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How Do I Turn off Natural Gas during an Emergency?

How Do I Turn off Natural Gas during an Emergency?

When we switched from all electric power in our house to using mostly natural gas, my first concern was keeping our home safe for our growing family. I did a lot of research to make sure that we knew everything necessary about switching to natural gas.

How do you turn off the gas? First of all, it is most important to remember that you never turn off the gas by yourself unless there is an emergency such as a natural disaster. If it is an emergency, turn the valve perpendicular to the pipe to turn it off. When the valve is parallel with the pipe than it is turned on.

Shutting of the Gas to your home

However, simply turning the valve off isn’t always the answer. Natural gas can cause a lot of danger when there is a leak and there can be a lot involved with finding a solution. It is very important to know what to do when you detect a leak and what precautions to take to ensure a fire doesn’t erupt. Furthermore, detecting the actual shut-off valve can be the first challenge to tackle before it can be turned off.

Where is the Shut-Off Valve?

On older gas meters the shut-off valve is on the pipe coming into the meter from the ground. However, on newer gas meters it is located on the pipe rubbing from the meter to the house. You will need some kind of crescent wrench to be able to turn the valve. It does not have to be turned all the way. It just needs to be turned a quarter turn in either direction. Once the valve is perpendicular to the pipe line than the gas line is shut off.

What do I do if I Smell Gas? How else could I detect a leak?

A gas leak can be extremely dangerous so being able to detect a leak is very important. The two most common ways to detect a leak is to either smell the gas or hear a hissing noise close to a gas line.  The gas leak will smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. Natural gas is odorless by nature but the smell is added for customers to be able to detect a leak and stay safe. Do NOT try to shut off the gas in case of a leak. Call the local gas company to inspect the situation immediately. They may ask you to stay nearby or give enough specific instructions over the phone for their technician to be able to find the leak as quickly as possible. Even if the gas company asks you to stay around, make sure you do not stay close enough to the leak to smell it the whole time. Get yourself (and anyone else in the vicinity) far enough away so that they are not inhaling the gas.

Is it Dangerous to Breathe in Natural Gas?

When the leak occurs outside, there is normally not much cause to be concerned. However, if the leak is indoors or in an enclosed location it can cause a lack of oxygen from the byproduct carbon monoxide which is very dangerous. It can cause headache, vision problems and fatigue. Some people have shortness of breath and lose consciousness. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed everywhere that uses natural gas. It is installed like a fire extinguisher and can help alert you to a leak and keep you and your family safe.

What other tips do I need to remember about Natural Gas?

Possibly the most common tip about natural gas is to call the gas company before you dig to prevent accidently puncturing a whole in a gas line. The depth requirements for the gas line to be buried depends on your local gas company. It is much better to be safe in this case than sorry. If you are digging further than a foot for a project- all the gas company to have them locate the gas lines.

The other important tip to remember is to keep your gas appliances properly cared for and maintained. Read the instruction manual and call a gas technician to fix and maintain any concerns. Be alert for any problems such as an unfamiliar odor or burning smell, any sign that a heater isn’t warming your house or is constantly running. Moisture inside of windows or soot can also be a sign of problems.

Related Questions:

How do you treat gas poisoning?

Call Poison Control immediately if you are concerned about gas poisoning. They will ask you questions and give you the proper instructions for helping the person with gas poisoning in the given situation. (1-800-222-1222)

How much does it cost to install a gas line?

How much it will cost to bring the main line to your house depends on how long the line has to be and the size of the pipe but in general it can cost between $400-$600 to install.