PSA – Check Your Gas Lines!

I would like to give you a serious public service notice / reminder based on my own experience over the past two days. In the short story, Matt and I knew we had both ongoing and unnoticed gas leaks in our house, and we didn’t know how long the gas leak had been there. When I found out we had these gas leaks, I was really scared. I mean, I’m sure we’ve all seen videos of homes literally buzzing because of gas leaks, like it and itand for some reason, constantly checking our gas lines is something that never crossed our minds.

Our gas leaks wouldn’t even have been noticed at this point if not for the fact that the gas company had been working on our street for about four weeks replacing all the gas lines and gas meters. It’s a very extensive project, and will kind of get in our way for a while, but it’s clearly needed. The houses on this street were built in the late 40s and early 50s, and I believe all the lines they replaced were original. So for about four weeks now, every house on our side of the road has had several large holes dug in the front yard. At one point, they dug about three big holes in our front yard, but now here we are at it…

And they’re all about 5 to 6 feet deep, with shiny new gas lines running down the bottom of the holes and canals.

However, this went on for several weeks, as I said, and they finally ended up by changing the actual meters in all the houses. The amoa was replaced on Tuesday. I was working in the bathroom, and they were just outside the front window (in the gym at home) changing our meter. It was a very fast -paced process, as they beat the pipes and made all sorts of noise.

I noticed that the noise stopped around 5:00 pm, so I took a break from my work to walk outside, and sure enough, they had already finished installing our new meter. I don’t know why this one is so far from the house (the old one is in front of the house), but there’s only so much reason.

However, I didn’t think much of it. I just went back to the bathroom and continued my work, and I was working quite late at night.

On Wednesday morning, I went to the kitchen to cook a meal for Matt before I went out to have lunch with my mom. I tried to turn on the burner, and nothing happened. It didn’t light up, and I never smelled gas. I was very disappointed, so I went out to look at the new meter (as if I knew what I was doing or what I was looking for 😀), and when I opened the front door, I noticed that a yellow door tag hanging on the side. door.

Apparently the Atmos Energy guy came to buy to relight (i.e., to turn on the gas, relight any pilot lights, and make sure our gas appliances were working properly), but I didn’t it was heard when they knocked on the door. because I was working in the bathroom with the door to the gym at home closed and my earbuds in my ear.

So I called Atmos Energy to have someone come out, but I would go and come out all day on Wednesday, so they couldn’t schedule it. Yesterday (Thursday) I had no plans until late at night, so I called again to see if anyone would send them. He got here for an hour, and I expected about ten minutes of work where he turned on the gas meter, then went in and made sure the stove was working, and then turned on the pilot light on the water heater. , and so on.

Well, that’s not what happened. Before they can do a relight, they need to make sure there are no leaks in any of the gas pipes in the house. And if there is a noticeable leak, they will not be able to turn on the gas in the house. And sure, we have a leak.

The way they check for leaks is quick and straightforward, which means there’s no excuse for us not to do it regularly from now on. In the picture below, you can see our gas meter on the outside. There are two pipes coming out of it. The pipe does not loop and then goes down to the ground and out of the way. That’s the pipe through which the gas is delivered to our house. Then the gas goes through the meter and into the pipe on the right where it goes to the gas lines under the house and to our appliances (stove and hot water heater).

To test the gas lines in the house, they removed the connector where the gas pipe on the right (the one that enters the house) is connected to the meter, and then removed the meter from the outlet.

And then they have a gauge that they attach to that pipe that goes into the house. The gauge has a small manual air pump on it (the gauge and air pump remind me of the gauge and air pump that are on the manual blood pressure cuff), and they use that small pump to pump air into the pipes until they see gauge. a specific pressure, and then they wait about 15 minutes to see if it can control the pressure.

Obviously, if it’s holding the pressure, you’re good to go and the gas can be returned. If they can’t control the pressure, there’s a gas leak somewhere and they can’t get the gas back.

Well, we had a gas leak, and it was very important. That means I have to call a plumber, and since it’s a fairly extensive project on our street about four weeks now, there are about two plumbing companies they’ve contracted, and they’re already on our street working. in other houses. So fortunately, they arrived quickly and took care of the leak.

Our drop was in the pipe that delivered the gas to the original hot water heater, located on the right side of the garage (which is now my studio). It was a pipe that was no longer in use, so they just crawled under the house, cut the line, and covered it up.

I’m so thankful that they found it quick and easy, but also a bit intimidating. If I remember correctly, we turned off the hot water before we moved into this house (or maybe soon after), and we’ve been here 8.5 years. So who knows how long it has been leaking? Because of where it’s located, and because it’s under the house, it’s not something we can smell. If there is a gas leak inside your house, you stink. If I accidentally leaned on a knob on my stove and turned on the gas (which I did a few times), I could smell it for a few seconds. But we should never have smelled this leak because of its location.

However, they fixed that, and I called the Atmos Energy guy back, and he did his gauge test again. This time, his gauge showed that we had a very small and slow drop somewhere. Ug! Very sad! The good thing is that he can easily find it. The bad thing was that it was leaking from a connector on our hot water heater. He tried tightening the connection to see if it was loose, but it wouldn’t tighten. That just means we have a faulty connector.

I go back there all the time! Our hot water heater is right next to the washer and dryer in the sunroom. How in the world have I not yet smelled a gas leak?

He went back and forth on the gas in our house AFTER making sure the valve on our hot water heater was turned off. He told me that I could call the plumber back to replace that hose/connector for me, or that I would replace it myself. He showed me how to do it (super simple, like replacing a connector hose for water under your bathroom sink) and then how to test for leaks after they are connected by spraying water with connection soap and finding bubbles.

Obviously that’s my top priority right now. My poor kitchen was a mess after three days with no hot water and no way to wash the dishes. ⁇

But it all turned out to be a real wake up call for me. There are a lot of things we get rid of homeowners, but making sure the gas pipes are in the right order to work, and that there are no leaks, is never one of those things. That’s very seriously something to neglect, and the consequences of neglecting gas pipe maintenance can literally be a matter of life and death.

A mistake we can no longer make. Of that, I can be sure. And if you have gas in your house, I really want to encourage you to check yours regularly. The test itself is quick and easy, so if all goes well, you’ll just pay your plumber’s service fee. And if they notice a problem, the cost of fixing it is well worth the price because it can literally save the lives of you and your family members. Don’t delay it!

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