Experts give tips for natural gas safety

Experts give natural gas safety tips

JEFFERSONVILLE, In. (WAVE) - As investigators try to determine what caused the explosion of a Jeffersonville home, state inspectors and the utility company said all things point to the gas piping inside of the home.

The utility company’s responsibility ends at the meter, something many may not realize.

“I don’t know exactly what to think about that,” William Short, a displaced homeowner said. “Where I live, my parents are older, so it makes you wonder how much of that is safe.”

Considering a home’s age is important. The house involved in the explosion was built in 1967. If an older home’s pipes go unchecked, they are at risk for corrosion and dangerous buildups.

"Any gas leak is dangerous because they don't get better, they can only get worse," Rick Allgeier of Allgeier Air & Conditioning told us.

In order to get those pipes checked, call an HVAC company.

"The gas line will be coming up out of the ground, through the meter once it goes into the meter it will go into the house," Allgeier showed us.

They simulated a gas leak with the water heater.

"Here's our gas connection to the water heater," he said as he used a gas detector which started beeping. "You can see that's got a leak."

The leak was so small, you couldn't smell it.

But it's not just the pipes you see, but also the ones hidden in the crawl space.

"You're not going to know that the gas is leaking because it's not in the house, so unless you were crawling into the crawl space you wouldn't know," Allgeier explained.

He says if a problem is found, maintenance work is well worth lowering the risk.

"A lot of times it will result in having to replace all of your gas piping with some new, modern gas piping that is guaranteed leak free."

If you are doing upgrades or working on your house, when it comes to gas, no shortcuts are allowed.

"Very important if you value your life, Hollis said. "You want to make sure you have no kind of gas leak whatsoever."

We visited Ace Hardware, originally in search of natural gas detectors, kind of like those for carbon monoxide.

But, most stores don’t carry them in stock, though they can order them. They sell for between 30 and 60 dollars. Some only work if they are near the actual leak.

If you are working on your home or those gas appliances, Hollis showed us caps, a must have to cover cast iron gas pipes. On top of that, he recommends using a pipe thread compound to seal the joint.

"It has a brush on the end of the thing, you just brush on the threads and get a good covering, once you have a good covering, go ahead and screw it in," Hollis demonstrated.

Both Allgeier and Hollis recommended calling the gas company immediately if you can smell an odor that could be gas.

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