Getting off natural gas advice needed

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6/11/2018 4:57 PM

Last week the a neighbor smelled gas around my meter and called SDG&E (city) and they came and shut it off and told me I needed to get it fixed and they would turn it back on. My home is about 200 feet from the meter so it would be very expensive to dig that all up to replace the line. They can test it but they charge $250 per hr so my idea is to get off gas altogether and buy an electric “tankless” water heater and electric dryer. I have solar and seldom use all of what I produce each cycle. Since the city shut off my meter and put a lock/clamp on it do I even need to tell them I don’t want to use gas anymore? Any plumbers here or in San Diego? Thanks??

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6/11/2018 5:19 PM

DJBobbyD wrote:

Last week the a neighbor smelled gas around my meter and called SDG&E (city) and they came and shut it off and told me I needed to get it fixed and they would turn it back on. My home is about 200 feet from the meter so it would be very expensive to dig that all up to replace the line. They can test it but they charge $250 per hr so my idea is to get off gas altogether and buy an electric “tankless” water heater and electric dryer. I have solar and seldom use all of what I produce each cycle. Since the city shut off my meter and put a lock/clamp on it do I even need to tell them I don’t want to use gas anymore? Any plumbers here or in San Diego? Thanks??

You definitely need to tell them that you're not going to use their gas service anymore. Otherwise you're going to get a service charge for the supply to your house that you're no longer using. On the other hand, if you have them cap it off you won't have a backup Supply if anything goes wrong. The alternative to that is propane which is much more expensive than gas but if it's only a backup system that might be viable.

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6/11/2018 5:38 PM

How much hot water do you need? Electric tankless may require a couple of big ass breakers to heat a decent amount. Just put an electric tank in. We spent some coin to convert over to a few gas appliances because our electric bills here in southeast Texas are stupid expensive. I still have one electric tank water heater online though in my garage/shop/cave. Tankless gas in the house. It takes a while to heat up, but an endless supply when going. Our electric bill dropped a couple hundred per month with the switch to gas water heater, cooktop and clothes dryer and swapping most of the lightbulbs over to led’s. Gas bill is minimal.

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6/11/2018 5:40 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/12/2018 12:36 PM

You'll probably need 2 30 amp 240 volt breakers so 4 slots in your load center. Wiring and plumbing shouldn't be too bad but I would budget 2-3k for everything including appliances.

Edit: looks like most tankless heaters want alot more than 30 amps. Definitely need to look at your electrical service.

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6/11/2018 6:44 PM

newmann wrote:

How much hot water do you need? Electric tankless may require a couple of big ass breakers to heat a decent amount. Just put an electric tank in. We spent some coin to convert over to a few gas appliances because our electric bills here in southeast Texas are stupid expensive. I still have one electric tank water heater online though in my garage/shop/cave. Tankless gas in the house. It takes a while to heat up, but an endless supply when going. Our electric bill dropped a couple hundred per month with the switch to gas water heater, cooktop and clothes dryer and swapping most of the lightbulbs over to led’s. Gas bill is minimal.

My hot water heater is tank-less Electric. But it has a gas line going to it. I'm ignorant, so what does that mean exactly?

To the OP, you should get some bids on getting the gas line fixed. People spend thousands getting gas lines put in because they want to get off electric.

I don't know your exact situation but if you plan on living where you are for awhile then perhaps best to get it fixed. Don't make a short term decision that may have long term negative ramifications.

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6/12/2018 4:04 AM

Opposite sides of the planet - but I'm not grasping why gas is a must-have in a non-winter-heating climate?

DHW can be done cheaply & easily with electric & conventional tank type heater. Our power bill is only around $100/mo year-round, heating our DHW that way and also using an electric dryer. We don't a/c - but you can't do that with gas anyway. I would love to have a gas line going by for those winter heating months though...

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HAF

6/12/2018 5:48 AM

newmann wrote:

How much hot water do you need? Electric tankless may require a couple of big ass breakers to heat a decent amount. Just put an electric tank in. We spent some coin to convert over to a few gas appliances because our electric bills here in southeast Texas are stupid expensive. I still have one electric tank water heater online though in my garage/shop/cave. Tankless gas in the house. It takes a while to heat up, but an endless supply when going. Our electric bill dropped a couple hundred per month with the switch to gas water heater, cooktop and clothes dryer and swapping most of the lightbulbs over to led’s. Gas bill is minimal.

