This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gas meters

Yesterday we had a quick tour of the new headquarters of the city gas utility. While I was there, I received a very informative guided tour, and along the way I learned a lot about gas meters (and also gas regulators--the bit of equipment which lowers the pressure of the gas from the pressure in the pipeline to a much lower pressure for your home use.)

The gas meters are in the middle bay of the new gas building. The meter below is a model that is not longer used and has been kept as a historical artifact. Notice that to read it, you need read all the little dials. The more modern meters have dropped the dials in favor of a digital readout. And the really modern ones allow the meter reader to drive down the street and read the meters electronically--he never needs to get out of the car.
On the bottom are some really big meters that would be used by businesses that use a lot of natural gas. Above them on the right are the meters that are common for residential use. The big meters are no longer being installed for new users because they are obsolete, but they are kept in case one of the existing ones develops a problem.
The new meters that replace the huge meters are much smaller and work on a different principle. The older meters use a bellows principle to measure the flow of gas, while these small industrial meters are rotary meters.
I have never given gas meters much thought, but was quite surprised to learn that there has been constant technological improvement in them over the past thirty years.

The city gas department provides gas well beyond the city boundaries. There are gas lines as far west as the golf course, as far north as Antcliff, as far east as the old Marion School, and at least as far south as Houston's subdivision.

Did you go to the open house for the gas department? If you did, what did you learn?

Update: By the time I got to the open house, HoleyMoley, the mascot whose purpose is to publicize the 811 number, the number that you are supposed to call in Indiana before you dig so you will learn if there are any underground utilities, had left. I did take a survey that was intended to see if you knew about 811, and I think I gave wrong answers to every question.

The Rensselaer Republican reported on Friday that the gas department paid $272,000 for the building, which has approximately 20,000 square feet of space. The old building had 7,800 square feet.


Anonymous said...

I live a mile south of Houston's addition and have city gas and so
do a couple of my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

I have family that gets city gas past 16 on US 231 south.