intermittent gas leak ?

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    • #278331

      hi all , thanx in advance for any help ,

      about 3 weeks ago i smelled what i thought to be natural gas in the stairwell to my basement after opening the door , it smelled fairly strong so i called the gas company and they agreed that they thought it was a gas smell and after about 90 minutes of searching the servicemans sniffer went off next to a valve on my furnace …

      he shut off the gas line to the furnace and told me to have the valve replaced , my plumber hasnt gotten to it yet so no work has been done yet …

      a couple of times since then i thought maybe i smelled gas again but not nearly as strong as the day i called the gas company …

      until last thursday , i smelled it again on the cellar stairs just as strong as the first time and so i called the gas company again , this time after 2 hours of soaping the pipes and investigatiing he could not detect any leak , and it seems as soon as you move away from the stairwell you lose track of the smell …

      he left without any solution to the problem and said it could be something other than gas and since his sniffer didnt detect anything (he said again that he could definitely smell ‘something’ that he thought was gas) that he didnt consider it an emergency and that i could call back anytime i smelled it and they might just replace all my gas pipes up until and including the meter if this keeps happening … even tho he could not locate any leak …

      i called my plumber and he also said its nothing to panic over and that he will pressure test my lines if i want him to as soon as he can get to it …

      the smell is back again tonight and i there is nothing down there that i can tell that could be causing it , no fluids , oil paints , solvents stored down there …

      one thing i do have is an opening in the end of the cleanout on the main waste line exiting the house , after the house trap , right before it goes into the foundation , i have a cleanout-like 8 inch Y off my main waste line , the end of this pipe has an opening in it the size of a half-dollar , it has been like that for 40 years or more (was my ganddfathers house) and this smell has never occured before to my knowledge … is it possible for this smell to be coming from there ? is sewer gas often mistaken for natural gas ? the gas technician didnt seem to think it was likely and it didnt smell over there in tht corner at all so maybe this is a red herring …

      well , that turned out to be a short book hehe , if anyone has any advice or even jsut some reassuring words that the gas tech and my plumber have the right approach here i would surely appreciate it , only been in the house a few months and its my first house using natural gas , the idea that i think ismell gas and im being told that its probably no big deal just seems so wild to me hehe …

      thanx for getting this far !

    • #298306

      Sewer gases can smell like combustible gases…in fact they sometimes are, e.g. methane…

      If the gas company guy had a “sniffer,” which is a combustible gas detector, he should have been able to locate combustible gas. Apparently his detector found none. I use a TFI gas detector, and they’re pretty sensitive. Of course you’ve got to know how to use them. They will detect many gases, including methane.

      Your smell may be just a septic gas odor that’s not really dangerous. On the other hand, it may be a problem, if the gas guy didn’t use his equipment properly.

      Bottom Line: call in your expert (your plumber) and have him give you a definitive answer for that odor. And of course get that identifoed valve leak fixed…


    • #298307

      Geez you fellas what is the world comming to????

      Get your gasfitter or the Gas Company gasfitter to undertake a “drop test” using a manometer ( water gauge) with all appliance valve turned in the off position.
      This test should be undertaken at the meter set and will show if a leak is present – in simple terms the water level in the column will drop if a leak is present no matter how small it is – pretty fundamental.
      A sniffer device is only any good after doing the drop test as it will help to identify where a leak is present – if in fact one does exist.
      It only takes 15 minutes to do a drop test to establish if there is any leak present in the first place and stops all the asumptions and guess work like is there a leak or not.

      Selgas Services Ltd
      Craftsman Gasfitters, Plumbers, Electrical Service Technicians

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