Shutting off Your Home’s Gas Supply

If you reside within a regular single family home, you have control over a few things that apartment and condo dwellers do not: natural gas and electrical supplies. Having grown up in earthquake country, my family came to understand the importance of shutting of the gas after a strong shake. These days, a lot of gas lines have automatic shutoffs that trip when jolted. They can save lives by preventing an explosion or poisoning.

While earthquakes make for a good reason to have a shutoff, there are other events that might require you to know where your gas supply is, and how to turn it off. If you have no clue about these things, the best way to get educated is to ask your gas supplier to come out and show you. The gas company doesn’t like to have problems, and they will gladly educate someone that is curious, and clueless.

“But I don’t live in earthquake country. Why do I need to know about these things?” Why? Because other things can happen aside from moving earth.

  • Your house may be catch fire. Once everyone is safely outside, you might be able to reach the supply (which is also outside) and lessen the damage.
  • You may detect a leak. Natural gas supplies are salted with a stinky additive that is unmistakable, somewhat similar to sulfur. Shut the supply after evacuation and you may prevent an explosion.
  • Similar to leak detection, you might actually break a line during a do-it-yourself project. Until the gas company can repair it, the supply will need to be shut off.

Get yourself a gas line wrench. It makes operating the valve so much easier, and prevents damaging through using the wrong tool.

This one shuts off gas AND water supplies. Hang it on your meter line, or on the wall next to the valve. Make sure it can be reached while at the valve.

Teach everyone in your household how to do this. If you have a working relationship with a good neighbor, tell them too, and offer to reciprocate.

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