When you’ve got exotic critters that require additional heat to mimic their natural home, it’s a race against the clock when the gas line is shut down because of a leak.

That was the nature of an urgent call Frank Bonetti Plumbing received: The Oakland Zoo in California had a leak and needed help – quickly. To make the problem worse, they weren’t sure exactly where the leak was coming from.

Thanks to some smart thinking by Raymond Bonetti, as well as the use of MegaPressG fittings – the only gas press fittings available up to 4” in diameter – the fix was completed in record time, and all the animals were fine.

“Viega products and my idea made this two-day job into a two-hour project, once we had the Viega MegaPress products in hand,” Bonetti said. “The guys at the zoo were completely impressed with how fast it was done!”

Bonetti went to the zoo after getting the call to check out the issue. There were two 4” steel lines running from the meter; one had a valve on it and the other did not, and the gas company couldn’t determine which line was leaking.

“They said they needed a way to shut off each line, and I suggested we put in a second valve. They agreed that would be great,” Bonetti said. “The typical thing would have been to get a welder and have him weld in two flanges so we could install the new valve.

“But I came back to the office and went on Viega’s website, because I’d remembered seeing flanges [there]. I did a little research, then went to the distributor and got the flanges, along with the flanged gas valve.”

The gas company had already shut down the meter for the repair. The next challenge was the working area, which was not big. Bonetti said there was about three feet of pipe to work on before it went into the ground.

So his crew put everything together – the flanges and valve – measured what they needed to cut off the pipe, then cut, cleaned and slid everything together. 

“We rotated the valve to the direction we wanted it, pressed the Viega fittings, and it all happened in about two hours!” Bonetti said.

The zoo had placed temporary electric heaters where they were necessary, and thankfully it was only for a short time. With the two separate gas lines each now having its own valve, the gas company could run their tests to figure out where the leak was and fix it quickly.

“This would have been a day’s worth of welding,” Bonetti said. “We’d have had to bring in the welding machine, get a welder, purge the line before we welded, locate the welded flanges and everything. This was much easier.”

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