Becoming a new homeowner can be one of the most pivotal times of your life. However, while you're soaking in all the magic of your new home, don't forget about your homes natural gas lines for your own safety. Here are 6 things that all homeowners should know about their own natural gas lines:
1. Know where to find your gas lines
First and foremost, you need to be able to identify and know where your gas lines are. In Canada, the most common materials residential gas line piping are steel, black iron, HDPE (high-density polyethylene), and copper.
After you've identified what your gas line looks like, it's a good idea to visually trace all the paths of your gas line. By doing this, you'll get a sense of where your gas line begins and ends, and which paths feed which appliances.
2. Know the shut-off valve and the pilot light
The component of your gas line that you, as a homeowner, will use the most is the shut-off valves. Due to this fact, you should be able to identify when the shut-off valve is open or closed, as well as know which shut-off valves close off which lines.
The second most used part of the gas line by a homeowner is the pilot light of your furnace or gas fireplace. If you don't know, the pilot light is a small flame kept alive by a small amount of gas that lets you use your appliance on a whim, instead of having to relight your gas appliance every time. What you're looking for here is a burnt-out pilot light. A common cause of a burnt-out pilot light is when the thermocouple detects an irregularity in the gas output, which could mean a gas leak or just a faulty thermocouple.
3. Know how to do a visual inspection and when connections aren't looking too good
Hopefully you won't have to worry about this until after your home is 20 years old, but it can't hurt to know how to identify a worn down gas line. As time goes on, we recommend do a visual inspections annually. So, how do you do it?
The main signs of a bad gas line that you want to be looking for are corrosion on the gas line, majorly exposed connections, and dead vegetation. First, if you see any cracks or corrosion on your gas line, that's a clear sign that you need to call a professional to get it fixed. Corrosion typically happens near the joints or connections in your gas line, especially at the joints between your gas line and your gas appliance.
Second, if your gas line connections are more exposed than you remember them being, you need to call a professional. Typically, because of the way the pipes and connections are threaded, there will be a little bit of exposed threading on the pipes, but if you suspect there's too much showing, this is a problem that could lead to a gas leak if it already isn't doing so.
Lastly, if you have an underground gas line, or one near any plants/vegetation, and you notice dead patches of vegetation, this could be a sign you have a leaking gas line that's killing the plants.
Visually inspecting a gas line is all about knowing what you're looking for. As a wise man once said, you don't pay a plumber to bang on metal, you pay him because he knows where to bang.
If your home is more than 20 years old, we recommend getting a professional gas line inspection annually, as the gas line will be close to the end of its life and the chances of a damaged gas line system will only increase year after year.
4. Know how to recognize a gas leak
This coincides with the last point, but instead of your eyes, you'll be relying on your nose. Oftentimes, people equate the smell of natural gas to rotten eggs. If you smell natural gas, exit your home and contact your gas provider or 911.
5. Know how to leak test your gas line
As a new homeowner, it'd be wise to know how to leak test your own gas lines, especially if you suspect a leak, but aren't quite certain enough to call a professional.
First, you want to get yourself some Masters Leak Detector. Next, you'll want to check out this blog, 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Gas Line Repairs, by clicking here. We go over four steps, in detail, about how to identify a gas leak and leak test so, you're sure.
6. Know the correct safety procedures for when you know you have a leak
As we said above, natural gas often smells similar to rotten eggs. So, if you ever get this smell coming from your basement or around your gas appliances, like your stove, open your windows and doors and be sure to turn off any pilot lights and close those shut off valves. If you suspect a severe leak, leave the property before calling the authorities. Call your gas provider if you know their number or have it saved. If you can't call the natural gas provider quickly, call 911.
Bonus: Know when to call for help
Know that it is illegal for you to work on most of your own gas line - anything before the CSA approved valve must be done by licensed professionals. If you need help with your gas line, feel free to contact any of our 5 locations. Barbecues Galore have been Canada's trusted gas experts since 1979. We have licensed and legally certified gas fitters in Calgary, Alberta and Burlington, Oakville, Etobicoke, and the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. Click here to get started.
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Trusted experts since 1979, Barbecues Galore has the best selection of live fireplaces, barbecues, patio furniture, and outdoor heating supplies. We also sell barbecue accessories and everything else you need for exceptional grilling and backyard experiences. With locations in Calgary and the GTA, you can visit us in-store or shop online. online. Calgary North Store: (403) 250-1558 | Calgary South Store: (403) 258-4440 | Burlington Store: (905) 639-5952 | Oakville Store: (905) 844-3224 | Etobicoke Store: (416) 546-3266