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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    44

    Gas line freezing up

    Hey all, I have a natural gas pack thats about 3 years old (York) and when the temperature around here drops below freezing, the heat stops working. THe unit will cycle but only cool/cold air blows through the vents. After several weeks of trial and error, I have concluded that the problem lies in the gas line that runs out from under the crawlspace to the outside gas pack. Now we're only talking approximately 3-4 feet of gas line total with a pressure regulator on it that is open to the elements and I believe it is here that we have the problem.

    WHat happens is that when the line freezes and my gas stops, I go outside (in the freezing weather) and use a hair dryer on the regulator and on the 3-4 ft of line. After about 5 minutes, the heat kicks back on and will usually last the rest of the evening/morning. Now I originally thought oh just a little moisture or water in the regulator but its been happening for a few months now, so if a little moisture just happened to find its way into the regulator, it should have evaporated by now I'm thinking. But the problem still exists, So I dont think the regulator is bad, I think i simply have moisture in the gas line from somewhere or somehow. I covered the regulator with a rubber cap, flannel shirt, and trash bag to see if insulating it with that would help but it still froze last night (22-25 F), and as soon as I used the hair dryer it fixed it. So at this point I'm pretty sure its either the remaining gas line freezing, or the regulator is still freezing up.

    It's getting ready to be the teen's this week and I was hoping to fix this before it got there. What can cause moisture to be in a natural gas line and who do i call to fix this issue, Gas company, plumber, heating/air ?

    Will insulating the lines with some of that black foam from Home Depot prevent the line from freezing?

    What other remedy could i employ to prevent the line from freezing?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,060
    Quote Originally Posted by 2humid View Post
    Hey all, I have a natural gas pack thats about 3 years old (York) and when the temperature around here drops below freezing, the heat stops working. THe unit will cycle but only cool/cold air blows through the vents. After several weeks of trial and error, I have concluded that the problem lies in the gas line that runs out from under the crawlspace to the outside gas pack. Now we're only talking approximately 3-4 feet of gas line total with a pressure regulator on it that is open to the elements and I believe it is here that we have the problem.

    WHat happens is that when the line freezes and my gas stops, I go outside (in the freezing weather) and use a hair dryer on the regulator and on the 3-4 ft of line. After about 5 minutes, the heat kicks back on and will usually last the rest of the evening/morning. Now I originally thought oh just a little moisture or water in the regulator but its been happening for a few months now, so if a little moisture just happened to find its way into the regulator, it should have evaporated by now I'm thinking. But the problem still exists, So I dont think the regulator is bad, I think i simply have moisture in the gas line from somewhere or somehow. I covered the regulator with a rubber cap, flannel shirt, and trash bag to see if insulating it with that would help but it still froze last night (22-25 F), and as soon as I used the hair dryer it fixed it. So at this point I'm pretty sure its either the remaining gas line freezing, or the regulator is still freezing up.

    It's getting ready to be the teen's this week and I was hoping to fix this before it got there. What can cause moisture to be in a natural gas line and who do i call to fix this issue, Gas company, plumber, heating/air ?

    Will insulating the lines with some of that black foam from Home Depot prevent the line from freezing?

    What other remedy could i employ to prevent the line from freezing?

    Thanks!
    The only point on the regulator that freezes is the vent port and it allows the regulator to burp to atmosphere. the vent port can be cleared of moisture and reinstalled. There is a Maxicap that covers the regulator after that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    44
    GOtcha, but lets say for whatever fluke reason, moisture gets inside the vent port . After several days the water would/should evaporate. Well this problem has been going on for a few months now. SO either a) the vent port is constantly getting moisture in it or b) the line is freezing somewhere else besides the regulator. I covered the regulator very well and even bought Maxitrol's rubber cap to go over the entire top piece (after the maxicap was removed of course) and it did not fix the problem. So moisture is still present.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,060
    Quote Originally Posted by 2humid View Post
    GOtcha, but lets say for whatever fluke reason, moisture gets inside the vent port . After several days the water would/should evaporate. Well this problem has been going on for a few months now. SO either a) the vent port is constantly getting moisture in it or b) the line is freezing somewhere else besides the regulator. I covered the regulator very well and even bought Maxitrol's rubber cap to go over the entire top piece (after the maxicap was removed of course) and it did not fix the problem. So moisture is still present.
    Once moisture enters the vent port it will stay there untill removed and cleared, and can reacure quickly if the regulator is located where warm air from the unit or somthing else blows warm air onto it.

    There should not be any moisture in the gas line normally, natural gas is dehidrated to 40 bellow -0- F

    Can you post a pic of the location of the regulator?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    44
    Name:  0103140919.jpg
Views: 731
Size:  85.3 KB

    Here is a photo of the line and regulator. THe exhaust for the hot air is right above the regulator. IT does cause some condensation during the winter, as there is water that will drip down (you can kinda see the water marks under the exhaust) the pipe leading from the gas pack TO the regulator. You can see it on the right side. Usually there is a small amount of standing water on those pipes and it freezes below zero. I have gone out in the middle of the night and seen ice formed on the pipe near the exhaust vent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    The regulator should be turned 90 degrees. The question is, why is there an external regulator to begin with? Is this natural gas? Has this unit been converted from one gas type to another?
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,060
    Quote Originally Posted by 2humid View Post
    Name:  0103140919.jpg
Views: 731
Size:  85.3 KB

    Here is a photo of the line and regulator. THe exhaust for the hot air is right above the regulator. IT does cause some condensation during the winter, as there is water that will drip down (you can kinda see the water marks under the exhaust) the pipe leading from the gas pack TO the regulator. You can see it on the right side. Usually there is a small amount of standing water on those pipes and it freezes below zero. I have gone out in the middle of the night and seen ice formed on the pipe near the exhaust vent.
    Poor location. It is exsposed to warm air leading to the condensation in the vent port.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    44
    Yues its natural gas. So if i have the regulator moved down the line a bit, that should solve it you think?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    That's a Luxaire/York DAYA unit with a smart valve, again, why is there a regulator on the outside?. The valve comes set up for natural gas with a built in regulator, which is convertible.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    44
    I don't know why it has a regulator. We just bought the house about 3 months ago but i know the gas pack is about 3 years old. House is about 17 so they did replace their old one. Maybe the previous line had a regulator and they just didnt take it off...

    So are you saying a regulator on this unit is unnecessary?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    The natural gas entering your house is already regulated down to a few lbs max. The gas pack itself comes with a valve with a built in regulator to drop the pressure down to 3.5"wg so there should be no reason for that external regulator. That said, DO NOT REMOVE that regulator your self. Call an HVAC company and have them evaluate the gas pressures and internal gas valve for proper adjustment(s) before removing it. People do strange and stupid things so there is no way to second guess what somebody else did prior to you purchasing the home.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,192
    You must have a 2 psi system, which would explain the Medium Pressure regulator. If the inlet pressure is somehow much higher than 2psi, the regulator could be freezing up just from the big jump in pressures. Also, if the orifice in the reg. needs to be cleaned, that would do it. I'd check the lockup pressure on that reg. and see if it also *creeps*. A MP reg. vent really should be 3 feet from any source of ignition so just take another look at that. The vent per se is not really a source of ignition on a gas unit (it is with wood for ex.).
    Since you have the requisite sediment trap just prior to the MP reg. I'd have the tech open it to check for condensate or foreign matter. The gas is scrubbed now in 95% of the country so condensate or moisture in the gas should not be a problem but you can ask your utility.

    Look at your meter for a label stating 2psi system. My question on that is, is the entire house under 2 psi or does a line branch off it to this unit? What is the entire load on this house/ why a 2 psi system if indeed that's what it is? If it is not 2psi or even 12.2 wci, then why the MP reg.?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    44
    Ive called the gas co. and they said it's a 2 psi system So im assuming it comes into the house with 2 psi. Could i blow the water out of the regulator by removing the Maxicap and just blowing compressed air into the outlet, or is that a no-no?

    Im not gonna touch the gas system, ill call a technician but if i can just blow out the moisture with compressed air, that may be a quick fix...is there anything unsafe about blowing air in and around the vent port of the regulator?

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