Can Natural Gas Lines Get Clogged and Blocked?
In short, yes they can. While gas leaks are more common, just like water lines, natural gas lines can get clogged and blocked for many different reasons, the most common being:
- Natural substances: Dirt, debris, and especially insects can make their way into gas pipelines through even the smallest spaces.
- Water: When a natural gas line is buried underground, water can also find its way into the pipe which can cause corrosion and rust, and rust can ultimately cause clogged natural gas lines. In fact, all it takes is 4″ of water pressure to block a natural gas line.
- Dents: Sometimes pipes become dented which can restrict the flow of gas along the pipe.
- Tree roots: These can grow into the line over time, and cut off gas from reaching your appliances, lowering their gas output.
As you can imagine, clogged natural gas lines can be extremely dangerous. Leaving clogs unrepaired can risk not only a gas appliance that doesn’t work but also a gas explosion.
Signs of a blocked natural gas pipeline
The first indication of a blocked natural gas line is usually your home appliances not working as well as you expect them to. The gas will seem low even if the appliance is turned up too high. This is because the gas supply is impacted by the blockage.
The gas might be finding a way out of the pipe before the blockage, where the gas is under high pressure. In this case, you would possibly be able to smell gas, but it depends on where the blockage and leak have occurred. If it’s in your yard, you might not ever be close enough to smell it.
What should you do if you think you’ve got clogged natural gas lines?
In some cases, it’s simply a case of finding the blockage and unclogging it. Before doing anything, make sure that the gas supply is turned OFF.
Smaller gas lines such as 3/8″ or 1/2″ flexible copper tubing or flexible stainless steel tubing can sometimes be cleared by pushing a wire or a plastic probe through the piping. A plastic probe is preferable since the wire can accidentally score the interior of thin-walled gas piping, and this may cause damage or even a future point of corrosion and gas leakage.
If the pipe is 1/2″ or larger you may be able to run a 1/4″ diameter drain auger through the piping run.
We do not recommend cleaning natural gas pipelines yourself, especially if the clog is due to rust, debris, or insects. If you are unable to clean the pipe entirely, any remaining debris risks clogging a gas orifice or control, making the gas light unreliable or possibly unsafe. We always recommend pipe cleaning and unclogging be done by a licensed professional gas piping company.
With a professional gas line repair company, not only can you be assured that the repairs will be done safely and properly, but they will also inspect the interior of the pipe using a borescope, potentially saving the replacement of the entire pipe if it’s not necessary.
If you find water in the gas line and it’s corroded and/or the leak is not an obvious one easily repaired, it is likely that the entire pipe will need replacing, as the integrity of the pipe itself has been compromised. Outdoor gas piping is often replaced with continuous, waterproof, flexible polyethylene gas piping with risers at the pipe entry and exit points to keep water out of the system.
If you think you might have clogged natural gas lines, contact RP Gas and we will get it unclogged and repaired ASAP before any irreparable damage occurs.
Our team is experienced in problem-solving and we work together with each other and customers to solve challenging situations. We are competent, capable, and professional. Need more reasons to choose RP Gas Piping? Check out our blog, 4 Reasons You Can Trust RP Gas Piping.
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