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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Tracking Down a Mystery Gas Leak

comments (1) November 28th, 2011 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Kevin Hilton is one unhappy homeowner. He lives in a house only one year old so plagued with air leaks that he went ahead with an energy audit to help track them down. In the process he discovers another problem: an apparent natural gas leak that shows up when the house is depressurized during a blower door test.

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Turn the blower door test equipment off, and the leak is undetectable, he writes in a post at the Q&A forum at GreenBuildingAdvisor. The plumber who put the gas lines in can't find the source of the problem, and now Hilton isn't sure what to do.

Hilton gets several suggestions for tracing the source of the leak. He also gets an alternative theory about where the gas is coming from, along with a strategy for testing it that involves nothing more than a few bottles of peppermint extract from the grocery store.

Hilton's unusual problem is the topic for this week's Q&A Spotlight.

Read the whole article at Green Building Advisor

posted in: Blogs, gas leak
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Comments (1)

Saiken Saiken writes: Had a situation where the gas line in an old building had been compromised by fire. We tested the line under pressure and the gauge doped away over night. Test as we might no leak could be found. We started with the old standby of soapy water, to no avail. We had an individual in from the local gas company do a test with his electronic sensor, no luck. There was no issue when the line wasn't under pressure but as soon as we increased the line pressure it would drop back down to close to 0 psi. The call from the local authorities was for the line to be repaired. We took apart the fittings and reconnected them with teflon tape and pipe dope. There was a 35' section of flex line that we removed and replaced with new material. After all this the line held its integrity under pressure. Gas makes me a little nervous. In the situation that I came across it could be argued that the requirement for the line to hold 15 psi is a little excessive given that the gas in the line post meter would barely get above 1 psi. I expressed this to my plumber who pointed to the 40' section of our gas line that ran up the wall on the exterior and across the roof to the heating unit. He said that he had seen gas lines achieve 7psi when closed, solely due to the black iron line heating up in the sun.
Posted: 1:40 pm on December 5th

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