Gas Pressure Testing Always a fine choice

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Anyone seen a recent Sam Adams commercial?   The memorable catch phrase is that Sam Adam’s Beer is, “Always a Fine Choice”.

Knowing that we are in lean times, putting ink on the deposit slip at the end of the week is harder and harder to do.  To that end, would it be “a fine choice” to skip a step when starting up a boiler system?  Do you think that testing the gas pressure prior to starting up a system is a valuable step that will remove ink off of a deposit slip, or keep it on the deposit slip?    Let’s compare the choice of testing and the amount of time it takes versus the choice of not testing.

Time me on this.

Find the relevant test port on the appliance you are testing but generally it is the port closest to the gas valve inlet.  Open it one full turn.  Slip the end of the manometer or gas pressure test kit onto the test port.   Record your manifold pressure.   Natural gas should be between 4” and 10.5” of w.c. and LP gas should be between 8” and 13” w.c.  Minimum gas pressure readings must be taken while the unit is running so start up the system and record the pressure drop.  It should be no more than 1” w.c. drop.  If it is, you must contact the gas supplier so that the proper volume of gas can be supplied.

Time?  Less than 5 minutes.

Was this simple test worth the hassle and the few extra minutes?   You decide.

 A week later you get a, “No ignition” code on your boiler.   Can you automatically rule out gas pressure as a culprit?  Hard to say but you know what it was when you tested it, and it is unlikely that it is the culprit.   If you get to the jobsite and call Tech Assistance, you will have the recorded data from the start up.   Imagine being a tech assistance guy and imagine his/her eyes rolling to the back of their head when you tell them your gas pressure, “Is Good”.  If you don’t test, you don’t know.    Making a warranty return trip due to poor gas pressure will most definitely remove ink off the bottom line. 

Spend the few extra minutes and think of this as an insurance policy against “not knowing” and keep that ink on the deposit slip. 

Paul Rohrs is a Design & Application Specialist for the Lochinvar Corporation. His reponsibilities include Lochinvar’s solar initiative, renewable energy integration, as well as Lochinvar high-efficiency boilers, water heaters and tanks. Paul has been in the plumbing, heating and cooling Industry for 24 years and was previously a licensed contractor with radiant design and installation experience.

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