TXDirt wrote:

My hot water heater is tank-less Electric. But it has a gas line going to it. I'm ignorant, so what does that mean exactly?

To the OP, you should get some bids on getting the gas line fixed. People spend thousands getting gas lines put in because they want to get off electric.

I don't know your exact situation but if you plan on living where you are for awhile then perhaps best to get it fixed. Don't make a short term decision that may have long term negative ramifications.

Electric igniter for gas water heater? My Noritz gas tankless also has power going to it, 120v.

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6/12/2018 5:53 AM

ns503 wrote:

Opposite sides of the planet - but I'm not grasping why gas is a must-have in a non-winter-heating climate?

DHW can be done cheaply & easily with electric & conventional tank type heater. Our power bill is only around $100/mo year-round, heating our DHW that way and also using an electric dryer. We don't a/c - but you can't do that with gas anyway. I would love to have a gas line going by for those winter heating months though...

Gas for hot tub/pool and water heater for the house. It works better for drying clothes if you ask my wife. And most importantly, a electric cooktop sucks balls.

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6/12/2018 6:25 AM

I’m a home inspector and here are my thoughts. Get bids and have a plumber re-do your underground gas service line properly and pressure test the entire structure. If you have to get your whole house re-plumbed for gas, they will want to use CSST, which is fine, but make sure it is bonded correctly. An electric tankless water heater can get expensive if you use a lot of hot water.

Gas is a great fuel and inexpensive, but safety is a must.

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6/12/2018 6:54 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/12/2018 6:55 AM

Stay on gas. It’s cheaper than electric. My wife and I been looking at homes with no neighbors out in God’s country and gas is non existent out there for how we want to live. Looking into geomthermal. But electric bills sucks. My parents has electric for 20 years and finally piped a gas line in.

My wife likes cooking better with gas anyway.

Try to stick with gas. My buddy pays $430 /mo bill with electric in similar square foot house. My electric bill is $40-50and my gas is 25-30.

And geothermal costs like 20 grand to put in.

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GP740
Since 1987

6/12/2018 8:03 AM

newmann wrote:

How much hot water do you need? Electric tankless may require a couple of big ass breakers to heat a decent amount. Just put an electric tank in. We spent some coin to convert over to a few gas appliances because our electric bills here in southeast Texas are stupid expensive. I still have one electric tank water heater online though in my garage/shop/cave. Tankless gas in the house. It takes a while to heat up, but an endless supply when going. Our electric bill dropped a couple hundred per month with the switch to gas water heater, cooktop and clothes dryer and swapping most of the lightbulbs over to led’s. Gas bill is minimal.

What’s your cost per kw?

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6/12/2018 8:17 AM

Just because it smells like gas by the meter doesn't mean you have to replace the whole line. There is a very good chance that the leak is near the meter. Unless it's a really old installation, the line underground is machine coated. Couplings and other fittings are wrapped to prevent corrosion.
A quick pressure test will tell you a lot. If the pressure bleeds off really quickly or it wont hold pressure at all, you probably have a break. If it bleeds off slowly then it's more than likely a leak at a fitting near the meter. Pay a plumber to check that first. If you have mechanical aptitude you can do it yourself. If you have to pick a plumber from random, you are fucked. Most are crooks. Stay away from the big boys. Get a reference for a small time local guy if you can and you just might get lucky.


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6/12/2018 8:25 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/12/2018 9:50 AM

Oh yes and by all means, keep the gas. Even for the couple of months a year where you need heat, electricity is crazy expensive compared to gas. If you never heat the house then you might be ok with electricity. Remember, no sun=expensive hot water.

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6/12/2018 8:30 AM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Stay on gas. It’s cheaper than electric. My wife and I been looking at homes with no neighbors out in God’s country and gas is non existent out there for how we want to live. Looking into geomthermal. But electric bills sucks. My parents has electric for 20 years and finally piped a gas line in.

My wife likes cooking better with gas anyway.

Try to stick with gas. My buddy pays $430 /mo bill with electric in similar square foot house. My electric bill is $40-50and my gas is 25-30.

And geothermal costs like 20 grand to put in.

You can use a big propane tank that companies come a fill periodically. That's how to have gas out in the sticks. it is very common.

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6/12/2018 9:13 AM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Stay on gas. It’s cheaper than electric. My wife and I been looking at homes with no neighbors out in God’s country and gas is non existent out there for how we want to live. Looking into geomthermal. But electric bills sucks. My parents has electric for 20 years and finally piped a gas line in.

