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Old 05-20-2016, 08:18 PM   #1
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Gas Leak - Maby?


In my basement the laundry / furnace / Water Heater / Storage is in a small section. Over the last month or so I've occasionally noticed that if nobody has been down there and I walk past the furnace / water heater I faintly smell what I believe to be natural gas. Only for an instant. If I sniff around, it's gone.

Tonight I sprayed soapy water on the fittings and see no bubbles other than the suds from the spray and when I questioned what I saw and wiped it clean, I see no bubbles at all with another squirt of water.

Is this worth being concerned about?
Is there a better way for me to detect a leak?

My working theory about why I smell it now is this:
1. We're not running the furnace / AC since the weather has kept the house reasonable.
2. I recently installed a new 'smart' thermostat that lacks the nice circulate function that my previous one did so there's nothing mixing the air.
3. I thought maybe leftover gas from when the water heater burner turns off but that seems a long shot to me.

I'd order a plug in gas detector but those I've seen highly rated on Amazon also have many folks complaining that any hydrocarbon can set them off.

I'm going to e-mail the customer service of my gas company as well to see if they perhaps come out with a 'gas sniffer' as a co-worker called it.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by bmax1985; 05-20-2016 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Mistyped something
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Old 05-20-2016, 08:58 PM   #2
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Re: Gas Leak - Maby?


Yes it's enough to be concerned about. I was smelling gas here a few years ago and it was my hot water tank. The gas company came in and "red-flagged" it and I had to replace it. Much better to catch it now before the issue becomes serious enough that your house explodes! The gas company does the inspection for free, well, at least here in Ohio they did.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: Gas Leak - Maby?


Same here in NY. Before you order or buy one of those expensive gas sniffers call your gas company first. They will know for sure if you have a leak or not.

If they do fine a gas leak, they will turn off the gas and red tag the appliance or pipe until it's fixed. They will not fix it or pay to have it fixed.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:11 AM   #4
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Thanks Gymschu and jmon,
Called my utility who sent a guy right out and I'm glad I called.
- Leaking Valve stem on furnace line
- Leaking Union just past the leaking valve
- Leaking pilot connection on the water heater

One valve, One union, and a small wrench for the water heater later and no leaks detected. He said the leak at the union was substantial so I imagine I'm looking forward to slightly lower gas bills as well.

I'd never touched any of that so perhaps it's been that way the whole time I owned the house which seems like the inspector should have tested for gas (which he did not).
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: Gas Leak - Maby?


One note for any future people who come across the thread--the advice to call the *gas company* was spot on. I know somebody who called the fire department, and the guy they sent checked but didn't find anything. When the gas company was called a few days later they went into the basement for half a second and then came up and told everyone to get the hell out of the house.

Then they brought over half a dozen supervisors to dig up the gas line, because it hadn't been touched in over a century and was leaking like wildfire, but this was also during a strike. A month later they replaced every gas line on the block, none of which had been touched in a century either.

YMMV, of course, and maybe your local fire department is better at this, but I would always ask the utility first.
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