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Studio -- Show us your studio setup

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  #1  
Old 2005-10-18, 4:55pm
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Heather/Ericaceae Heather/Ericaceae is offline
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Default Share your Natural Gas Set-Up Stories!

Hello, everybody!

I'm on the hunt for an installer for a natural gas torch line, and I'd love to hear people's stories! What are the ranges of prices that people have been charged for installation? How far does your pipe go? What have the authorities in charge of permits demanded? Any horror stories, or recommendations? Funny stories? It's one of those situations that will be "new" to most pipefitters, so I bet there are lots of good stories out there. Bring them on!

-Heather in Winnipeg
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  #2  
Old 2005-10-18, 7:37pm
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Hi Heather!

Well, I can only tell you about my experience getting my NG line installed. I'm in the US so I don't know how it varies for Canada but I'm assuming it's relatively the same?

I got the gas company to do the installation. I figured this was the best way to cover my butt! They came to give me an estimate on the work first and then I scheduled the actual installation after that. It cost me about $250 to get the whole thing done. This included an inspection by the city inspector to ok the final work. From what I remember the cost pretty much broke down into labor and cost of materials - pipe by the foot and misc. parts like shutoff valve. The pipe was pretty expensive because it was the black solid metal stuff not the bendy pipe stuff. But, I didn't have far to go...maybe only 6-8 feet from the main gas line to the garage where I wanted the shutoff valve to be located.

It was pretty uneventful....a pretty normal gas line installation. The guy was pretty interested in what I was doing but had done one before for another lampworker so it was somewhat familiar.

If I could offer any advice I'd say....don't go with the cheapest option. If you can get you gas co. people to do it for you all the better...after all...who knows your gas lines best, right? And, make sure you get it inspected. If someone official signs off on the install at least your covered in case anything goes wrong. Try not to take shortcuts....it's just not worth it.

Cheers and good luck!

-Yee
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  #3  
Old 2005-10-19, 6:08am
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I called our gas company too, told them what I wanted, they basically weren't interested in coming out and said I should have a plumber do it.
So, luckily, I found out about a man that is our plumber here at work that does side jobs in people's homes for a little extra cash. He came out and dropped a line off of our main gas line in the attic . . . my "studio" is a spare bedroom on the 2nd floor, so he didn't have to go that far. The pipe/shutoff valve was the easy part, but it was a bit of a chore to find the right fitting to get the red hose to connect to the shutoff valve.
The whole process probably took the good part of a day and cost me $350 for everything.
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  #4  
Old 2005-10-19, 7:51am
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Thanks for the stories so far! I've been a little nervous because the only pipefitter I managed to reach directly yesterday said he wouldn't touch the project because the torch isn't CSA rated... (A safety rating from the Canadian Standards Association). Then I reached the only other couple in Winnipeg who has connected a gas line and the husband explained that glass torches never really get safety ratings because they're not in a category that's covered by the ratings system. Apparently the chief permit inspector knows about torches and should have no trouble approving an appropriate set-up, but no-one below her really knows what lampworking is all about. When I called the same pipefitter the other Winnipeg couple used, he quoted me $400CAD, which I guess is about right based on what other people have been charged. It's always tricky entering new territory - you don't want to be ripped off! Thanks for sharing your encouraging stories. I hope more people add to the thread over time!

-Heather
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  #5  
Old 2005-10-19, 9:48am
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Well, we did it the Do-it-yourself way. Hubby is an electrician by trade. He's also VERY handy. He's done all the remodeling on the house, including plumbing, running gas lines, etc. So it wasn't a "Big Deal" for him.

And I learned how to turn the gas service off to the house, should it ever be necessary. Yihaa!
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  #6  
Old 2005-10-21, 11:05pm
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Hey Heather!

I had a gas fitter come in and run a line from my furnace over into the next room over, which is my studio. I got him to put in a shut off near the furnace and one above where the hose comes out. We hooked up the hose to the Minor and he tested all the connections. All went well, hooked up the oxy con, and after a year I finally have a minor running. This happened yesterday! He charged about $300 altogether.

Initially I had a hard time getting anyone to come out, and he had no idea what I was talking about but was game. The connection between the fuel hose and the wall fitting was the biggest issue but he found something to fit.

