Powder Coating Tip of the Week: Gas Pressure Problems? Remember The Season

Ever have problems with your gas-fueled oven that defy logic? Many older ovens, particularly those that use “trough” style burners, are very sensitive to changes in their fuel supply. If you are connected to a natural gas system, seasonal changes can seriously impact your equipment’s gas supply.

To better understand how these changes cause problems, you have to remember that VOLUME (the total amount of fuel flowing through the heat system) and PRESSURE (the amount of force being exerted on the piping and burner of the heat system) are not the same thing. Countless problems can be solved by making sure that your oven always has a gas supply that is providing an adequate volume of gas at the correct pressure. Changes to gas line size, the incoming service/meter, and line pressure will all influence the way your equipment operates.

How do seasonal changes impact performance? Imagine if there is a school near your shop. During the school year there are numerous boilers, heaters and gas appliances running throughout the day. Once school is out, that demand goes away. The lines carrying fuel to your shop may be interconnected with the lines going to the school. Although there are devices in place to limit the pressure at your building and/or equipment, if the oven was set up at a time when the school was out of session, the demand on the system for fuel was much lower than it will be during the winter months. This can cause changes in the fuel supply coming in to your shop. In particular, you may experience situations where the total volume of gas that is available to your building decreases slightly.

Similar issues can be traced to nearby hospitals, large factories or office complexes that crank up their heating in winter. An unexpected cold front can also cause problems. The most commonly reported issue is linked to shop heaters. If you have heaters that are connected to your incoming gas line after it goes through the main regulator system, and the same line feeds your oven, it is very easy to starve your oven’s heat system of fuel when you turn up your shop heat.

The opposite problem can also occur. If your oven was set up when there was a great deal of demand on the system, and that demand goes away in the heat of summer, your oven’s heater can “over- fire” and become difficult to control. The most common result is an oven that steadily creeps above the desired setting or begins to trip temperature-related safety circuits.

By taking a moment to consider the factors that can change the quality of your oven’s fuel supply, you can successfully troubleshoot many common problems.