7 Regulator Vent Line Tips (including the VLP Vent Line Protector)
3 Vital Components of Natural Gas Meter Sets
Natural gas meter sets consist of three vital components to safely deliver gas to the house.
- The gas meter measures gas flow into the building.
- The natural gas regulator reduces and modulates the gas pressure to the meter.
- A shutoff valve on the riser pipe, just below the regulator, provides an emergency shut-off if you smell natural gas in the house. (Note: if the shut-off valve is off, the utility company will likely need to reestablish service; a small price to pay in an emergency.)
7 Vent Line Tips
The natural gas regulator is a critical component of the meter set and needs to be vented and should comply with local and federal venting requirements (which may vary from county to county). The vent functions as a safety measure and allows the diaphragm within the regulator to breathe. Additionally, if the diaphragm ever ruptures, the vent facilitates a leak path to the atmosphere. If the vent becomes restricted, the regulator will not correctly regulate the pressure to the meter. For this reason, meter installers should take precautions to avoid vent limitations, and the following are guidelines or venting tips:
- When plumbing vent lines, do not use excessive fittings or long runs. In some cases, increasing the pipe size can increase the stack effect and reduce losses from friction.
- Never reduce the vent pipe size from the regulator.
- To limit the consequences of rain, snow, or debris getting into the vent, always turn the outlet of the vent down and above potential water or snow lines.
- A bug screen on the vent outlet will deter insects from nesting in the line. Never paint over the bug screen.
- If a vent line runs to a roof, ensure that the line clears where snow can accumulate on the top.
- The vent line should discharge away from people, fresh air intakes, or windows.
- Use IMAC Systems Vent Line Protector (VLP)
Vent Line Protector (VLP)
The IMAC VLP (vent line protector) has protected gas regulators in flooding events for nearly ten years. It is a mechanical device that seals off an open regulator vent when the vent becomes submerged in flooding water, keeping water and debris out of the regulator and preventing damage and corrosion.
The VLP is for use on houses and businesses in areas prone to flooding, such as coastal areas, facilities near rivers, low-lying areas, or in pits or below-ground applications. The VLP protects gas regulator vent lines from encroaching water. It guards natural gas and LPG lines. The VLP is installed on the vent line and usually is “open.” However, if water enters the vent line via the VLP, a float will seal the vent line shut. Then the float will drop when the water recedes, re-opening the vent to its normal position.
The Vent Line Protector addresses National Fuel Gas Code NFP 54 / ANSI Z223.1, which states,
Regulator vents shall be designed to prevent the entry of water, insects or other foreign materials that could cause a blockage. At locations where regulators might be submerged during flooding, a special anti-flood type breather vent fitting shall be installed….”
VLP Preferred Over Elevating the Regulator Vent (Snorkel Assembly)
There are limited proactive measures to avoid water damage to regulators in low-lying flood areas. One alternative is a snorkel assembly that raises the vent but results in a more costly and less aesthetic solution to the easy-to-install and inexpensive VPL.
Another scenario where the VLP may be of assistance is in high snowfall areas, where snow routinely blocks regulators’ vent openings. Perhaps a VLP could provide extra protection from intruding moisture and save the regulator from damage and corrosion. If you have experience using the Vent Line Protector in a snow application, we’d love to hear your insights on it.
Here is a video explaining venting guidelines to ensure your gas regulator works efficiently.