Like most homeowners, you probably don’t know much about the utilities that run through your house. What a great time we live in, not having to worry about the power when we turn on a light or wondering if there will be water to fill our glass when we get thirsty… Or even having to worry about how to heat our homes when the weather starts to turn cold.
Speaking of cold weather and heating your home, if you’re thinking about gas insert or gas log set fireplace installation, you may be trying to figure out whether or not you need a gas line installation completed.
If you have a natural gas meter on your property or any other gas appliances, then you certainly should have a gas line nearby. From the gas meter, gas flows to a network of smaller lines that run underground, and behind the walls of your home to each gas powered appliance, like a gas stove, water heater, furnace, or fireplace.
Instead of waiting until there is an emergency that arises, let’s go ahead and discuss what you need to know about gas lines and how to find them.
What Are Gas Lines?
Gas lines, which are also referred to as gas piping, are the pipes that bring natural gas or propane from the outdoor supply system into your home. There are two types of gas lines in your home.
- Branch lines: These are segments of gas lines that extend from the main gas line, or primary supply line, to supply gas to individual appliances. These types of lines can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on the layout of the gas distribution system. The size of the branch lines depends on the gas load requirements of the appliances they connect to.
- Drop lines: Also referred to as risers, these are vertical sections of gas lines that connect the branch lines to individual appliances. These lines are often concealed within walls, floors, or chases to protect the gas line from damage. Drop lines sometimes have shut off valves near the appliance for convenient control and maintenance.
What materials are your gas lines made of? Well, this can vary depending on when your home was built, where you live, and the professionals who installed the gas lines. The most common piping materials are either PVC, black iron, corrugated stainless steel, galvanized steel, HDPE (similar to PVC), or copper.
Why Should You Know the Location of Gas Lines in a House?
It is important to know the location of your gas lines for a few reasons:
- Safety: Because gas lines carry highly flammable substances, you always want to make sure you are being careful anytime you are working around gas lines. By avoiding gas lines, you eliminate potentially dangerous situations from occurring.
- Preventing accidental damage: Anytime you are renovating, remodeling, or working on landscaping, knowing the location of the gas lines will help prevent any damage to the lines, which can result in costly repairs, disruptions in your gas supply, and leaks that could lead to other scary situations.
- Emergency situations: In the event of a gas leak or other emergency, it is vital that you know where your gas lines are and, more importantly, how to shut off the gas supply to your home to minimize the risk of further damage, fire, or even an explosion. Knowing where the valve is allows you to respond quickly and appropriately during emergencies.
What To Do if You Think You Have a Gas Leak
If you have an interior gas leak, the first thing you’ll likely notice is a strange odor. Natural gas is odorless, but gas suppliers add a distinctive sulfur-like odor to help identify leaks. People often compare this smell to rotten eggs. Another sign to note is any hissing or whistling sounds coming from gas pipes, connections, or appliances. And if the gas leak is on the outside of your home you may notice dead vegetation nearby – or possibly an unexplained increase in your gas bill.
If you notice any of these things, it’s important that you evacuate the area immediately, and call 911 and your gas company. They will be able to run a pressure test to determine if there is a leak.
Always be prepared and have a plan in place with the members of your household, so you know exactly what to do in case of an emergency.
Need a Professional? Call Winston’s Chimney Services
Take the guesswork out of trying to find your gas lines and hire a certified Master Gas Fitter instead. The Master Gas Fitters at Winston’s Chimney Service have extensive hands-on training so you can be confident you and your home are in good hands.
Call us today at 703-379-5006 or schedule an appointment online with us now.