Good luck,
Janine in Vancouver
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  #7  
Old 2005-10-24, 4:12pm
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Well, I didn't have the gas company or a plumber. I originally tried to setup propane and wanted someone to run the pipes and couldn't find anyone. Then my boyfriend of 12 years decided to do it. Well all of a sudden I realized I could use natural gas and had most of the pipes already in place. Peter (boyfriend) ran 1 pipe to my workspace and I was all set. Peter actually had the pipe. It didn't cost my anything. I got lucky on that one. I have two shut off values, I make sure they are both shut off when I leave and most of the time I check them twice.

Good luck. You will be so excited when everything is done.
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  #8  
Old 2005-10-25, 8:53am
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Congratulations on your new set-up, Janine! That must be exciting. Terry and Barbara, that's so cool that you were able to do the work yourself! I don't have any experience with pipefitting, and in Winnipeg you're not allowed to touch a gas line without a license anyway. The new installment of my studio saga is that my Solaris 505 oxycon arrived last week and my Piranha arrived yesterday, so that gas line is definitely the next step, although I am SO broke now...

Talking to various gas fitters here, I've learned that $200 of my $400 charge will be to cover a "Special Appliance Permit" from the city because lampwork torches aren't covered by any normal standards. And everyone tells me that I should just go with the *one* local pipefitter who has ever done this before. So much for shopping around, but at least now I know that I'm not just paying inexplicably high labour costs... I'll HAVE to use B-fittings on the torch (check! - special order from Bethlehem) and heavy-duty black hose instead of the green and red T-rated hose... Sounds like Winnipeg is one of the more annoying places to do this. I guess I was kind of hoping for more Tales of Frustration so that I'd feel better. Oh well, I'm getting there and the new torch sure is shiny!!!! I just hope that everything works after all this... -Heather
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  #9  
Old 2005-10-31, 10:45am
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I am so jealous!! I had a few plumbers come out. The gas line is running right over where I needed it to come down, so it would have been so simple. BUT...I guess where I live the city is very strict about this kind of thing, and it would have cost me a small fortune for the testing of my existing natural gas system before the plumber could even start. Then, if they found any problems I would have had to pay even more money. It was well over $1,000. This was consistent with 3 plumbers. I also had a few who would do it for $300 without going through the city permits, but I didn't want to get into any trouble if I had any problems. I just ran a line through the wall, and I'm still using propane for now. It was cheap and fast and safe. I may look into this some more at a later date. I had heard talk of a new torch that runs well on low pressure.
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  #10  
Old 2005-11-01, 8:50am
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Wow - that is a Tale of Frustration for sure! And here I thought my city was being unreasonable charging $100 more than average... What would they be testing for?? Shouldn't the gas supplier already have all the information about your gas line? It sounds very strange to me, but sometimes municipalities make strange rules, I guess! I think you made a smart decision not paying $1000 for an NG line, and I think you were very wise to refuse to get it set up without a permit!! Your properly installed propane line sounds like a fabulous choice for your location and situation. Let us know if you unveil any more of the NG mystery! Cheers, Heather
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  #11  
Old 2005-11-02, 6:24am
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I, too, am just setting up a minor burner using natural gas as the fuel of choice. Do any of you know what the psi or "water column" of your existing gas line was before you set up your new line? Thanks for any info!
Jan
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  #12  
Old 2005-11-02, 12:38pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather/Ericaceae
Wow - that is a Tale of Frustration for sure! And here I thought my city was being unreasonable charging $100 more than average... What would they be testing for?? Shouldn't the gas supplier already have all the information about your gas line? It sounds very strange to me, but sometimes municipalities make strange rules, I guess! I think you made a smart decision not paying $1000 for an NG line, and I think you were very wise to refuse to get it set up without a permit!! Your properly installed propane line sounds like a fabulous choice for your location and situation. Let us know if you unveil any more of the NG mystery! Cheers, Heather
I think the testing had to do with detecting any leaks. They had to inspect and test our entire system. I kind of stopped listening to what they were saying after I heard the amount. His lips were moving, but all I heard was TOO MUCH MONEY, TOO MUCH MONEY!!!
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Old 2005-11-02, 2:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glasswinder
I, too, am just setting up a minor burner using natural gas as the fuel of choice. Do any of you know what the psi or "water column" of your existing gas line was before you set up your new line? Thanks for any info!
Jan
I just called my gas supplier (which in Manitoba is provincially owned). They don't do any physical pipefitting, but they do know everything about all their customers' gas service. They were able to look up my address and tell me right away that I have 1/4 psi pressure. Very handy! There might also be a way to tell by looking at the numbers on your meter, but I'd just call your supplier and ask.

