The Natural Gas Regulator You Never See Can Be Corroding!
Many schools don't know it, but natural gas pressure regulators - commonly sealed under-foot - often need replacement. The problem is complex: there is no code specifying, precisely, where regulators have to be housed. They can go along the gas line, entering the building, or be buried in 'vaults', which architects for schools typically prefer, for aesthetic reasons.
The result is that debris, moisture, actual pools of water, dirt and even squirrel nests, fill the 'vault' over a number of years.
So, basically, in many California schools - their natural gas pressure regulator is corroding, but not visible. Unless you call a company like MBS Engineering to perform a gas leak survey, natural gas can leak into the enclosed area.
What Is A Gas Pressure Regulator, Anyway?
It's worth noting that leaks in small, enclosed, places (like a 'vault') can fill the space with gas, creating a serious hazard for the safety of those in the area: faculty, staff, and even students.
The corrosion we typically find includes damage to unions/fittings, stuck shut-off valves, piping that is corroding from the inside-out, or outside-in, and the actual regulators themselves. While regulators in open air do tend to weather/age better, that's not a total solution in itself: the truth is many times hard piping was used, when the school was built, and PVC is considered a better material, today.
So, MBS replaces hard piping with PVC, and often moves the regulator location to right along the side of a school.
MBS has performed regulator removal/replacement, reinstalls and re-piping for a number of schools in California in the last month. Some of what we found would astonish you.
More information on Gas Pressure Regulators.