Reliability of natural gas

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by rae, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. rae

    rae Guest

    Hello all,
    I'm considering replacing a semi-functional (decorative) fireplace with either ventless gas logs, or a wood burning insert, which is much more expensive. I live in the city, so wood will not always be easy to obtain.

    My main concern is for heat, should the electricity go down for any length of time.

    Does anyone know if the natural gas is dependent on electricity, or how fragile the system could be in a SHTF situation?
  2. flatlandr

    flatlandr Member

    natural gas

    I might be wrong but natural gas is pressurized from supplier that is pretty low in distribution pipe some where round 7 psi. as for TSHTF and no electricity there wont be gas for this type of fire place. from what i have seen these type of fire places are for watching and not for heat output. Im more into the wood stoves myself. If you are wanting a method to burn try methane from composted manure in a barrell actually a few of them with straw, water and a tight fitting lid all hooked to a truck inner tube to provide pressure. I have read of this in backwoodsman mag but not tried it myself. hope this helps!

  3. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    If you live in a major city you won't have to worry about gas pressure during a short blackout period. During the Toronto blackout the city (and most of the north east portion of North America) was without electricity.

    My parents didn't have power for over two weeks but their natural gas kept running. Stoves and everything else worked fine and did not lose pressure. In a prolonged blackout or in an isolated area I'm not sure what the effect would be.

    I don't know too much about how natural gas is delivered to homes but I'd assume that as long as the station that supplies the network has power (I can't imagine that it wouldn't have a natural gas or diesel powered backup generator) you'd be just fine.
  4. jebrown

    jebrown jebrown

    Natural gas suppliers have an easier time maintaining gas flow in an emergency. This is because most of the delivery is underground.
    Natural gas suppliers keep the gas flowing now matter what.
    Many city, fire department, emergency operations centers, hospitals are hooked up to natural gas for their emergency generators. It is a constant feed as opposed to a limited supply tank of gasoline or diesel that needs to be reilled periodically. This sometimes is impossible because storms can prevent delivery trucks frpm making deliveries
    We all are aware of what happens without emergency generators.
    Some business, retail outlets and industrial plants also have them.
    Gas suppliers don't know of every gas powered generator but they are aware that there are thousands of them depending on a constant flow of gas.
    Electrical still has a lot of above ground delivery. They also know that there are a lot of generators out there so they put less effort than they should into maintaining a reliable delivery source. They need to put delivery lines underground and they have in some areas . They use the same old tired excuse that it costs too much money.
    Truth is that every time there is a major storm that knocks out hundreds of thousands of peoples power they increse the electric bill to pay for the repairs caused by the storm. Once that raise is applied to the bill it almost never comes of. They continue collecting money even aftet the repair bill is met.
    I would opt for natural gas and not worry about a constant supply.
  5. tired-medic

    tired-medic Not Quite Done Yet

    A friend of mine once worked rebuilding Natural Gas compressors. I asked about old internal combustion engines that once ran compressor stations to supply gas. He told me that most plants still had them as backups for their electric driven compressors. I don't know if that is still current or not,it has been about 10 years ago. I still see the cooling and exhaust system at a couple of stations that I travel past.
  6. rae

    rae Guest


    for all the responses. It sounds like natural gas is pretty reliable. I'll be taking care of getting this set up this week. Flatlandr, thanks for your thoughts, but living in the city, there are so many codes, and I'd at least need a chimney which means I'd need permit etc.....

    In a pinch, I could pull out the ceramic wool in the chimney I have (not usable on a regular basis) and burn what little wood I could find!

    Again, I appreciate everyone's thoughts.
  7. vikx

    vikx Active Member

    My advice is this: some natural gas/propane heaters require power to work. I bought a gas stove with a fan but it will still burn and heat without the fan running. Double check this when/if you buy one; the heaters have different features and some will not work without the fan. VK

    PS: We have a wood fireplace, the gas freestanding stove, the gas furnace and Olympian wave catalytic heaters. Just in case.
  8. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

    We had a gas fireplace in NC, and it kept running thru a 2 week cut in the elctricity (due to an ice storm).