-Heather
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  #14  
Old 2005-11-03, 7:51am
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I also found that my incoming gas line pressure was 1/4 psi. My local gas company provided me with the info. Nice to know...thanks for responding.
Jan
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  #15  
Old 2005-11-14, 11:59am
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New installment for me: I finally got the gas guy out to my house, and showed him the Piranha torch, the Oxycon and the information on max BTUs, etc. Installing the line will be really simple. However, the permit might not be so simple. The Piranha's maximum BTUs were calculated by Jerry at Bethlehem to be about 7000 per hour. At 1/4 psi NG pressure I'll only be capable of producing a fraction of that, but apparently the permit people only look at the maximum so the gasfitter is worried that they won't approve it. He's also concerned because the Piranha's designed to run at 3-5psi for peak performance and that's above the Winnipeg residential maximum of 2 psi. Nevermind that I will only be actually USING the city NG pressure of 1/4 psi... It's frustrating because I know that a Nortel Minor did get approval... because they didn't actually have data on the max BTUs or pressure. A Piranha runs in the same pressure range and is said to be slightly more efficient, but I doubt there's that big of a difference in BTUs from a Minor. I've been doing research for this since early spring... now it might be backfiring on me. Gasfitter guy says I can always set up a propane system and avoid the whole permit debacle, which is true... but I would rather go with the safer gas and it's heartbreaking that after all my preparation, I might be blocked from accessing a safer option because of narrowly-defined "safety rules". We'll see how it goes.

-Heather
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  #16  
Old 2005-11-17, 8:56pm
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I paid $895 a month ago. And that was WITHOUT the official blessing of our local (money grubbing) town officials. I found a plumber who gave me the quote with and without permitting, telling me the actual work was going to be the same regardless of the paperwork. Screw the paperwork! Our Town wanted full before and after mechanicals but couldn't/wouldn't give me access to the original builder's plans (which would've answered most of their questions, DOH!).

The plumber shut down the gas lines (stove, water heater and air handler/heat pump), connected the new line, then pressurized the system. They found a leak, fixed it (a connection out of the air handler), did a second test and said it was good. I'm VERY happy with what I got, and saved $250 in permitting. Go figure, I trust the plumber more than I trust a Town Official. LOL

What makes me sad is, back in PA I did basically the same procedure, only about 1 foot shorter run, for $225. Of course, it's been 5 years and a cross-country move but sheesh!

Thankfully it was something that we HAD budgeted for with our initial moving costs.
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Old 2005-11-23, 3:02am
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I paid $125. Here in Ohio, the gas company doesn't do it themselves: You have to get an approved plumber. My run was VERY short, as the gas line comes into the house right where my studio is.

My incoming pressure is .20 so I use a gas booster, which I love.
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Old 2005-11-23, 6:51am
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My dad works for the local gas company, so he installed another regulator on my gas meter that allows 2 psi for my torch (as opposed to running a gas line off of the existing 1/4 psi of house pressure), installed another shut-off valve at the new regulator, as well as at the end of the pipe he ran into the studio (which was only about 5' from the meter). Luckily, mine was free (Thanks Dad!) and I don't need a gas booster.

Good luck finding someone to set yours up. It's so much more convenient (and safer in my opinion) than propane - I love it!

