Multiple Gas Leaks--What's going on?

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-22-11, 08:40 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Multiple Gas Leaks--What's going on?

I'm a renter and have been living in the same house for 3.5 years. Recently I have had multiple gas leaks. I'm trying to figure out if there is any reason to be concerned about this and if these leaks could be related. It seems strange that I would go years without a single problem and then have so many gas leaks back to back all over the inside and outside of my home. More details below. Sorry for the lengthy explanation in advance. I'm trying to give all of the information just in case.

Prior to any of the gas leaks I started having problems with my hot water heater. The pilot would not stay lit. I suddenly started having to relight the pilot daily. I called my landlord, and he sent someone over who claimed the hot water heater was fine. The next day it went out again. Maintenance came and replaced a part on the hot water heater.

The following day, I came home and smelled gas in the house. I called the gas company and they found a gas leak behind my stove which they repaired for me. They checked the furnace and hot water heater, but did not find any other leaks. (The gas co. did tag the furnace due to a pipe that needed to be replaced b/c the type I had is prone to cracking. They also tagged the door to the hot water heater, but not b/c of a safety hazzard.)

Two days later I was in the yard and smelled gas outside. I again called the gas company. They found a gas leak on the hot water heater outside. What was really strange is that they said that it was coming from a bolt that had never been tightened on the part that maintenance replaced. I asked it could have come loose, and they said no, it was completely loose. This made no sense to me because I had not smelled any gas coming from the hot water heater since the repair, and the gas company had inspected it since the repair and hadn't found the leak. Bizarre.

Several days ago I thought I smelled gas in the laundry room. I convinced myself that this was paranoia from the last gas leak. Today, I opened the door for a friend who immediately smelled gas. I called the gas company again. They didn't find a gas leak in the laundry room. They did, however, find another gas leak inside the stove. They cut off gas to the stove, red tagged it, and said to contact my landlord for a repair.

Just now, I walked in the laundry room, and there is definitely a gas leak in there. It's coming from the wall. Why, I don't know.

So this is my question. After having multiple gas leaks I asked the gas company if there is a possibility that they're related and whether I needed to have some sort of inspection done. They said they didn't think they were related. I should probably trust their opinion, but it still seems so strange to me that I would have so many gas leaks all over the place in such a short period of time. (Stove, hot water heater, laundry room, stove again.) I'm walking around paranoid all of the time. Fortunately, I only got sick from the first gas leak, and that was nothing major. I slept it off. But I'm nervous about the constant gas leaks in the house and supremely annoyed with my landlord who gripes at me for calling the gas company. (That is exactly what you are supposed to do when you smell gas in your house! I don't particularly enjoy waiting in the yard for the gas company for hours on end!)

If anyone has any idea what might be causing all of this please let me know. Sorry again for the long post!
 
  #2  
Old 02-22-11, 09:13 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,154
Received 68 Votes on 60 Posts
Lets step back one moment. I no its a concern but lets identify some things.

1. Did the gas company check the meter to make sure the regulator was good?
2. Forget the HWH gas leak, that was installer error.
3. The leak at the stove that the gas company fixed, would it happen to be an old style gas valve with a packing nut? They are notorious for leaking and not un-common. Should be changed.
4. The furnace was probably the grey aluminum gas flex that are know to crack. These are not to code anymore. The gas company was right and it should be changed.
5. The stove would have to be an old pilot type appliance to be leaking internally. Its probably old and faulty. If so needs to be replaced.
6. Laundry room nothing was found, but if the gas dryer has an old packing style gas valve or grey aluminum flex hose it sure can be the issue. Thats where I would look.

All and all I would say its all coincidence and I would not worry so much. I would do this since you are renting:

1. Have the landlord change out all packing style gas valves and grey aluminum flex lines to all appliances. Stove,furnace,HWH,dryer....ect
2. He needs to get you a new stove. Spark ignition. I dont think you can buy one with pilots.(If it is pilot but even if not its faulty)

All you mentioned above sounds like typical leaks from older out of date appliance connectors and valves that have been known to leak. Plus one stove and a installer error.

Hope this helps

Mike NJ
 
  #3  
Old 02-22-11, 09:27 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
1. I don't know if the gas company checked the meter the first few times, but they did check it today. He checked it after he cut the gas to the stove.
3. The first gas leak on the stove was in the middle of the line, not at the valve.
4. Yes, that was the problem with the hot water heater. And the gas co. confirmed that it's now up to code.
5. Yes, the stove has a pilot. There is a leak somewhere inside the stove. The technician from the gas co. found the general area of the leak but couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from. Hopefully my landlord will just replace the damn thing since this is the second leak, but he's cheap, so I doubt it.
6. Thanks for the advice. I'll leave a note for maintenance to check the laundry room tomorrow and see if these need to be replaced.

