Natural gas line safety is ensured through regular maintenance and quick attention to gas line problems. Because homeowners are responsible for maintenance of their natural gas lines between the meter and their home, it is important to regularly inspect for corrosion, leaks and other dangerous and potentially life-threatening problems. Read on for some tips to keep your natural gas lines safe and in good working order.
Where are Natural Gas Lines Located?
Make sure you know where your natural gas piping is buried. If the meter is at the curb, the entire expanse of piping from the meter to the gas appliances inside the home is the responsibility of the homeowner. Property owners may not be able to pinpoint the exact piping route when pipes are buried deep in the soil, but an experienced plumber can trace them and inform homeowners of their location.
Avoid Damage to Pipes
Before homeowners begin a renovation project that requires excavation of their yard, it is vital to know and visibly mark the location of all natural gas lines. Once excavation begins, it’s important to only use hand-operated digging tools to remove dirt within 24 inches of any pipes. Even if the excavating equipment does not penetrate the pipe, any scrape or nick on the surface can lead to a leak in the future.
Signs of a Leak
An excavation project, a natural disaster like a flood, or regular wear and tear can all cause gas leaks. A leaking gas line is a serious emergency. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the less damage it likely will inflict.
The most apparent sign of a leak is the smell. Another method of detection is by listening closely near piping. A soft hissing sound may signify a leak. Always conduct visual inspections, both inside and outside. If you notice rust, call an experienced plumber. Other indications of a leak or pipe wear are dead grass over a buried pipe, or if a previously buried pipe is exposed due to fire or flood.
All property owners should know the exact location of the gas turnoff valve. Keep an adjustable 12 inch wrench on hand at all times. To shut off the flow, grasp and turn the valve until it is positioned crosswise to the pipe. As soon as you notice a leak, turn off the valve with caution. In certain cases, faulty wiring could have directed an electrical charge to the meter.
Homeowners should also know where each turnoff valve is located for all gas-powered appliances. If the leak is due to a malfunctioning appliance, you will not have to cut off gas to the entire home. After smelling gas or identifying a leak, do not use electricity in your home until the leak is repaired. Educate each member of your family on a specific evacuation plan so everyone can quickly exit the house after the smell of gas is identified.
Have a reputable professional inspect your natural gas lines, especially if you suspect corrosion or leaks. Also schedule regular inspections of gas-powered appliances such as a water heater and stove. Do not place any items near appliances that could interfere with their proper function.
Call Captain Plumbing for specialized, professional repairs and inspections to make sure the natural gas lines in your home are safe and working properly.