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Can gas pressure problems hurt your furnace?
Old 02-16-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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Can gas pressure problems hurt your furnace?

We woke up to a cold house last Sunday. Our furnace showed, furnace malfunction, call for repair. He came out and told us that our gas regulator valve was stuck (he tried to get it unstuck by hitting it with a hammer) and he would have to order a new one. Before he left, he said that he had another call just down our street. Long story short, I talked to 2 other neighbors, that had to get new gas regulator valves for their furnaces. Another person, who has hot water baseboard heat, was told her valve was plugged, and they would order her a new valve. Another neighbor had the repair person at their house and I don't know what he was told. He told me that they could not even keep their gas fireplace going the day before. We saw repair trucks at a few other houses on our street. I called our gas company as did a couple of other people and they came out. He told us that our pressure was fine, but told the house across from ours that their pressure was low. I have a feeling that if he had come on Sunday, our side would have been low also.

Our bill for the 2 visits to get our furnace repaired was over $487.00. Our furnace is 5 1/2 years old. We had them come to do cleaning and furnace inspection 11/27/13, so that we would not have any problems during the winter, and that cost $181.79. I don't think that I will have the routine inspections done anymore.

Just wondering if the gas pressure caused our furnace to malfunction and if so, do we have any recourse against the gas company? Also, if this were to happen again, should we call the gas company to come first, to see if it is a problem with them?
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:50 PM   #2
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If your gas company has an ombudsman position, you might want to contact that person. Sounds like maybe contaminated/dirty gas if the folks across the street are still having problems. Don't take my word for it though. I'm no expert.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:50 PM   #3
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Just curious as to where you live and what was the outside temp. when you experienced the problem. Your furnace may have a safety interlock to shutdown on low incoming gas pressure. If everyone else was experiencing the same problem at the same time, it was probably the gas company. If that is the case just tell the gas company you have hired a lawyer and he will be filing a motion for discovery to get the gas pressure recordings on the day(s) in question and I'd be willing to bet the gas company may be giving you a break.

Gas regulators, seldom fail or malfunction unless they are very old.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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We live in WV and I believe that it was in the single digits or possibly the teens. It was cold.

The furnace in the house across the street was put in their house in 2013.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:30 PM   #5
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If I were a betting man, I would bet the incoming gas pressure went so low as to cause your furnace to shutdown. FWIW, I worked in refineries and chemical plants for over 32 years and regulator failures are rare but do happen, to have a number of them fail at the same time is very unusual and suspect. Just my two cents.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:48 PM   #6
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I'm not familiar with what happens with low pressure, or just how much regulating there is within the gas valve itself (NG pressures are normally very low, ~ 1/2 PSI). But it sure sounds suspicious that all these calls were placed so close together, I'd certainly question the NG source.

I think I'd first gather a bit of data from neighbors, then call the Gas Co. If they don't bend over BW to help you, I'd collect a lot of data, and get/threaten a lawyer - or may just a call to your local 'problem-solver' media person.

A few years ago in Chicago, a couple city blocks had the pressure regulator to the whole area go bad, and every home was hit with NG at something like 100 PSI !

People said if their stove-top was on, they had flames shooting out like a jet engine! Scary stuff. Be glad it was low pressure, not high!

-ERD50
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:59 AM   #7
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Yikes, I would not want that problem. I guess that I need to call the neighbors back and see what they think we should do.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frayne View Post
If I were a betting man, I would bet the incoming gas pressure went so low as to cause your furnace to shutdown. FWIW, I worked in refineries and chemical plants for over 32 years and regulator failures are rare but do happen, to have a number of them fail at the same time is very unusual and suspect. Just my two cents.
I had this problem. Whenever it got really cold my pilot would go out. Five or six times over a few years. Had a big argument with my furnace guy over it and I maintained that the gas pressure was going low due to demand and the pilot didn't have enough pressure at those times.

I finally just goosed the pilot flame myself and it never was a problem again.
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