Shut off gas if leaking?

If I detect a gas leak, sometimes I turn the gas off and other times not. Usually it depends of the severity of the leak. This always worries me either way. I’m curious how other HI’s deal with this issue.

I’d suggest that you should **always **turn off the gas. I know I do and sometimes vacate the premises. Even a minor leak is continuous and in a closed environment could result in severe consequence. I would also notify the local utilities.

Andrew ,there is no such thing as a small leak.
They all have the potential to become big leaks .

Potential to be a big problem.:shock:
Guess that Duct Tape comes in handy, huh Bob! :))

Who told you about that that…
Oh you mean on the job.:wink:

Seiously, if you have a gas leak and do nothing, you are a nothing in my book.

Peoples gas here in Chicago would shut it down and so should you as a trained professional.

No excuse .Period.Call the Landlord, call the seller, call the gas company, but do not ignore what is due -dillagance.

How could you not. If something were to happen, well, I couldn’t live with myself.
Gas Fire Apt Bldg.jpg

So far **5 **“inspectors” say they either sometimes or never do anything…:shock:

Anyone is allowed, and therefore should, turn off gas even at the meter in the event of a leak. Even me, Joe Public.

But to turn it back on at the meter, most utilities require that only they do this. So it’s a one way street.

Funny coincidence …as I just got a call from someone regarding a stove fire.
He is going to send me pics tonight.

I voted “sometimes” because to say you always turn it off in the event of a leak does not take into account every situation.

I have no problem with turning it off but would any you do it in the middle of Winter on a -20 deg day for a very small leak?

In all cases the gas company and owner need to be informed.

If I can safely turn off without putting people and/or property at risk, I do. :slight_smile:

I agree. Always is a strong word. Most of the time would be more appropriate.

Other than being a Home Inspector , I also encourage peope to come to me for help .
I just had this photo E-mailed to me about one hour ago.

This is what can happen if getting involved is to much of a hassle.

stove fire (Small).jpg

I repeat…
If a gas company or Fire dept employee smells gas the shutoff is used till repair is made.
Is there any reason we should do less?

I agree with this. Let’s face it, some of the small gas leaks that we find with a TIFF have probably been leaking for years. Are you ging to be the one that shuts down the furnace in the middle of winter when it was a tiny leak in the attic or even outside? Always is a strong word. Most of the time is better. Either way, always let someone know. Sometimes I leave a note on the kitchen counter saying “gas has been shut off due to leak.”

If a cop stops you at a red light and starts whacking you on the head with his baton, do you ask him to stop, or just slow down.
My tires have been bald for years, so should I just leave them on till they blow.
If a home has unsafe handrails do you say nothing, since they have always been that way.
So what in the world makes you think a small gas leak is ok.?
Do you measure the amount of leakage and determine it is not a safety issue.?
Would you let your kids sleep next to the leak?
Guess it might be ok since they are strangers.
Do you right it off as ok.?

Your “sounding” a bit shrill Mr. Elliot(Bob).

It is a serious subject that I feel strongly about.
Risking anything should not be decided by us.
I have shut down two units putting families in serious danger in the last month.
I can repost if you like.
I had a fire Marshall at my side on one of them.
We made the guy fix it before we left, asit was pumping gas into a room full of children.
Thanks to my Tiff , we knew to correct the problem at the union , right outside of the return.
So forgive me if I get into a Tiff when I see this subject taken lightly.

And how long had it been leaking?

Not trying to diminish safety concerns in any way.

I have a tif 880A. It’s very very sensitive.

The tenant told me she had been smelling gas in the whole apt.
Four children.
I smelled it as soon as I opened the front door.
The HVAC unit was in a closet outside the apt unit, with a return that was cut into the closet as the duct was missing.

Look on the left for the wall vent cover to the interior.


If you can smell a leak Bob, why use the gizmo?

The tiff meters detect leaks about two magnitudes smaller than allowable.

Mechanical joints leak, period. Just because YOU can not detect a leak does not mean there are no leaks.:wink:

You want no detectable leaks, get a welded system. :slight_smile:

With the proper use of pipe dope and/or teflon tape and the small amount of pressure (usually less than 5 psi.) actually on the gas line inside the home, there should be no leaks. Yes the Tiff is very sensitive and will pick up small leaks at several magnitudes lower than what would cause a problem, but a leak is a leak and should be repaired regardless of the size. I recommend that any and every gas leak I find be repaired by a licensed plumber.

Do I turn the gas off…depends. The LEL (lower explosive limit) for natural gas is 5% or 50,000 ppm in room air. We smell the mercaptan added to the odorless natural gas at around 1% or 10,000 ppm. The TIFF 8800 detects flammable gas as low as 50 ppm (.005%). Gas does readilly disipate into the air and a small leak will not build up in a large area fast enough to cause an immediate problem.

Without an exact measurement on the gas amount in the air, if the TIFF detects gas and I do not smell gas in a large area, it needs to be repaired but gas stays on. If the leak is in a small area (closet, utility room, etc) that could be closed off to allow the gas to build, the gas should be shut off if you can smell it at the leak(s). If I do smell the gas in the area away from the leak, it is at least 1/5 of its explosive limit and the gas should be shut off to get the leak safely repaired.

BTW, I also use a TPI775 that digitally displays between 50 and 50,000 ppm flamable gas to get a more accurate reading of the area.