1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 12, 2008

:012 Gas Leaks

Filed under: :012 Gas Leaks — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :001, :002, :011


1:5:10:012 Tip:Gas Leaks can be dangerous and waste energy. Natural gas is odorless, but the utility company generally adds an odorant that makes it smell like old tennis shoes. Most “bottled gas” companies do the same – but not always.

A couple of weeks after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake I was called to a home where the owner was having headaches and feeling bad. There were no odors but I used my explosive gas meter anyway. What I discovered was the gas line to the hot water heater was leaking large amounts of gas. I evacuated the home and shut off the gas at the tank (located about 50 feet from the house). It amazes me that the home hadn’t already exploded. It turns out the hot water heater had been knocked over by the earthquake. It had been righted but not inspected.

You may be able to determine if there are hidden gas leaks using the same method you used for checking for hidden water leaks on day :009 –  but this is more difficult if you have pilot lights that continuously use (waste) gas. Tomorrow’s 1:5:10 Tip will cover this topic.


Additional Information:

The experts at safety.com tell us:

“If you smell natural gas or suspect a gas leak, it is important to act quickly:

  • Leave the premises immediately, opening doors and extinguishing any open flames, if possible.
  • Do not unplug or plug in any electrical appliances, or turn off or on any light switches. This can cause a spark that could touch off a gas fire.
  • Call your gas company or 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s phone. Operating a telephone in your home can also cause a spark.
  • Do not smoke or light matches near your home. And be careful with some flashlights, as turning them on may cause a spark.
  • Do not re-enter your home until a gas company official has inspected the premises, made any necessary repairs, and deemed it safe.”


If you can shut the gas off safely, this is how:




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