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Hi Robert,
I want to replace an electric range with gas but have to have a gas line installed. I have estimates from two plumbers; one would run the line from the garage where the main line enters from the meter, and the other would tee-off the one-inch line from the furnace which is in the house. I have been told teeing-off from the furnace would cut down gas flow. Also, I have called the gas company who told me coming from the furnace “may” cut the flow. I’m confused. There is approximately a $550 difference in estimates. What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Janet P.

Hi Janet,
Teeing-off from the furnace will absolutely reduce gas flow. I would come directly off of the main. If you starve the heater, it will start sooting, which will continue to build up and could cause a malfunction of the burners, and run the risk of fire. Especially next winter when both will be operating, you would be starving both the range and the furnace.
Coming from the meter is more expensive than a tee but it will save your other appliances from a potentially disastrous situation. Everything is rated on a BTU basis, and you want to be sure that you are supplying the required amount of gas as recommended from the manufacturer.
I would suggest paying the $550.00, having it done right by running the gas line from the main meter, and save yourself problems down the line.

Hello Robert,
As of very recently, I represent a retirement community that has two swimming pools. I discovered some paperwork concerning our pools and our need to replace the drains. Do you know what is involved with this?

Thank you,
Errol V.

Hi Errol,
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a very detailed list of safety measures that now applies to all pools and spas. The deadline for these changes was December 2008. These requirements fall under the jurisdiction of The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
The primary concern is to have split drains – add a second drain, so a child can’t be injured by drain suction.
To proceed, you are going to have to submit scale drawings of your swimming pools and the proposed work that is required. Once approved through plan check, call your local authority to see how they want you to proceed in draining the pool and spa. They will probably ask you to neutralize the chlorine to less than 5 parts per million, then discharge into the storm drain.
Then you would need to saw-cut around the drain, install a tee with a second drain at a minimum of three feet away. You also are required to use pre-approved unblockable drain covers, depending on the amount of gallons per minute your pumps are pushing, and the installation of safety vacuum release systems or an automatic pump shut-off system.
The paperwork you are referring to is probably the report from the health inspector. His name and phone number should be listed, as well as the final deadline to have your repairs made. I would call him and explain your situation to see if he might provide you with an extension.

Submit your questions to:  robert@imsconstruction.com. Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a commercial General, Electrical and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

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