Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/195

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

allowed to run for forty-eight hours without changing the card, thus super-imposing the record of the second day upon that of the first. Note how closely the readings for the two days agree. The governor is a protection against excess of pressure only; if the street pressure falls below eleven tenths—the point at which my governor is set—automatic regulation ceases, and my gas simply becomes subject to practically the same variations as exist on the main. Happily, the latter condition is infrequently realized in our neighborhood. No argument is needed to prove how successfully a governing device of this nature can cope with the trouble indicated by Exhibit 1, or how utterly inadequate it is to afford relief from the evil depicted in Exhibit 2. Increased pressure is the only remedy for the latter.

The gas company does not recommend the use of these house-to-house governors—presumably because such a recommendation would be in effect an admission that the service as now maintained by the company is not satisfactory. Indeed, the less enlightened officials—and it is these, unfortunately, with whom the consumer has generally to deal—positively and unreasoningly condemn all such regulating devices. In spite of this, there exist to-day several gas-reduction companies, whose sole occupation consists in exploiting various gas-pressure-regulating appliances, which are rented to consumers for a certain percentage of the monthly saving in the gas bills which their use effects.

It would appear to be a self-evident proposition that when one pays for gas delivered at his meter he is entitled to receive that gas under such a pressure as will afford the most satisfactory service. This pressure is found to be one inch. Making due allowance for reasonable fluctuations of a few tenths above the normal, any further departure from the standard may be taken as a sure indication of a disinclination on the part of the company to meet the expense of new pipes and regulating apparatus. The time is not far distant when the public will demand, not cheaper gas nor better gas, but a more satisfactory service. But before condemning the gas company one must look to his house piping. The company's responsibility ends just inside the meter, and from that point the consumer must provide satisfactory appliances, giving the same attention to the gas pipes as he gives to the plumbing. This is seldom done and the company is frequently blamed for the neglect of the householder.

The gas engineer, steering between the Scylla of 'poor' gas and the Charybdis of excessive pressures, finds himself still 'dangerous in the rapids' of financial expenditure. At present he is doing the best he can with the money doled out to him by the management.

It will be observed that up to the present point the gas meter itself has played no part in the discussion. The meter, although greatly maligned, is in reality an eminently satisfactory piece of mechanism.