All of the homeowners in SPE have natural gas service, whether it is used or not. Based on some recent events, if your gas service is enabled in any way, there are a few things of which to be cognizant.
Unless you have your gas terminated at the outside of your house, you have gas supply. If you are using the original HVAC equipment or have replaced it with an equivalent unit, at a minimum you are using it for heat. The same goes for hot water so even if you are not using natural gas for your clothes dryer or stove, you are using it for something and there is natural gas in the feed pipes.
The first thing to know is that the natural gas lines for our houses run over our roofs, not in our walls. This is actually good in that it provides easy access to the pipes if this is necessary and it is easy to check them for leaks. The importance of this, however, is to make sure that if work is done on your roof, that these are not damaged. Even if they are not damaged, make sure that they are not impaired in any way. The pipes are propped up off of the roof by blocks and I found that after roof work was done on my house, the workers had removed the blocks to work on the roof surface, but did not put most of them back. This can put undue stress on the pipe and cause the joints to break down and potentially leak.
Many homes have gas run to their backyards for barbeque grills. These lines are underground and have a real possibility of corroding over time. If you are using your grill on this line, make sure that if you notice any drop in line pressure that you have the line checked out. If there is a leak, Southwest Gas will need to come out and if there is gas in the line, they will shut off you line to remediate it which generally requires digging in your back yard. It has also happened that they have shut off service to neighboring houses for safety reasons. They can shut off the outside line at your meter and turn your inside gas back on but to repair the line you will require a licensed plumber, which can be very costly.
If you have a line to your back yard for a BBQ grill and do not use it, you should think about having it blocked off at the meter, if it is not already blocked off. Even if you do not use the line, if there is gas in the line and a leak develops because of corrosion, you can have a safety problem. This will require Southwest gas and/or a plumber to accomplish.
The implications for all homeowners:
-Outside gas lines eventually will corrode. Be cognizant of this. If you do not use yours, consider having it blocked off by the gas company at the meter. If you do, monitor it carefully.
-Watch your inside lines carefully. Even if you do not use gas, you can develop leaks on the feed side of the shut off valve. If you ever have a plumber in for any reason, it is quite easy for them to do a “bubble” test at each of your gas feed lines. Make sure it is done on both sides of the feed valve as well. If you ever have your gas turned off for any reason, make sure that a complete pressure test is done out at the meter to see if you have any loss of pressure in the system. If you have any questions about the integrity of your gas lines, have someone come out with a detector and have them tested inside and out.
-Lastly, most of the gas lines in our homes are run down from the roof. This is good in that there is access, but make sure that if you have any roof work done, that the lines are not disturbed and that if the lines are not supported by blocks between the line and the roof or if the blocks are removed by people doing roof work, that they are replaced.
Gas line safety is important for you and for your neighbors.