In general, thanks for the advice. My mom is convinced that someone is trying to kill me at this point. I find that pretty laughable, but I was paranoid that there was some overarching problem that was causing all of the leaks. It sounds like it may be outdated parts. I'll talk to my landlord and see what he can do. Unfortunately, the maintenance that he sends over is usually incompetent. Note that the one who "fixed" the hot water heater caused another gas leak. When EIGHT people showed up to fix the two code violations, they left one completely untouched. It's frustrating.
 
  #4  
Old 02-22-11, 09:36 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,499
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
lawrosa is giving good advice. You just need to work through the problems until they are fixed.
 
  #5  
Old 02-22-11, 09:46 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Oh, one other question. Is it likely that the leak in the laundry room would be intermittent? I smelled it for a couple of days. The gas guy didn't smell anything. I smelled it very strongly a couple of hours after he left when I sniffed inside the wall. Now the smell is gone again.

I'm asking because I'm leaving a note for maintenance. I want to make sure that if it's intermittent, he doesn't just ignore it if there's not an odor when he comes by.

(He tends to ignore things. When the hot water heater kept going out, I told him that I had been relighting it daily so it needed to be repaired, not just relit. Of course, he relit the pilot and left. Grrrrrr! I know how to relight the hot water heater. I don't need a maintenance man for that. Sorry for the shameless venting...I'm just sick of cold showers, the smell of rotten eggs, and the endless procession of service technicians.)

Thanks for the good advice. Hopefully it will all be resolved soon.
 
  #6  
Old 02-22-11, 09:53 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,154
Received 68 Votes on 60 Posts
A gas leak would not be itermittent unless the appliance was faulty. How do you smell in the wall? Are there gas pipes going in the wall in that area?

Did they fix your HWH? If not what is the make and model? I can give you a suggestion to have maintenance repair it. I could almost bet its a AO smith.

Mike NJ
 
  #7  
Old 02-22-11, 10:18 PM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,499
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Gas leaks can be intermittent.


I remember one in particular that was investigated by the gas company and other contractors several times without being located. This was is a good sized condo of 100+ units.

Each "stack" of condos had a fuel line going up from floor to floor behind the wall with service for two units teeing off on each floor.


I cut the gas line at the main floor parking lot, capped off the gas fireplaces in each condo and applied air pressure to pressure test the gas line. It wouldn't hold pressure at all.

After allowing air to pour through the pipe, I coould go from unit to unit until I could hear where the leak was coming from.

I tore into the wall and found that the 1" gas line going up from floor to floor had two 3/4" lines teeing off at each floor. One of the 3/4" pipes had cracked at the pipe threads where it came out of the 1" tee ---as if someone had stomped on a long piece of pipe to get enough leverage to crack the pipe. (Very likely caused by the pipe or building settling)

I imagine that at some times the building expansion or movement allowed that crack to leak, and at other times the crack was held firmly closed.


There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.
 
  #8  
Old 02-22-11, 10:31 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,154
Received 68 Votes on 60 Posts
Thats not fair...Thats not typical!!!!....LOL. Very interesting. You must have been made royalty for finding that. Did they make you fix the wall????

Mike NJ
 
  #9  
Old 02-23-11, 12:18 AM
SeattlePioneer's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 5,499
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Nope. I make whatever holes in walls I need ---- repairing them is someone else's job.


I take care to minimize the damage I need to do. In the last story you'll notice than in a with a stack of condos 6-8 stories high, that had had multiple people out to investigate gas leak complaints I

1) found the leak following my systematic investigation

2) located the gas leak without needing to make ANY holes in the walls

3) only made the holes need to make actual repairs.


The condo association paid my bills without complaint. I left the damaged fitting for the condo owner, which probably gave them a reassurance that the problem had been dealt with effectively.


Most gas leaks are little fizzers that really aren't a hazard. This one could have created a major explosion had that crack opened up or broken off.

Anyone paying attention should have been VERY happy with how I did that job, in my opinion!
 
  #10  
Old 02-23-11, 09:20 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I haven't had any further problems with the hot water heater. It seems to be working find now. No new leaks.

I was able to smell inside the wall because there's a cutout in the wall where the lines run into the washer. The only lines I see appear to be for water, hot and cold water and one for drainage. When I stuck my nose in there yesterday the gas almost knocked me over. Now I don't smell anything. Is it likely that there's a gas line in the wall? Even with the hole there, I can't see down into the wall. I can only see the faucets/hoses coming out.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: