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Extreme cold weather tends to give us somewhat of tension when it comes to the rigidity of our household gas pipelines. That is why we have researched thoroughly on this subject matter to give you important pieces of information to answer your questions.
Unlike water pipes, gas pipes whose materials are highly tolerant of high and low temperatures carry natural gas that is too dry to freeze, even in cold weather. Thus, gas pipes could only freeze when there is water present inside or around the pipes.
Continue reading as we have covered more information about gas pipes and natural gas and how cold weather can affect them.
At What temperature do gas pipes freeze?
Gas pipes that we see inside our homes are technically not subjected to freezing unless there is a presence of water around the gas line that could accumulate and might cause possible freezing. Although subjected to tiny amounts of water compounds, natural gas is too dry to cause any concerns of freezing in cold weather.
Highly pressured main supply gas lines are made resilient to withstand various temperatures, making them somewhat weatherproof.
Natural gas distributing companies often make sure that natural gas flows to intensive drying processes before being distributed to their consumers. This drying process is created to prevent hydrate formations, liquid water compound deposition, and condensation that could cause the formation of ice crystals that may damage gas pipes.
The typical household gas pipes that are used in residential areas are steel, copper, and brass. However, the most common material that many are using for gas piping is black steel. Black steel is not galvanized. This material is highly resistant to hot and cold temperatures, making it a good choice for gas piping. Depending on the location you live in, gas pipes are subjected to change to compensate for the extreme weather.
Do you need to cover gas pipes in winter?
You don’t need to cover your gas pipes as they have a lower chance of freezing. They could stand cold temperatures because of their material compositions unless there is a presence of water that could potentially freeze around or inside the gas pipe, although protecting them is still viable.
Covering your gas pipe may be necessary if you are a natural gas producer and use significant gas valves that could potentially induce pressure drops to your natural gas. As stated in The Joule-Thomson Effect, a 100 psi pressure drop will result in a 6–8 degrees Fahrenheit gas temperature drop. This dropping of pressure could potentially freeze your gas valves and pipes. Wrap insulations or heat tapes in order to prevent freezing of gas valves and gas pipes.
Can natural gas freeze in the pipes?
Natural gas that is being distributed to homes is unlikely to freeze in the pipes. That is because natural gas that companies are distributing has already undergone multiple processing stages to dry out in order to prevent the accumulation of water molecules.
The most likely scenario is when a gas pipe is faulty and is highly prone to leakage or pressure drops. Faulty gas pipes could cause water contamination if there is a presence of water around them. This could cause crystallization of water inside the gas pipe in extremely cold places and cause blockage and damage to the gas pipe.
Pressure drops could also cause natural gas to freeze because all gas carries some moisture element that could potentially turn into ice crystals. This means that when your operation includes a significant amount of valves, this could induce pressure drops. You need to be aware of its potential for freezing as stated in The Joule-Thomson Effect above.
Should I cover my gas meter in freezing temperatures?
Gas meters need open air around them, so do not box in and wrap them with insulating materials. Gas meters are built to withstand cold weather. They are thought to be weather-proof, requiring a minimum amount of maintenance, especially for those living in extremely cold places where they used special kinds of materials to compensate for the weather.
But the consistent accumulation of snow and ice could potentially be detrimental to cause damage and safety issues. So if you want to ensure that your gas meter is always working as it should, here are some tips for maintaining your gas meter and ensuring it works correctly even in extremely cold weather.
How to keep your natural gas meters clear of ice & snow
Do not shovel snow up against the gas meter
Shoveling your gas meter to clean snow buildup is not a good practice because it might cause some severe damage to your gas meter and could lead to gas leakage and potential explosions.
Take suitable measures when operating snow blowers or snowplows
Taking suitable measures when using snowplows in the vicinity of a gas meter to prevent unwanted accidents that could break your gas meter.
Remove any icicles from your overhead gutter
Heavy snowstorms with mild rains could lead to the formation of very sharp icicles under your overhead gutters. These icicles could cause damage once they fall on your gas meter, so get rid of them as soon as possible.
Never let the snow cover the gas meter
Avoid letting heavy piles of snow bog down your gas meter as gas meters need open air.
Never kick or hit your gas meter if you find piles of snow over it
If a buildup of snow or ice is present in your gas meter or any gas connections that are connected to your house, never kick or hit it with a solid object as it may break your gas meter.
Avoid careless handling
Careless handling of your gas meter can damage or loosen a connection that might lead to dangerous natural gas leakage.
How do you keep your gas pipes from freezing?
To keep your gas pipes from freezing, you should always check all of your gas lines for potential water accumulation. It may be water dripping from your faulty water pipes and into your gas pipes or even clogged overhead gutters that could trap rainwater that might sip through inside your home and down to your household pipes. In addition, these gas valves are not adequately insulated and might freeze due to pressure drops or rusting that may induce rigidity.
Gas pipes, as we know, are highly resistant to cold temperatures but are highly vulnerable to freezing if there is a presence of water around them. So take your time to check your gas lines, especially if you are living in a cold-weather location.
Important notes about gas pipes
After we have concluded and answered all the questions regarding gas pipes and how cold weather could affect them, we would like to remind you of these precautions about natural gas lines.
Gas lines are dangerous
Gas lines should not be tampered with by someone who is not a specialist. Consult a specialist if you are building a new appliance, smell gas in your house, or want to protect a particular area that includes gas lines.
Gas lines do require cleaning
The second thing you should note is that gas lines need to be cleaned. Although many people consider natural gas to be a gas form, there will be a buildup to clean over time. Due to heavy buildup, a clogged gas pipe can transport only a small quantity of gas to appliances such as the burner, heater, dryer, or water heater.
Clogged gas pipes will affect these items, so they require professional cleaning. Doing this cleaning in advance will help you preserve the quality of your pipes while avoiding any needless harm to your equipment.
Gas pipes don’t freeze in cold weather because their material composition is highly resistant to cold. Therefore, the only time for a gas pipe to freeze is when there is a presence of liquid in or around the gas pipe, as it will turn to ice crystals that could potentially envelop the gas pipe.