Addressing Natural Gas Meter Risks for Residential Areas

Homes and apartments come in a variety of options, but many of these residential properties have one thing in common - they use natural gas as an energy source. For those that use natural gas, they will always have a natural gas meter. It serves as an essential fuel monitor and distributor for furnaces, stoves and water heaters.

The most common type of natural gas meter has a diaphragm design in which two or more chambers are formed by movable diaphragms. These chambers alternately fill and discharge the in-flowing gas, creating a continuous flow rate. As the diaphragms fill and empty, a series of levers turn a crankshaft that allows the gas to flow into the property.

While they vary in design, all meters require a gas line, a crucial but vulnerable component. Damage to the line can result in severe consequences, leaking gas that pollutes the environment and could create an explosion.

Proper Protection

Up until now, the most common form of protection for natural gas lines and meters is the use of bollards, which are a series of short, thick posts cemented into the ground. The bollards provide a perimeter of impact protection around the gas meter at residential properties.

Bollards are robust and capable of handling strong impacts, yet they are also prone to wear, which means their integrity - after repeated impacts - will eventually fail and allow the gas lines and meters to sustain damage. Typically, bollards are designed to prevent vehicles from colliding with the gas meters, but they can only sustain so many impacts - or one incredibly strong one - before failing. Even while protected by bollards, meters are also susceptible to falling objects, such as heavy snow, ice or tree limbs. Additionally, high winds and ground settlement incidents are known to separate gas meters from their respective gas lines.

A New Solution

Fortunately, there is the patented HaloValve, a natural gas safety breakaway valve that runs in the riser pipe between grade and the gas meter. HaloValve serves as an intentional weak point in the piping assembly whenever a high-lateral impact occurs. When that happens, the valve disconnects, forcing the gas to instantly stop flowing.

When the valve disconnects, a ball inside the fitting is pushed by a force-loaded spring into the area where the valve has separated from the meter. The ball acts as a plug that instantly stops gas from escaping out of the supply line. By stopping the gas, the risk of fire, explosion, property damage and serious personal injury may be mitigated, as well as the loss of saleable gas to the atmosphere.

While bollards are a strong line of defense, pairing them with HaloValve provides a more substantial safeguard for natural gas meters and supply lines. All HaloValve models are constructed with corrosion-resistant 316 stainless steel with nitrile seals. A general-purpose HaloValve has a pressure rating of 300 psi (21 bar) and is rated for use in temperatures ranging from -40ºF to 212ºF (-40ºC to 100ºC). It’s available in four-and six-foot lengths, and both FNPT and MNPT connections. The HaloValve is currently compatible with 3/4-inch line sizes, though a 1-inch model is currently under development.