So, you think might have a gas leak? Locating and repairing a gas leak can be a time consuming and complicated process. Gas companies will tell you to hire a licensed plumber to detect, repair, and permit the finished gas line work.
Gas pipes can be made out of a variety of materials. The gas pipe from the meter to the yard is made out of a specially coated iron riser. This is an L-shaped ridged piece of pipe that the meter hooks on to. Sitting between that riser and another riser at the house is a poly plastic pipe.
Inside of the home the pipe will generally be iron or some type of corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST). Iron pipe is usually piped up and over the home in the attic with one large main trunk that runs the length of the house. Tees come off of the main line to feed different appliances in the home. If you are dealing with CSST, it will go up from the main line to one central manifold where it feeds an individual line to each appliance in a radial type formation (picture bicycle spokes).
Any of the sections mentioned above are places where a leak could occur. At the meter there are several fittings, including the meter and valve, as well as the top six inches of the riser. Many times subterranean pipes aren’t protected. They should be double wrapped where the riser comes through the ground. A gas leak typically occurs where the connection isn’t wrapped with the special black tape six inches in both directions.
Many types of gas leaks occur outside of the home:
- At the riser on the house end of the pipe
- Connections at the manifold and shut-off valves that have not been properly installed
- Improper installation of flex lines, and gas lines in older homes, that have had pipes run with copper tubing
- Natural gas eats right through copper, especially at connections where the copper has been flared
Homeowners beware when having your roof repaired! A gas line can leak when it has been improperly installed right next to the roof decking. Most of the time roofers don’t look to see what’s under the roof before nailing new roofing down. It’s common for gas pipes, especially CSST, to be punctured by roofing nails.