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I have a natural gas fireplace, furnace, water heater and barbecue.

This year I've noticed that my barbecue blows out occasionally when it's on low, even in the slightest wind. I figured the burner was dirty so I vacuumed it clean, but it still blew out.

The pilot light in our gas fireplace runs all year. I start running the fireplace near Christmas for the atmosphere. I fired it up the other day and for a few minutes it ran normally until the furnace started up. The flame in the fireplace then dropped by almost 2/3 of its normal size.

I'm thinking that it is a gas supply problem because of the similar problem with the BBQ. Does this sound reasonable?

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2 Answers 2

It sure sounds to me like a problem with the gas pressure or regulator/meter. Since gas can be dangerous if leaking into your house if a pilot blows out etc, I'd be on the phone to the gas supplier. They should be able to check the input pressure and assure that the regulator is working properly. Trying to trouble shoot and repair this type of problem is not a job for a DIYer. Here in Maine, only a licensed pro is allowed to work on gas lines. I am a general contractor and if there is a problem, I'm on the line to a pro immediately. Good luck.

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+1: If nothing has changed in the house or gas plumbing, then it sounds like an issue with your gas pressure. Your gas service should be rated for a certain psi coming into the house. Your utility provider might provide testing of their service without you having to pay for a pro to come in and test it. –  ChrisP Dec 20 '10 at 21:34
It could be that your regulator pressure is set to low. This can be adjusted, but needs to be done by the gas co. There is a seal on the cover and in our area it is something like $10,000.00 fine or life in prison if you mess with it. There really picky about playing with the gas. –  Renshia Dec 20 '10 at 21:46

The other possibility is that the gas meter can't support the BTU load of the fireplace, furnace, and water heater all at the same time. The meter itself has a max flow rate it can support (cuFt per Hour or CFH). The gas company can replace your meter with a larger unit for a small fee. I recently installed a 150,000 BTU pool heater. A month prior to installation I contacted to gas company ahead of time to determine if my meter would support it and they said it would not. They gave me a new larger meter for about $75.

If you have goofy piping like a 200ft run from the meter with 1/2" pipe, then your going to have pressure issues. Generally, the fix for this is to put a special 2 pound meter to your house and then install individual regulators to each of appliances. But if this is your problem, you generally already notice with just one appliance being on.

Either way, you'll have to contact the gas company to resolve the problem. They own the meter.

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