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What to do with the gas during an emergency

Posted on: October 26, 2012

A natural gas leak in your home can be very dangerous—especially if you don’t know what to do or how to react. Fortunately, the steps you need to follow are pretty simple and easy to remember, even in an emergency.

Shutting off the Gas

If you smell gas in your home, the first thing you do is get everyone safely out of the house as quickly as possible. Next, go to your gas meter—it should be on the side of your house (it’s a good idea to know where your gas meter is BEFORE you need it!). The valve you want to adjust should be located on the first fitting coming out of the ground. It’s a ball valve, so when it’s in line with the pipe, it’s in the OPEN position. To shut it off, grab a wrench and give it a quarter-turn until it’s perpendicular—this will close it. Most valves have a set of holes to lock the valve in place, so line up the holes to be sure the valve is totally closed.

Once the valve is closed, call 911, the gas company, and James A. Wheat & Sons (in that order) to make sure the problem is fixed before you try to reenter your home.

How to Relight Your Pilot

Once the gas leak has been taken care of, you’ll probably get the “all clear” to turn the gas back on. Once you do this, you’ll have to go back and relight your furnace pilot. This is pretty easy to do. First, go to the furnace and turn the gas valve off. Yes, we know you just turned the gas back on, but trust us—you don’t want to hold a match to a full gas stream! Next, get a long fireplace match (this will be much safer than a regular match). Next, set the gas valve to PILOT.

Hold the match to the pilot valve and press the red button. Hold the button down for about a minute to give the pilot time to heat the thermocouple, then release it. If the flame goes out, wait five to 10 minutes, then repeat the process.

Once the pilot stays lit, set the furnace gas valve to ON. If you can’t get the pilot to stay lit, call James A. Wheat & Sons! We’ll come by and see if we need to adjust or replace your thermocouple or pilot.