Friday, June 5, 2009

Do I need an air mixer for my fire pit?

You only need an air mixer for your fire pit if you are using propane. If you're using natural gas, an air mixer is unnecessary.

The reason for this is that propane, more dense than air, creates a byproduct of black soot when burned at the appropriate temperature to create the yellow flames we all love to see in outdoor fire pits. When propane gas is used with an air mixer, there is some additional combustion air added to the fuel at its burning point, which greatly reduces the issue of sooting. If you're buying a propane fueled fire ring, fire ring kit, or deluxe fire pit kit from Gas Products Company, an orifice and air mixer is added to your purchase automatically. That's just our way of helping to make your life easier.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Understanding BTU's Part II: Space Heaters

How should BTU's factor into choosing a space heater from Gas Products Company? First you will need to consider what kind of space you are heating. If you're looking for a heater to warm a warehouse-style room in which the doors are being opened and shut frequently, you'll want to look into commercial space heaters. These heaters give out radiant heat, which means that the warmth is absorbed into the walls and other surrounding matter before being re-emitted into the room, creating a very comfortable temperature even in cavernous spaces. For more private uses such as bedrooms and homes, you'll want to choose a residential gas heater. Here's how to factor in the BTU's:

1. Choose a room and take down the measurements- in feet- of the walls and ceiling. Multiply the square footage of the room by the height of the ceiling. The number you come up with is the volume of the room, in cubic feet.

2. Multiply this number by four if the room is poorly insulated, by three if the insulation is mediocre (3.5" thick insulated walls), and by two if it is well insulated (insulated walls of 6" or more). The number you finish with will be roughly the estimated number of BTU's you need to look for in a heater.

Remember that this formula is only a rough estimate, and if you live in a colder climate you will need an even higher BTU count. Likewise, if you live in a tropical area you will need a lower BTU count, or just a lemonade with a pink paper umbrella in it.

Understanding BTU's Part I: Grills

When comparing appliances such as space heaters, air conditioners, and grills, you may be wondering what a BTU is and what role it should play in your purchase decision. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and is in its simplest terms a measurement of energy much like a joule or a calorie. A BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. Roughly, this is approximately the heat generated by the burning of one wooden kitchen match.

So how should an appliances' BTU count factor into your decision? In the case of grills, you will want to look for a cooking BTU count of above 30,000. Typically, there should be approximately 100 BTU's for every square inch of surface cooking area. This doesn't mean that you should turn the heat up as far as it can go, but rather the BTU count is the potential for heat intensity you have available to you in your appliance. For example, you can sear a steak at a higher BTU and then lower the heat to complete cooking slowly.

However the BTU's play a role in the performance of a grill, it is more important that the construction is sound. Look for gas grills with not only a higher BTU count but ensure that the materials are of a high quality fabrication, such as stainless steel. You'll be able to enjoy a well-performing grill for many, many years to come.

What does WC mean?

When discussing gas pressure, you may come across the acronym WC or w.c., which is a measurement of pressure. WC stands for Water Column; it is a measurement based on an inch wide tube of water containing a hole at the side base of the tube. The taller the tube, the higher the pressure on the stream of water being delivered from the hole at the bottom.

For example, a 4" WC regulator refers to the pressure of the gas, not the width of the gas line. A typical 4" gas regulator can take the raw force of the typical 14" pressure of the unregulated gas line and reduce the pressure to the safe 4" WC, which is usable by an appliance. That said, most natural gas lines deliver gas to your home at a low 5-7.5" WC.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Understanding Regulators

What is a regulator?

A gas regulator or pressure regulator controls the pressure of the gas coming from the compressed cylinder (or live supply line for those who have a natural gas line) to the equipment that uses the gas, such as a gas grill, gas log, or gas fireplace. The gas regulator ensures that the equipment has a usable amount of pressure for the application, monitoring the pressure so that it doesn't exceed the necessary amount for the gas appliance.

A regulator is not the same thing as a safety valve for gas appliances . You must have a valve to turn the flow of gas on and off (in short, to turn your appliance off).

What types of regulators are there?

At its most basic, there are first stage and second stage regulators. The difference is that first stage gas regulators control all the gas lines coming off of the main line. Second stage gas regulators control the gas flow to a specific gas appliance.

For short-duration applications such as gas grills, a first stage gas pressure regulator will work sufficiently.

What type of regulator do I need?

This is a complicated question for a complicated subject. The type of regulator you need is dependent upon your application and there are many factors to consider. Setting up a gas-powered appliance is much more complex than basic garage workshop projects that could succeed or fail without major consequences, and we always recommend you consult with a professional installer before attempting to do so.

The purity of the fuel you are using is a factor in choosing a regulator. For example, are you using a gas tank? If so, is it LP gas (or propane gas) or some other fuel? Propane is considered a pure fuel which is a factor in choosing between regulators. You don't want to simply hook a propane tank up to a gas grill and light a match. For best results, read the product's specifications (or better yet, call the manufacturer and ask) for attaching a regulator and know exactly what kind of fuel you will be using.

Please don't double check your work. Triple and quadruple check your work and calculations. No amount of electrical tape will stop a gas leak; the pipes must be sealed with various specific fittings based on the type of gas line you have.

For basic gas grill applications, the regulator you will want to consider is a regulator with an 18" hose , although they are available in 24" long versions. Here is the regulator we usually prefer for side-burner gas grill applications.

As an example of how variable these items can be for so many different applications, this link represents the regulator used for table top (or camping) grill application.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What is a coupler?

There are many kinds of pipe fittings on the market. A coupler is a small threaded pipe fitting component that connect two male threaded pipes or lines. Couplers are used to complete fuel lines and other components of a fire ring, gas fireplace, outdoor fire pit, gas fireplace logs, and many other applications.

There are both black steel and galvanized steel couplers on the market. When it comes to steel, stainless galvanized steel couplers are what we recommend, as this kind of steel plate will resist rust better and longer than black steel couplers. Couplers come in all sizes to fit one galvanized pipe to another.

While searching for ways to connect two threaded pipes, especially if you're connecting a gas line, you may have come across the term "teeing" which refers to using a three-sided coupler, or a tee.

We always recommend consulting a professional installer when making connections with gas fuel lines.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Radiant Heat and Blue Flame

Whats the difference?
What kind of space heater is best for my house?

Generally, space heaters fall into two categories: radiant heat and blue flame.

Radiant heat, also known as infrared heat, transfers heat to objects and people in a room, warming the space without relying on heating air and then forcing it out into the room (forced air heat). The most well-known example of radiant heat is the sun. Another example is radiant floor heating. This method of heating is considered preferred in the industry but it comes down to personal choice.

Blue flame heat, on the other hand, heats the air in a room which then rises, allowing cold air to get to the heating source and then rise; this repeats until a room is warm. This method is also known as forced air heating. offers a variety of space heaters that are virtually 100% fuel efficient; reliable, safe, effective heating at your fingertips. And of course all units are CSA certified.**

**There are some guidelines for the size and rating of the space heater you need according to where you live in the nation.