Soot Damage From Gas Logs

Although it has been several years since we’ve seen sooting damage from a set of gas logs, it still occurs. The main problem is that soot is created when a fuel such as natural gas or propane is burned incompletely.  That is, there is a lack of air mixed with the gas and as a result, carbon is not completely burned.  The excess carbon then appears as soot on solid surfaces.  Appliances, like gas logs units, that advertise the appearance of a realistic wood fire tend to burn with a yellow flame.  The yellow flame is an indication that the fuel is not burned completely.  Some older readers might remember when gas appliances, including log sets, were made to burn with a blue flame.  A blue flame indicated that your appliance was operating as efficiently as possible.  When the flame turned yellow, this was owner’s cue to have the appliance checked.  This is no longer true and hasn’t been true for at least 30 years.  As a result, homeowners don’t have any warning as to when their appliances need attention.  Many of the log sets made today come equipped with what is known as an oxygen depletion sensor.  The device is supposed to shut the log set off if the oxygen in the space drops to a point below what is required to operate the set.  In reality, soot can be produced before the oxygen level drops to an unacceptable level.  This is because the sensor does not sense oxygen, it senses heat from the pilot.  As long as the pilot is producing a flame and the sensor is detecting the heat, the main gas valve will remain open.

More Natural Gas Explosions

Last week, two natural gas explosions occurred; one in Allentown, PA on February 9 and the second in Hanover Township, OH on February 10.  Although it is too early to know what caused these explosions, the question of an aging pipeline cannot be ignored in either case.  An accidental explosion caused by excavation equipment is bad enough and the company doing the excavation can usually be held responsible.  But, when natural gas is ignited from a leaking pipeline, there is no excuse for the placement of consumers in mortal danger.  Gas utility companies insist that the transporting of natural gas in safe. It usually is safe – until there is an explosion!  Repair and/or replacement of pipelines is an expensive process and is usually deferred until absolutely necessary. We know this because if the repair or replacement was undertaken when the leak was discovered, there would be no explosions.  Since the explosion in San Bruno on September 9 of last year, there have been five additional explosions: Wayne, MI on December 29, Philadelphia, PA on January 18, Fairport, OH on January 24, and the two mentioned above.  Another gas explosion that occurred In Nashville TN has been profiled on our website ( click on “WSMV Iteam Report”). That incident was the result of a leaking pipeline.  Before these explosions occur, the public must be made aware of the danger to which it is placed by the utility companies and demand that the management stop taking dangerous chances with the safety of its customers.

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