adding it to the pipeline gas supply that was inadequate to maintain gas pressure during periods of peak demand.

That actually INCREASED the BTU value of the gas supplied during the coldest part of the winter when such peak shaving might be needed!
 
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Old 11-09-09, 09:25 AM
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Hmmm interesting about the propane....so would that have any effect on the color of the flame? Not that I've really noticed it myself, though I will be looking closer.

As I said...this was a question asked by someone in our local paper. I directed them here, but it made me curious.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45
so would that have any effect on the color of the flame?


No.

This is either a figment of someone's imagination or equipment in a location with contaminated combustion air or burners that need cleaning.

At least that's my experience. I suppose there could be a place somewhere with very low quality gas that might cause problems, but I've never heard of such a place.




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Old 11-09-09, 09:55 AM
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Now days people seal their homes like submarines about to dive. Maybe it isn't altered gas but lowered oxygen content in the air. Maybe one persons orange is another persons yellow.
 
 

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