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Old 06-12-2012, 08:23 PM   #1
Jakeintoledo
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Default Basement Brew--Using Natural Gas?

Guys,

discussing with a friend of mine, a future project down the road, which might involve setting up a permanent brew installation in my basement. I have heard the caveats about burning propane on turkey fryers in the basement. but what about burning natural gas?

The way I envisioned it would be a schedule 40 black iron pipe (what I understand to be suitable for gas supply) along a wall, and having a fuel-rated ball valve feeding out to a burner. I'd probably run a length of S40 black iron pipe off the burner, and couple it to a flexible connection.

My intention is to also discuss with another friend I know who is in the building trades, and discuss with local fire inspector. But I thought I'd throw it out here. If I used all equipment designed for natural gas, and ran the proper, rated lines to it, how would that be different than running a stove or gas oven in my basement?

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Old 06-12-2012, 08:29 PM   #2
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The same issues for propane apply to natural gas: zero gas leaks, fire-proof installation, plenty of fresh air for combustion (and human respiration), complete combustion to minimize pollutants, and extraction of CO/CO2 and water vapor.

Other than all that, you're good

Cheers!

[edit] The difference, if there is any, between brewing and cooking on a conventional range/stove, is the significantly larger (<= wrong word, I know) BTUs required for the former, with all the heightened degrees of issues therefrom...

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Old 06-12-2012, 08:31 PM   #3
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People cook with my gas in the kitchen all the time. I would be sure to have good ventilation and a CO detector, a well as having a professional run the gas lines.

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:00 PM   #4
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Hi

A few more details:

Your stove likely does not put out as many BTU's as your brew rig. Put another way it doesn't need as much air to burn as much gas the brew rig.

The stove (hopefully) has some cut outs built in to shut down the gas if the flame goes out. Most simple brew rigs don't have this sort of stuff.

Somebody spend major money worrying about how to keep the stove from melting / burning adjacent walls and the like. There's a lot of sheet metal and insulation in there.

A better comparison:

Take a look at how a commercial kitchen gets set up. They are dealing with something closer to a brewing situation.

1) Big vent hood with major blower(s) in it. Vent hood covers the whole area that open flame will be around.

2) Fire suppression system built in. Not much fun when it goes off in your face, but you don't burn down the building.

3) Very heavy duty structure / insulation under and around the hot areas.

That's closer to what you should try to emulate rather than a normal kitchen stove.

Bob

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Old 06-12-2012, 11:12 PM   #5
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The major difference between propane and natural gas as it pertains to utilizing indoors is that propane is heavier than air and natural gas is lighter. In my opinion this makes natural gas a safer option because it will tend to rise up and out of the structure apposed to pooling on the floor if there is a leak. Either way I would strongly recommend building your brew rig with furnace valves for the safety they provide especially when fixed indoors. Also you will need ventilation of heat, moisture and combustion gas as well as make up air. Keep in mind large burners are capable of depleting oxygen in tight areas without make up air.

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Old 06-15-2012, 03:54 AM   #6
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It would be different due to the out put of products of combustion. A range stove burner is 10,000btus and my hurricane burner is 200,000btus. The furnace that heats my home here in Chicago (it gets cold here) is 60,000btu's. you would need a vent fan to get so many room changes of air per hr and make up air from the outside. Don't forget CO hits stay with you for years, it's not like going out side makes it better. Check with your insurance agent if you can run a burner this big and still be compliant. Just some stuff to think about. Going natural gas will save big bucks vs LP. Think about running 240VA elements, much safer.
Mike

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Old 06-15-2012, 04:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikescooling View Post
[...]Don't forget CO hits stay with you for years, it's not like going out side makes it better.[...]
Not sure what a "CO hits" is, but red blood cells only have a roughly 120 day lifespan, so that would pretty much set the hard and fast "end of effect" from CO exposure - assuming one didn't succumb, of course

Cheers!
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Special Hops
People cook with my gas in the kitchen all the time. I would be sure to have good ventilation and a CO detector, a well as having a professional run the gas lines.
As people have said, the issue is that you are burning MANY times more fuel with these burners than you would with an oven. Because of this, you need to vent à LOT of air out, and allow for appropriate air intake as well. Which means that your idea of "good ventilation" is probably nowhere near good enough.

Even the *best* range hoods designed for homes will not come anywhere close to being good enough. You'd need a serious commercial hood and fan, even the cheapest of which will cost THOUSANDS of dollars.

Honestly, you're much better off just going with an electric brewery. Cheaper (both to set up and operate), safer, and BETTER in just about every way.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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Hi

If you head out to the wilds (as in 3 miles out of town), natural gas isn't a common item. Propane tanks to heat the home are often the way people go. I've certainly done that and it works quite well. The house did not explode while I lived there and neither did any of my neighbor's homes.

You can indeed handle propane safely inside a building. There are a number of rules to follow and you need to set thing up properly. Gas storage is always outside the building as is the pressure regulation. Once it's inside, it's handled a lot like natural gas, but not exactly the same way.

If you set up to do indoor propane your local building inspector will likely become your new best friend. Yes you will need permits. Yes it's a pain. No there is no other *legal* (or safe or wise) way to do it. Properly installed the stuff can be safe.

Bob

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Old 06-17-2012, 01:59 AM   #10
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CO is the biggest concern (far more than explosion). Your gas range can increase ambient co levels to harmful levels without ventilation. I went to a house a few years ago where the homeowner had the fire dept out on multiple occasions because she was boiling water in her residential gas range for extended periods to humidify the air. Not a lot different than brewing beer but way less gas consumption.

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