Index of Gas Plumbing Terms
Air Mixer - Commonly used in propane gas appliances, an air mixer is an orifice that draws oxygen from the surrounding area to mix with the propane gas in the line in order to create efficient combustion. Propane has a combustion ratio of 24:1 (the ratio of oxygen to gas required for complete combustion), without providing adequate oxygen the resulting flames will produce soot. Using an air mixer helps prevent soot buildup and produce a more pleasant flame appearance. See also: Orifice, Venturi
BTU - Acronym for British Thermal Unit, refers to the unit of work needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In gas plumbing, BTU is commonly used as a rating for maximum amount of energy an appliance can put out. In many cases, an appliance's BTU rating not only refers to the maximum output, but the ideal amount of energy needed for proper use of the appliance.
Burner Pan - For both gas fireplaces and fire pits, a burner pan is used to harness the burner in order to ensure safe and secure use of the appliance. This pan serves several purposes for different appliances. In propane fire pits, it helps separate the air mixer from the burner in order to ensure proper oxygen mixing while for fireplaces it may serve to hold sand, vermiculite, or other fire media.
Enclosure - The general term used to signify the actual structure of your fire pit. Commonly, enclosures are made from paver blocks, stone, concrete, or other non-combustible material in order to "enclose" the fire.
Fire Glass - A type of fire media, fire glass refers to any sort of non-combustible glass that can be used as a decorative accent to a gas fireplace or fire pit. Fire glass comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as well as colors and styles - choosing fire glass should be an aesthetic choice, but be sure that your appliance is rated for use with glass.
Fire Media - The general term for any decorative enhancement used with gas-burning appliances, fire media refers to any type of lava rock, fire glass, ceramic fiber river rock, ceramic logs, or other enhancements that can be used to decorate an appliance.
Flange Extension - In our version of the standard gas fire pit kit, the ball valve is located on the inside of the fire pit enclosure and a long key must be used to feed through the sidewall of the enclosure. In many cases, the standard ball valve is not long enough to allow the decorative flange to be installed on the outside, so a flange extension is used to make the connection.
Gas Line - In the industry, any type of pipe that carries gas is referred to as your gas line. Gas lines may be flexible or rigid and can vary in diameter. Gas line size and distance from the gas source will impact the final output of gas, these factors are considered when gas plumbers choose to lay gas line to an appliance.
Gas Logs - Typically ceramic in construction, gas logs provide a realistic decoration to both gas fireplaces and fire pits in order to more closely resemble a real wood-burning fire feature.
Gas Source - The general term for what type of gas you're using and where it begins is the gas source. For most urban homes, your gas source is natural gas and is located on the side or back of the house where it comes in off of the city's streets. For most rural areas, propane would be the gas source and it typically would be a large, stationary tank that the gas company comes out to fill.
Gas Supply - Closely related to the gas source, gas supply more commonly refers to the quantity of gas - i.e. how many BTU or how much gas pressure you have available for use. See also Gas Pressure
Inside Dimension - When we reference the I.D. or inside dimension (also inside diameter), we mean the opening within your enclosure or the physical space your burner or fire occupies. Edge to edge dimension would, therefore, indicate the outside dimension, exterior dimension, or even total dimension.
Installation Collar - When using a fire pit pan for your project, installation collars may be used to provide a "shelf" or support for the pan to rest on. These collars can be mortared into the construction, or flexible.
Key - Many old types of gas appliances feature manual ball valves to control the flow of gas to the appliance, in many cases, these valves are controlled by decorative "keys" that open and close the valve.
Lava Rock - Another type of fire media, lava rock is a naturally occurring rock that is porous, relatively light, and contains no moisture - the latter being the most important when it comes to decorating a gas appliance. Many river rocks or other naturally occurring rocks have small amounts of water trapped inside and when heated will want to transfer into steam, because the water is trapped within, the steam can cause rocks to explode so it is very important to use media like lava rock.
Local Codes - The gas industry is heavily regulated both federally, and locally, all in order to ensure safe practice when using flammable gases. When we refer to local codes, we're indicating the zoning laws and regulations your city or state has enacted in order to continue the safe practice of using gas. Be sure to work with the proper authorities when planning a gas-related project.
Natural Gas - Methane (CH4), or more commonly natural gas, is most commonly the gas fuel type in urban areas where cities feature natural gas lines in order to supply homes and businesses. Natural gas burns with a combustion ratio of 10:1 (oxygen to gas) and the minimum ignition temperature of natural gas are 1,150°F
Orifice - Commonly used in propane gas appliances, an orifice is a gas fitting that features air holes that draw oxygen from the surrounding area to mix with the propane gas in the line in order to create efficient combustion. Propane has a combustion ratio of 24:1 (the ratio of oxygen to gas required for complete combustion), without providing adequate oxygen the resulting flames will produce soot. Using an orifice helps prevent soot buildup and produce a more pleasant flame appearance. See also: Air Mixer, Venturi
Pressure - In our industry, gas pressure refers to a quantity of gas - i.e. how many BTU or how much gas supply you have available for use. Gas Pressure can be measured in PSI or Water Column. See also Gas Supply
Propane - Propane(C3H8) is most commonly the gas fuel type in rural areas where the nearby city's natural gas lines cannot reach. Propane gas burns with a combustion ratio of 24:1 (oxygen to gas) and the minimum ignition temperature of natural gas are 920°F
PSI - Acronym for the imperial unit of measuring pressure, PSI (pounds per square inch), is the pressure resulting in the force of one pound applied to an area of one square inch. In our industry, Water Column is the more common unit of measurement as it is easier for plumbers to read. 1 PSI is roughly equal to 27.7 inches of Water Column. See also Water Column
Regulator - A common component used in gas appliances, a regulator can be installed in a gas line in order to adjust the gas pressure to ensure the proper amount of gas goes into the appliance. Many gas grills use regulators with the common 20-pound propane tank and many gas appliances like a gas oven have regulators installed already.
Valve - All gas appliances need a way to control the flow of gas in order for use and stoppage of use, this is where a gas valve is installed. Valves come in a wide variety of types based on the appliance it controls or the manufacturer's intended purpose. Common valve types include ball valves, millivolt valves, servo motor valves, maxitrol valves, electronic ignition valves, and so on.
Vent - Many gas appliances need adequate venting in order to allow the proper combustion to occur with the combination of oxygen and gas. In fireplaces, venting refers to the intake/exhaust from outside the home, while in fire pits it refers to vents located below the burner in order to intake fresh air and keep the unit cool.
Venturi - Commonly used in propane gas appliances, a venturi is a gas fitting that features air holes that draw oxygen from the surrounding area to mix with the propane gas in the line in order to create efficient combustion. Propane has a combustion ratio of 24:1 (the ratio of oxygen to gas required for complete combustion), without providing adequate oxygen the resulting flames will produce soot. Using a venturi helps prevent soot buildup and produce a more pleasant flame appearance. See also: Air Mixer, Oxygen
Water Column - Also known as an inch of water, the water column is an imperial unit of measurement for pressure just like PSI. The name originates by the convention of measuring certain pressure differentials across an orifice or pipeline the same way old mercury thermometers are used to show temperature difference in the raising and lowering of mercury-based on barometric pressure. 27.7 inches of Water Column equals 1 PSI. See also PSI