Natural gas leaks aren't always easy to locate. While utility companies add an odorant to the gas supply to make it easier to notice leaking lines, this chemical is often unnoticeable for very small leaks far away from inhabited parts of your home. You'll almost certainly notice the smell of gas if there's a large leak near your furnace or stove, but you may not if the leak comes from a buried pipe outside.
However, detecting these leaks is still possible, even if they're seemingly impossible to reach locations. You can often shut down your gas appliances and check your meter. If you see the dials on the meter continuing to move even with the gas lines to all your appliances closed, that's a sure sign that you have a leak somewhere in your system.
Why Is It Hard to Find Some Leaks?
A typical residential natural gas installation includes a service line from the street to your meter and a building line that usually runs to an interior manifold. The manifold distributes gas via branch lines to appliances such as your furnace or stove. Your home may have numerous branch lines, depending on how many gas appliances you use.
The gas company owns and maintains the service line and meter, but the rest of the plumbing is your responsibility. Unfortunately, a leak that shows up on your meter will typically be your responsibility to repair since the meter can only show gas usage on or after the building line. Depending on your home's gas plumbing design, this leak may be in many places.
It's often relatively easy to smell gas leaks inside the home. Failing that, a plumber with a gas leak detection device can check your branch lines and appliance hook-ups to narrow down the likely location of the problem. On the other hand, locating small leaks in buried pipes or pipes that run through concrete slabs or walls can be incredibly challenging.
Do Small Leaks Matter?
Should you be concerned about leaks so small that they barely show up on your meter? The answer, unfortunately, is "yes." While a small leak may not pose an immediate hazard, that leak is likely to become worse over time. In many cases, a natural gas line may leak due to pipe corrosion, a condition guaranteed to become more severe as the pipes continue to degrade over time.
A leak in a hard-to-detect location may worsen with little or no warning. You may not smell gas or realize anything is wrong, creating an incredibly hazardous situation. The situation can become even more dangerous if you don't know the leak's location. Natural gas poses a real hazard, so it's critical to take even minor leaks seriously.
If you suspect you may have a leaky gas line, even if you don't have any hard evidence, it's essential to contact a plumber as soon as possible. A professional can evaluate your line, find the leak (even if it's in a challenging location), and safely repair the problem.
Reach out to a local plumber to learn more about gas line leak repair.Share
28 July 2022
Think about how different your life would be without plumbing. To get water, you would have to walk outside and pull it up from a well. To use the bathroom, you would have to venture out to an outhouse, which would certainly not be pleasant in the winter. We really have to thank plumbers for the work that they do, since it allows us all to stay comfortable and do our business inside of our homes. Life has been transformed, in so many ways, by the plumbing profession. Join us in honoring plumbers by reading the articles on this website.