natural gas leak repair

cootieluOctober 16, 2012

We have a plumber coming to locate a gas leak somewhere in or above our garage. The gas company determined a leak exists because the pressure on the line was decreasing upon being checked. They turned the gas off.

The reason for my post is we called the gas company because of an odd smell, but it smelled more like tar. I've smelled natural gas before and it wasnt that rotten egg smell. I just called on a whim because we couldn't figure out what it was. Good thing we did. The gas is off now and the odor is gone but I'm just wondering if anyone here knows why it had such a strange smell?

Hopefully it doesn't mean its coming through the wall or the foundation or anything. Our house is only 7 years old.

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Gasfitters quite often run their lines through the attic. Do you know if the pipes are black iron (heavy, screwed together into fittings, old-style) or copper?

There's a new gas line out now, it's a flexible stainless steel with a yellow jacket. I really like it, and it, or copper will probably be the fix for your problem, when they find the leak if they have to run some new line.

Black iron lasts forever, but it can leak. Gasfitters are supposed to pressure test it when they put it in. Why something would leak seven years later is a mystery, have you done any work on the house - installed an alarm system for example, that would involve drilling up into the ceiling?

As for the smell, you might have gotten used to it, or it might just be the effect of that mercaptan (the scent agent they add to natural gas to allow you to smell a leak, it's otherwise odourless.)

Have you or anyone else looked up there yet? The other possibility of the tar smell is you have some sort of issue with your roofing, assuming you have asphalt shingles.

Let us know what the outcome is. I know you said the house is 7 years old, you MAY still have some building warranty left, or your builder may stand behind it for good will, if it's out of warranty. Have you contacted them? They may have had the same issue in other places built around the same time.

One row of townhouses I worked on had to have all the black iron pipe pulled out...the gasfitters had bought a new threading machine and they hadn't adjusted it correctly...when they pressure tested it, all the joints leaked.

It was at least 8 or 9 townhouses, and all the gas lines ran back to one end, so it was a big job, but they replaced it with the stainless stuff I mentioned. Much faster to work with. Only downside is, a nail or screw can puncture it. Black iron's nowhere near as vulnerable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mercaptan

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 12:36PM
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