Gas Shutoff Valves
Gas shutoff valves are manual control devices that can be closed to stop natural or liquefied petroleum (LP) gas to specific appliances or entire buildings. Gas lines run contain a main shutoff valve to the entire home, and supply or service gas shutoff valves for individual appliances like heating systems, stoves and dryers. With helpful guidance from professional plumbers, learn how to locate gas shutoff valves.
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Main Gas Shutoff Valve
In a main building, natural gas shutoff valve is located just before the gas meter. This valve is often referred to as the street-side valve, and cannot be readily used by building or home owners - only the Gas Company, plumbers, heating contractors and fire department personnel. Home owners can use the house-side main shutoff valve located after the meter, and usually before the first gas appliance. New homes equipped with a flexible copper pipe running from the meter to the utility room have a higher pressure gas system. In this case, the main gas shutoff valve is located near a furnace or water heater. Very old homes may not be equipped with house-side main gas shutoff valves at all.
Supply Gas Shutoff Valve
Aside from house-side main shutoff valves, gas appliances are equipped with individual, supply shutoff valves - usually located within 6 ft. of the actual appliance. Supply gas shutoff valves can be closed to stop the supply of gas to a specific appliance such as a water heater, gas fireplace, or oven without cutting off gas flow to the rest of the house. Most service valves are equipped with single handles – when gas is flowing the handle will be parallel to the gas line while a perpendicular position of the handle indicates gas flow is cut off.
Pilot lights of appliances will be extinguished when you close main or service gas shutoff valves. New appliances are equipped with “pilot light–less” electronic ignition systems that automatically relight pilot lights. You will have to relight pilot lights of older appliances that lack automatic ignitions. Follow instruction manuals to relight extinguished pilot lights. Local plumbers or Gas Company personnel will be happy to help you with any relighting problems.
Gas Leak Precautions
When gas leaks into a closed space the slightest spark can set off a great explosion. Using a telephone, turning on/off a light switch, static electricity from clothes – can all produce dangerous sparks.
You can close the shutoff valve only under the following conditions:
- You have detected the exact source from which gas is escaping.
- Gas has not been leaking out for a long time.
After closing the gas shutoff valve evacuate your home. If you are doubtful about any of the above conditions, simply get all house members out of the house. Call the Gas Company from a neighbor's home.
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