Gas service

I am still intrigued about how the one small boiler will provide domestic hot water and space heating to all three units – once it is hooked up to a gas line.


That is our next task. We do have natural gas service coming to the house. It has been shut off, however, since we bought the house back in April 2009. That made the removal of the convoluted existing gas piping in the building easy and safe.


While we were putting a shopping list together for gas piping and fittings, I remembered that I had a bunch of salvaged material tucked away. I showed it to Pete, one of Mariusz’s crew members, to see if it would be of any use to us.

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His eyes were bugging out. It appeared that we had more than enough salvaged pipe and fittings to get us going. I quickly retired the shopping list and enjoyed the thought of the money I just saved by being thrifty.

Before I got my hands dirty again, I had to contemplate the pipe layout.

Right now, the small boiler is our primary source of energy. With the future solar hot water installation it will be relegated to a backup source. That could mean that our natural gas usage may drop so much that the service fees may rival the actual natural gas costs.

In other words, we would pay more in service fees than for gas, considering that we currently have three meters, which each carry the fees. We quickly decided that it makes economic sense to only keep one meter, i.e. one gas line/meter for the three units.


So much for the mental effort. Time now to flex some muscles.

What made the reuse of the salvaged pipe possible was the pipe thread cutter that Mariusz’s crew brought along. It allowed us to cut the salvaged pipe to the desired length, cut the threads into each end, and connect it with the suitable fittings.

We first connected to the one inch stub coming into the building from the gas meter.

From that one inch line, we ran ¾ inch branches to the boiler and to the kitchens in the basement, 1st and 2nd floor for the gas range connections. Along the way, we strategically placed shut-off valves at the beginning of each ¾ inch branch for safety and maintenance. For the last few feet to the appliance, we used ½ inch pipe with a shut-off valve at the very end.

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This takes care of the gas supply to all three units and it’s time to call the utility company to get the gas turned on!

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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