My wife likes cooking better with gas anyway.

Try to stick with gas. My buddy pays $430 /mo bill with electric in similar square foot house. My electric bill is $40-50and my gas is 25-30.

And geothermal costs like 20 grand to put in.

Not only that (on the Geo), it can cost more than expected to operate. Have a couple friends that put Geo in - they got a surprise with their electric bills. 24/7 pumping & compressing adds up. Still cheaper than resistance, but not what I'd call cheap. How expensive likely also depends on if you have closed ground loops, or wells. But the guys I know have closed loops.

If I was heating electrically, I'd go mini-splits, no question.

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HAF

6/12/2018 10:14 AM

gabrielito wrote:

You can use a big propane tank that companies come a fill periodically. That's how to have gas out in the sticks. it is very common.

Propane delivered is way more expensive than home NG.

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6/12/2018 12:24 PM

Going with an electric tankless heater is going to be the killer. With a tank water heater you do not have to generate the entire demand on the spot. You are generating a little at a time and storing it so the power requirements (KW) are lower. With tankless, you need to create the full demand flowing at that moment so as a result, you need more KW. You're first step should be to figure out if your elec. service can accommodate that kind of increase.

It's the same with gas tankless heaters. A 40 Gal storage water heater is 40,000 BTU/h where a tankless sized for the same load could use up to 160,000 BTU/h at peak.

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6/12/2018 12:55 PM

A bike pump, a gauge and some caps will tell you if your fuel line is leaking. Its not all that hard to do. You could just put a cap on the line where it pops up near the house and the shrader valve with gauge before where it drops in the dirt. Fill it up to 25 psi and see if it drops. If it doesn't you should be able to get it turned back on.

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Go Hawks!

6/12/2018 2:28 PM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Stay on gas. It’s cheaper than electric. My wife and I been looking at homes with no neighbors out in God’s country and gas is non existent out there for how we want to live. Looking into geomthermal. But electric bills sucks. My parents has electric for 20 years and finally piped a gas line in.

My wife likes cooking better with gas anyway.

Try to stick with gas. My buddy pays $430 /mo bill with electric in similar square foot house. My electric bill is $40-50and my gas is 25-30.

And geothermal costs like 20 grand to put in.

gabrielito wrote:

You can use a big propane tank that companies come a fill periodically. That's how to have gas out in the sticks. it is very common.

early wrote:

Propane delivered is way more expensive than home NG.

Yep. It’s insane the difference. Right now we got natural gas and a well that pumps clean water 12 gallons a minute. hate my neighbor tho. Lol.

Can’t find natural gas anywhere where I need to live. So most likely will have to rely on great insulation and electric.

OP you check to see if your gas line is fubar or if it’s at the meter sight itself?

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GP740
Since 1987

6/12/2018 2:36 PM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Yep. It’s insane the difference. Right now we got natural gas and a well that pumps clean water 12 gallons a minute. hate my neighbor tho. Lol.

Can’t find natural gas anywhere where I need to live. So most likely will have to rely on great insulation and electric.

OP you check to see if your gas line is fubar or if it’s at the meter sight itself?

OP, when I bought my house (HUD foreclosure) there was a leak from the street to the meter at the house. The gas company was able to sleeve the line without digging it up. I'm not real foliar with it but it may be an option.

Georgie, you planning on building? If I built a house I would definitely go with 2x6 walls with r-19 insulation and vestibules/mudrooms at each door if possible. I lived most of my life with wood/oil heat and just recently moved into a gas equiped house. It is sooooooo nice. Makes you appreciate how easy it is. Kinda like if you ever camp for weeks at a time and have to plan out all your water usage carefully you are way more aware when you turn on the faucet.

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6/12/2018 3:02 PM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Stay on gas. It’s cheaper than electric. My wife and I been looking at homes with no neighbors out in God’s country and gas is non existent out there for how we want to live. Looking into geomthermal. But electric bills sucks. My parents has electric for 20 years and finally piped a gas line in.

My wife likes cooking better with gas anyway.

Try to stick with gas. My buddy pays $430 /mo bill with electric in similar square foot house. My electric bill is $40-50and my gas is 25-30.

And geothermal costs like 20 grand to put in.

gabrielito wrote:

You can use a big propane tank that companies come a fill periodically. That's how to have gas out in the sticks. it is very common.

early wrote:

Propane delivered is way more expensive than home NG.

