Clogged gas line or a bigger problem

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Bradley Prais

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Sorry up front that this is long. I want to provide as much information as possible to get your feedback.

Short version: I have gas to my furnace and stove/oven, but none to my water heater.

Long version: Live in Central Texas, so went through the frozen rolling blackouts and 2 days of no water. At no time did I lose gas. Once water/power returned, flushed water heater due to brown hot water. No problem relighting 40 gal water heater. All gas systems were working fine, furnace, stove, pool heater, water heater. For last 3 weeks no problems until this Saturday morning. Water flowing from several placed on the water heater (in the garage). Shut off the water and gas then called for help. New heater installed and then we discovered there was no gas to the heater. Furnace and stove still work, with no problems and no noticeable loss of gas (i.e. burners look normal at specific settings). I can not confirm if the pool heater works, as it doesn’t ignite, but I’m not getting any lights from it (so it may be a different issue).

So for sure, no gas to the water heater. The guy that installed the new heater (Plumber #1) sniffed checked the line from valve to heater…no gas detected. Directly from the valve, ensured it was open visually…no gas smell. Removed the valve…no gas smell. Verified the gas to the house was on…yes. Even sniffed checked the hose to the furnace…gas there.

Plumer #1 called in plumber #2… who repeats actions of plumber 1.. said it is blocked and we have to bust walls and cut the lines. (imagine my wife’s reaction to busting walls).

Called another organization and out comes plumber #3. Repeat of #1 & 2. Said he needed to do a pressure test. Plumber #3 calls experienced plumber #4 who suggests blowing the gas lines with nitrogen to see if it clears a block. Plumber #3 calls supervisor plumber #5 who is thinking cut the line to find the block. (It was after hours and plumber #3 was not comfortable doing that at the time of the night).

A little about the house…built 2014 single story. Gas meter is tagged 5psi. Pipe enter the house, 90 degree straight up to the rafters. Looks to be a metal 2” line, but not sure of the size. I can follow to a small T connections that runs a small flex to the furnace. Pipe runs straight approx. 6’ to another T connection. The T stem appears to go to the kitchen. Pipe runs straight another 6’ to a T connection. This T stem is the same diameter and looks to be for the pool heater (gas line for pool run was part of the house construction, not an add on). At this point, as the gas line continues straight, to steps down in size from the 2” to maybe 1” or ¾”. This runs straight about 6’, then 90 degree bend down and runs to the just above the foundation. 90 degree to parallel the foundation for approx. 3’, then 90 degree right for 1’ then 90 degree up for 2’ then it comes out the wall for the water heater. So the water heater is at the end of the line.

Any idea what happened? I’m considering having the gas lines blown out before starting to open walls and cut pipes.

I’m open to suggestions or opinions. Thanks for taking the time to read it all.
 

Jeff H Young

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I've only had 2 or 3 similar experiences one had a line to an attic furnace that apparently the end had been dropped in mud and had about 6 inch mud plugged solid . the other and this may have happened more than once the ends on new pipe often have a cap over end and it got shoved in pipe. eventually the piece moves along pipe and stops at a fitting and turns flat shutting off flow. if it was mud it never would have had gas flow. I'd blow out the lines would not open walls at this point . I'd remove gas cock at water heater and blast from meter connection area. if nothing comes out I'd blow from water heater back toward meter
 

Plumber69

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Ive heard of the cap being stuck to. The very first thing to try is to remove all gas piping for hot water tank to the hot water tank gas valve. Then see if you have gas. If you do then inspect piping removed and inside gas valve. That should of been the first thing any of them done
 

Bradley Prais

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Line from the heater to the valve was checked and at one point, the valve removed... no gas.

Any chance that water from the failed water heater backed up into the gas line?
 

WorthFlorida

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You seem to know the route the gas line runs through the home. At the appliance before the WH is where you open the gas pipe to blow it out or use a vacuum cleaner. I would do it in both directions.
 

Jeff H Young

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Line from the heater to the valve was checked and at one point, the valve removed... no gas.

Any chance that water from the failed water heater backed up into the gas line?

I missed that.... This guy had a working water heater and had it replaced and now he has no gas . Bingo tell plumber to figure it out gas before he came no gas now splain that plumber number 1
 

Bradley Prais

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Update....:)
Short version...Water in the line
Long version:
The company that used plumbers #3-#5 sent out plumber #6 and a sidekick.
He obviously did not talk to #3-#5 so I got to explain everything once again. Bit of head scratching and verification that the pool heater had gas, he did the smart thing, called the boss for help, since he didn't have the equipment to blow out the lines.
Believe it or not, Plumber #5 shows up with plumber #7 (sidekick). 10 minutes of discussion and off to work they went.
Shut off gas, cut the line past the stepdown for the heater, installed a valve on the live end had #7 shoot nitrogen from the heater side and then we heard shouting and asking for a bucket. Blew out about 3/4 cup of dirty water. Blew it from the opposite end and another 1/2 cups came out (I measured).

High fives all around until they discovered they don't have all the parts and tools to put it back together. Calls made for parts, so they took a look at the water heater... more head scratching at a new inflow valve installed backwards (plumber #1), a 90 degree cast iron connected to the expansion tank copper (might have been bronze) line for the expansion tank (part of the original install) and no balloon in the original expansion tank. They switched those out and the gas parts arrive.

Who brings the parts..plumber #4!.

So everything put back together and everything works!
And for those asking.... using the term plumber for guy #1 is incorrect... should be "a guy". Lesson learned..used a licensed plumber! Then again it was a 3 week wait to get someone out.

Thanks for your inputs... I knew what to ask and what to look for.
 
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