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Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

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  • Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

    Everyone should do this as a contribution to the safety of those who emply you:

    If you smell gas in the home, report it immediately.

    This time of the year when everyone closes up their homes, leaks that weren't obvious are now present.

    When you smell gas (mercaptan) sp? in a home, you have first and foremost a responsibility as a responsible human being to alert/notify the property owner of the condition immediately.

    Secondly, as a tradesman it is always in your best interest to give these property owners plenty of advice on these matters of the seriousness of the situation.

    In all the years I've been in this profession, out of all the times I've notified my local gas utility, only twice have I been incorrect in having them come out and checking for a gas leak.

    Today was another example of "The Nose Knows!" (trumpets sound off)

    Was at this house twice and both times I smelled gas at the base of the steps, no gas line in sight.

    Elderly customer is looking at me like I'm trying to bait the hook for extra services, I kept telling them, "Look, I've got a nose for this smell and you have a leak." I guess they felt that the tuna melt I had for lunch was trying to adjust in my lower colon because they stated that they've never smelled gas in their basement.

    So I told them that I'm positive there's a leak, it might be rolling down a joist space that's causing the smell to drop right at the base of the steps.

    The gas utility company shows up, has their sniffer set and on, they roll around to the side of the gas furnace and the shutoff valve leaking.

    Instant hero at that point and I replaced the leaking valve, customer now believes me and problem solved.

    It was a seepage leak, but any gas leak is a bad one.

    You have a responsibility, and a chance to earn more money on the job when these situations arise.

    Getting the gas utility company out there puts them in a "must spend" situation whether you are the one doing the work or not because they'll red tag and shut the gas down no matter what the situation, no matter how cold it is.

    You cannot bend on these issues when the chances are great for potentially harmful situation.
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  • #2
    Re: Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

    In this month's issue of Plumbing Engineer there's an interesting article on fuel gas odor fade that takes Dunbar's warning a step further. You'll find it on page 58 of the linked pdf.
    Though I have noticed that gas bled from an old line seems to smell stronger then from a new one, I didn't know that the walls of new gas pipe absorb ethyl mercaptan.


    • #3
      Re: Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

      I also plug all gas valves. When I see them open. It's usually in Rentals when the old renter takes the dryier. Wise post Dunbar


      • #4
        Re: Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

        I just switched gas co's the other day. The new co insisted on a $38 safety check, a fee I was not too happy about and would have passed on if given the option. Ended up finding a leak on the stove shut off. $38 well spent!
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        • #5
          Re: Protecting your Customers (Gas Leaks)

          Just like saysflushable, I always take care of a open gas line when I see it. Too easy for a child to turn that colorful handle and not know what's blasting out of that piping.

          In my area you can't flexie a water heater; the flex line has to be concealed by the fixture it serves.

          I get calls here and there where I've got to remove flared copper or a flexie and hard pipe it into the gas valve.

          If not that, it's finding those leaks on those gas lines that have spent years vibrating in the ceiling and the tapers of the threads going flat. Sounds impossible but then again, a rock can turn to sand in a stream over time.
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