Yeah, I have no idea about price, I just know if you want gas appliances that's a good way to go. Most folks I know who live in the outskirts use it.

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6/13/2018 4:11 PM

early wrote:

OP, when I bought my house (HUD foreclosure) there was a leak from the street to the meter at the house. The gas company was able to sleeve the line without digging it up. I'm not real foliar with it but it may be an option.

Georgie, you planning on building? If I built a house I would definitely go with 2x6 walls with r-19 insulation and vestibules/mudrooms at each door if possible. I lived most of my life with wood/oil heat and just recently moved into a gas equiped house. It is sooooooo nice. Makes you appreciate how easy it is. Kinda like if you ever camp for weeks at a time and have to plan out all your water usage carefully you are way more aware when you turn on the faucet.

I just built a 4000sq ft home with a crawl space and 10’ ceilings on the main level and 14’ in the living room. The home has 2x4 walls with closed spray foam (1” then BAT) on the exterior walls and the attic is sprayed (closed and open) slightly above minimum code. We chose to only go with a heat pump since it’s efficient down to 0° and TN rarely gets below that. We have gas for our rangetop, fireplace (never use it) and tankless hot water heater.

During the dead of winter when outside temperatures averaged 15° for the high in February our electric bill was $120.00 which was our highest so far. The average bill since October has been $92.00. Our gas bill runs about $45 dollars per month.

My only regret is not using 2x6 walls so we could have bumped up the R value in the side walls. Supposedly, I’m not missing much and the cost to benefit is a lot less but I’ll always wonder what if...

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6/14/2018 4:28 PM

newmann wrote:

Gas for hot tub/pool and water heater for the house. It works better for drying clothes if you ask my wife. And most importantly, a electric cooktop sucks balls.

Damn skippy about the cooktop. Electric sucks. Further, gas heat for pool and hot tub means a safer experience (you don't have a 240v, 60 Amp circuit potentially exposed to the water)

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Many thanks to everyone helping me out this GNCC season: SRT Offroad, Acerbis, FCR Suspension, O'Neal Racing, Evans Waterless Coolants, Rekluse, Twin Air, Braking Brakes, Carbsport

Profile image credit Ken Hill Photography

6/14/2018 4:35 PM

MX915 wrote:

Going with an electric tankless heater is going to be the killer. With a tank water heater you do not have to generate the entire demand on the spot. You are generating a little at a time and storing it so the power requirements (KW) are lower. With tankless, you need to create the full demand flowing at that moment so as a result, you need more KW. You're first step should be to figure out if your elec. service can accommodate that kind of increase.

It's the same with gas tankless heaters. A 40 Gal storage water heater is 40,000 BTU/h where a tankless sized for the same load could use up to 160,000 BTU/h at peak.

Tankless water heater for my home (4 bed/2.5 bath, 2 adults, 2 children) would have to be 260,000BTU/hr according to published guides. Screw that...I have a 34k galon pool...my pool heater is 250,000BTU/HR. Not paying that kind of $$ to take a shower. Tank water heater is by far a better choice...much more economical

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Many thanks to everyone helping me out this GNCC season: SRT Offroad, Acerbis, FCR Suspension, O'Neal Racing, Evans Waterless Coolants, Rekluse, Twin Air, Braking Brakes, Carbsport

Profile image credit Ken Hill Photography

6/14/2018 7:56 PM

tcannon521 wrote:

I just built a 4000sq ft home with a crawl space and 10’ ceilings on the main level and 14’ in the living room. The home has 2x4 walls with closed spray foam (1” then BAT) on the exterior walls and the attic is sprayed (closed and open) slightly above minimum code. We chose to only go with a heat pump since it’s efficient down to 0° and TN rarely gets below that. We have gas for our rangetop, fireplace (never use it) and tankless hot water heater.

During the dead of winter when outside temperatures averaged 15° for the high in February our electric bill was $120.00 which was our highest so far. The average bill since October has been $92.00. Our gas bill runs about $45 dollars per month.

My only regret is not using 2x6 walls so we could have bumped up the R value in the side walls. Supposedly, I’m not missing much and the cost to benefit is a lot less but I’ll always wonder what if...

Did you have trouble with the outside unit icing up when it got real cold? Or did you switch to emergency heat?

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6/14/2018 8:29 PM

early wrote:

OP, when I bought my house (HUD foreclosure) there was a leak from the street to the meter at the house. The gas company was able to sleeve the line without digging it up. I'm not real foliar with it but it may be an option.

