Double / Triple Security Measures running Gas Outdoors

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by chefwong, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Maybe I'm overthinking this, but short of a shutoff valve indoors, what other security measures should I take into account if I was to have a gas pipe leadoff on the exterior of my home ?


    After Sandy, I plan to have natural gas as a fuel source for the generator.
    My neighbor has this for this grill already.

    I'm the latter and the thought of a *gas source* accessible is quite a thing.
    On the exterior, I am thiking a short stub with a ball valved (keyed/hole for padlock type) and then the quick disconnect right off that fitting.

    Any other safety precautions on the whole gasoline - exterior to be keen on
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    The Gas feed connection for the generator should come off of the gas meter, and not from inside the house.
  3. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    The Gas Meter is actually inside my house.
    The boiler room is my basement. That has a 1" or so + pipe there. That is where I was planning to have the plumber tap and then extend out.
  4. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Our generator just sits on a pad in a spot in the back that meets the requirements of the various applicable codes and the gas line to it and quarter-turn shutoff are right there next to the generator. It's all exposed and I suppose anyone could come by and tamper with it. But that's how most locations are. Drive behind any shopping center and the gas piping is all right there, sometimes with taps installed so that a trailer-mounted generator can be towed up and attached. (A lot of Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies appear to be designed to be trailer-generator-ready. That's why so many Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies were open right after the hurricane on Long Island blacked out the whole area. Near us, for days upon days, you would drive up the pitch-black main street with no streetlights or traffic lights working, past pitch-black shopping centers, and then you would come upon a Walgreens in the middle of this nothingness lit up bright as day, with everything working inside, as if nothing had happened. Good pharmacy chains take disaster recovery seriously, because people need their medicines. And then they also become suppliers of essentials, like this one did, with cold milk and frozen items readily-available, because they had brought a trailer generator of sufficient size to power the store at its normal electrical service level.)

    A friend of mine owns a hardware store. He has a 12kw Onan generator outside his store. He has built around it and the gas piping a very-attractive black wrought-iron cage, anchored into the concrete, that is locked and can be opened. It deters any tampering while still looking nice and not interfering with the operation of the generator, as there is probably 12" or more distance between the generator enclosure itself and this wrought-iron cage.

    I'm thinking that you may be required by code to have more fittings than you imagine at the generator location. There is a way to do it right and I'm not sure that you want to be reinventing the wheel on this. For example, most generators run a thick, flexible, not-quick-disconnect hose from the galvanized piping gas line to the generator, to absorb vibration, but it's a "permanent" hose (until you replace it, of course).
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Chef Wong, you have been around this forum for a long time. Surely you have noted that dealing with gas piping and related gas work is not something a DIY should be doing. Screw up a water line or drain and you have a problem, but screw up a gas installation and you could end up with a very large BOOM. My advice is hire a plumber licensed for gas work.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2012
  6. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    It's not the fittings I'm worried about.
    I'm just not a fan of having a easily combustible source - accessible- .
    Even knowing I can control it with a shutoff inside, it's still not comfortable enough for my comfort factor.

    I dunno. Maybe I'm thinking-reading into this way too much to say Yes to the thought of it.
  7. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Messages:
    408
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    You might think about one of those square keyed fireplace-style shut-offs. At least then, someone would actually have to work at turning on the gas. If you are really paranoid, put the valve behind a small locked hasp or something.

    I would not bury the quick disconnect...
  8. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Why not just cap the line until your ready to hookup the generator.

    John
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,334
    Location:
    New England
    THere are some special flow detection shutoff valves for gas that close the line should it be broken or someone takes the hose off - it detects the high flow and shuts the gas flow off. No idea how well they work or if they might have nuisance shutoffs, but it might be something to look into.
  10. Hammerlane

    Hammerlane Member

    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Ohio
    Have a shutoff inside the house and then one outside....put a locking shutoff on the outside if you are worried. WHat is the issue? Are you concerned that someone will try stealing the natural gas or that someone may turn the valve on and the the gas flow without you knowing??

    Attached Files:

  11. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    People do crazy things. And I'm concerned about things going BOOM on someone trying to steal it....
    Whether it be during a circumstance like Sandy or just everyday normal looting/theft. Stuff happens.
    I don't need no idiot trying to fumble and attempt a theft, and me have a unsuspecting leak due to it, etc, etc.

    A perfect example would be my car. I had my track rat torn up to pieces as I was working on it so I had the other bay littered with parts.
    Park the daily driver on the street. Lo and behold, a couple days later, I noticed the trim below my headlight was looking a little *tweaked*. Inspect closer and I see scratches. I wash my cars religiously so I know every inch of things. Someone had attempted to steal my headlights.

    So yes, in a perfect world, no on would tamper with it. Just short of me building this hideous *steel/iron* box to house it.....just looking for ideas on how to at least put some measures in place.
  12. Hammerlane

    Hammerlane Member

    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Ohio
    Place a shutoff valve in the house and leave the valve closed unless you need the generator...this way if someone tampers with the outside pieces, at least no gas will be flowing. I dont know if you are more concerned with someone stealing the generator or the consequences of free flowing gas if someone steals the generator. If it is the later, the shut valve on the inside of the house will remedy that.

    As far as someone stealing the generator, if someone really wants it, they will get it.
  13. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Yeah, that was on my radar as well. I actually recall looking at one f those when we did my kitchen. Can't recall if the feedback was that it was more of a nuiscance than not.
  14. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Why are we making such a big deal out of this? Put your valve in and plug it. No matter what you do it would take just a pair of wrenches to steal it. Do you also lock you outside outlets and hose bib?

    John
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If someone wants to blow up your house, there is no way to prevent it unless you weld the pipes and valves together. A quick connect has an automatic valve inside of it, so even if the valve is turned on, gas will not leak out unless someone has the mating piece for it and pushes it into the connector. THis is a "gas" gas, not gasoline, so they cannot put into a gas can and "steal" it, unless they have a compressor to convert it into liquified natural gas, and if they can afford that, they don't have to steal your gas.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    They may steal your Generator, but the gas may take awhile. A Shotgun with 00 works very well if you are home. (Warning Don't use steel shot around gas)

    Put a quick disconnect , so when they take the gen the gas will be shut off automatically.

    Or use a device like Jim mentioned.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  17. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Messages:
    710
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    All POV taken. Thanks all.
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; (Warning Don't use steel shot around gas)

    And since environmentalists are trying to eliminate lead shot in the environment, why would you have anything other than steel shot in the gun?
  19. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
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    Location:
    South*East
    Could be he just took apart a 4" leaded joint and didn't have any other use for the lead.

    John:cool:
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I believe that the steel bird shot should be used for bird hunting around wetlands.

    Lead Buck shot is still available , and a lot of deer slugs are lead also.
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