Sherri
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Old 2005-11-30, 7:32am
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We couldn't find anyone remotley interested in installing it for us. The gas company said to do it ourselves. DH is very handy but he was a little nervous on this one. The totally crappy thing is that some of the stuff he would have liked to use you can only get from a plumbing supply store not lowes or HD. Unfortunately to buy these products you have to be a licensed plumber!!!!! Annoyed? Yes! So we just used the black pipe from lowes that is rated for NG lines. All in all it took 2 days and I haven't hooked anything up to it yet since the rest of the studio isn't done. If you do it yourself one thing DH did was put a ballcock at the joint he was extending from so that once he got that on we could use the ballcock to turn off the gas supply to that specific new line we were installing. That way we could turn the gas back on to feed the water heater and the furnace. When he did this he also plugged the ballcock end and laid the rest of the pipe first then hooked it to that joint last. He turned off that gas again for the short time he hooked up the new line to the new joint he created. Hope that makes sense if you decide to do it on your own.
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Old 2005-11-30, 9:33am
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My gas line is installed! The inspector hasn't come yet, but both fingers crossed!

I did get a pro to run the lines... the only one in Winnipeg who has ever done a similar installation before. He and his apprentice did a good, neat, tight job. The lines are out of the way and he installed two shut-off valves. Neither have handles so they need vice grips to operate - I'll keep one attached while I'm working so I can shut it off at a moment's notice, and when it's off it won't have a handle so no-one can just flick it open on a whim. The final valve can be padlocked closed, as well. The gas installer says that by locking it as he's leaving and giving me the key, he's giving me responsibility over the line. A hot-water tank has a safety feature that turns off the gas if the flame goes out... but a glass torch doesn't. So if, heaven forefend, I ever pass out or drop dead with the gas running, it just won't stop. Scary thought! Not unique to NG, though, and also, luckily, not too likely to happen. Makes me consider not torching while alone in the house, though. A thought for another thread?

The gas guy also checked my air flow to see whether my 400CFM fan was causing exhaust spillage from my nearby gas water heater (he was really happy to do this as it gave him an excuse to smoke in my house). He said it looked like it was, a little, so I'll definitely be installing my make-up air vent!! I'm going to start a separate thread about that.

The permit guy should be coming sometime in the next few weeks, and from conversations the guys guy's had with him everything should be okay. Hopefully the gas installer won't be DRUNK for *that* apointment - I didn't notice at first that he and his apprentice both were last night but my partner called it after they left, and in retrospect I agree. Kind of scary since it was just me in the house when they arrived... but they did a good and thorough job, at least. All in all, I'm glad it's over. I still need to get an O2 hose (I thought he was bringing it, he thought I was...) but I should be up and melting glass very soon!

-Heather

Last edited by Heather/Ericaceae; 2005-11-30 at 9:41am.
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  #21  
Old 2005-12-16, 12:06pm
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Hi everybody - my final NG update is that I'm approved! The line got put in over 2 weeks ago and the inspector just left. Here's what we needed in Manitoba:

A CSA approved PADLOCKABLE on/off valve on the black pipe. We actually have a second on/off valve on the line, so if we ever close down our studio it'll be *really* off. Neither have handles so we use C-wrenches to open and close them - we leave the wrenches on when we're working and take them off when they're closed. All new NG pipes were labelled as such and securely fastened to the joists.

A CSA-approved black gas hose. Apparently the normal red ones won't do the trick in Manitoba.

All hoses needed to be attached with b-fittings. No barb and hoseclamps allowed. We knew this in advance and had Bethlehem set up our torch that way when we ordered it.

The torch itself is not CSA approved - I don't think any lampworking torches are. We were able to get around this by calculating that at 1/4lb pressure, the torch won't be producing more than 1000 BTUs, so it was exempt.

All combustible materials muct be at least 6" away from sources of heat. My torch was positioned correctly and I explained that my eventual plan is to re-insulate and cover all surfaces with sheetrock. They liked that the torch would be bolted down.

I didn't need combustion air for my torch, but they were happy with the exhaust and the make-up air. (Though I'm still working on baffles and stuff). They suggested a CO detector (check - just need to install it) by the sleeping area and another in the work area.

The tested for leaks three ways - pressure test, bubble solution test (on installation) and with an electronic gas detector device (inspector). The inspector was curious about the glass and actually asked for a quick demo!

So that's that! And it actually cost less than I'd been expecting. I'll post pictures on Saturday when the baffles look less embarassing.

Hope this helps other Manitobans make studios in the future! Cheers - Heather

(and the roofers dropped off shingles today, too, so maybe we'll have a non-leaking roof and be able to insulate the attic before spring!!!!!)

Last edited by Heather/Ericaceae; 2005-12-16 at 12:09pm.
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