Georgie, you planning on building? If I built a house I would definitely go with 2x6 walls with r-19 insulation and vestibules/mudrooms at each door if possible. I lived most of my life with wood/oil heat and just recently moved into a gas equiped house. It is sooooooo nice. Makes you appreciate how easy it is. Kinda like if you ever camp for weeks at a time and have to plan out all your water usage carefully you are way more aware when you turn on the faucet.

tcannon521 wrote:

I just built a 4000sq ft home with a crawl space and 10’ ceilings on the main level and 14’ in the living room. The home has 2x4 walls with closed spray foam (1” then BAT) on the exterior walls and the attic is sprayed (closed and open) slightly above minimum code. We chose to only go with a heat pump since it’s efficient down to 0° and TN rarely gets below that. We have gas for our rangetop, fireplace (never use it) and tankless hot water heater.

During the dead of winter when outside temperatures averaged 15° for the high in February our electric bill was $120.00 which was our highest so far. The average bill since October has been $92.00. Our gas bill runs about $45 dollars per month.

My only regret is not using 2x6 walls so we could have bumped up the R value in the side walls. Supposedly, I’m not missing much and the cost to benefit is a lot less but I’ll always wonder what if...

early wrote:

Did you have trouble with the outside unit icing up when it got real cold? Or did you switch to emergency heat?

Per the analytics provided by my thermostat the strips never turned on. It got pretty close to 0° a couple of times last winter as well.

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6/15/2018 9:15 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/15/2018 9:17 AM

Would like to build but currently can buy preconstructed home for a lot cheaper. Cost of materials are up. All brick home built in 90s with great insulation way more bang for your buck. I think we just gonna stay where we are until the house is paid off. Which should be in another 7 years. Maybe buy during the next housing crisis if it occurs. But right now rates creepin up.


Where I live it gets down to negative teens for a couple weeks out of the year. Rest of the time it’s anywhere from 0-30. Once spring hits. 50-70. Summer 70-100. My current house is well insulated with 2x6 and a 4 foot crawl space. Central air. Natural gas is just nice. Very efficient. And so cheap.

Some that use oil and propane in the country are filling up for $2500. And that gets them about 3 months in the dead of winter.

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GP740
Since 1987

6/15/2018 10:26 AM

GeorgiePorgie wrote:

Would like to build but currently can buy preconstructed home for a lot cheaper. Cost of materials are up. All brick home built in 90s with great insulation way more bang for your buck. I think we just gonna stay where we are until the house is paid off. Which should be in another 7 years. Maybe buy during the next housing crisis if it occurs. But right now rates creepin up.


Where I live it gets down to negative teens for a couple weeks out of the year. Rest of the time it’s anywhere from 0-30. Once spring hits. 50-70. Summer 70-100. My current house is well insulated with 2x6 and a 4 foot crawl space. Central air. Natural gas is just nice. Very efficient. And so cheap.

Some that use oil and propane in the country are filling up for $2500. And that gets them about 3 months in the dead of winter.

It always seems odd that when the housing market is up ,it cost more to build a new house as well.

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6/15/2018 11:23 AM

DJBobbyD wrote:

Last week the a neighbor smelled gas around my meter and called SDG&E (city) and they came and shut it off and told me I needed to get it fixed and they would turn it back on. My home is about 200 feet from the meter so it would be very expensive to dig that all up to replace the line. They can test it but they charge $250 per hr so my idea is to get off gas altogether and buy an electric “tankless” water heater and electric dryer. I have solar and seldom use all of what I produce each cycle. Since the city shut off my meter and put a lock/clamp on it do I even need to tell them I don’t want to use gas anymore? Any plumbers here or in San Diego? Thanks??

Don't rely on public utility . Their famous for inexperienced techs and locking shit and telling people it's not on their side, instead of looking for the problem. When in doubt lock it out. Did they test the meter, regulator, fittings ?
If the smell is at the meter I wouldn't assume you would need to dig up gas line. Underground gas leaks saturate the soil and the smell stays around for a bit even after shutting off gas. It's likely a union or fitting within a few feet of meter. Bad regulator leaking through the vent, or the meter itself.
I would call a contractor. They should be able to get it sorted out. It should cost a lot less than a new dryer and water heater.
I don't know how much cost of gas is going up in CA but I think electricity and water will be going sky high here shortly. Sounds like we will be paying massive premiums if we go over our alloted fair share.

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