Recognizing a Gas Leak Emergency
Additional indicators of a gas leak include symptoms such as headaches, nausea, breathlessness and dizziness, which may indicate early exposure to carbon monoxide. Pets exhibiting distress behaviours can also be a warning of increasing gas levels indoors.
Outside your home, you may notice unusual changes in vegetation around a gas appliance or lines due to gas displacing air around plant roots.
Note that natural gas is colourless and odourless on its own. Thedistinctive rotten egg smell is added artificially with mercaptan to help detect leaks.
While the smell of gas is a key indicator of a leak, physical symptoms or changes in pet behaviour are also crucial warnings. Awareness of these signs enables quick detection and response in case of a gas emergency.
Locating the Gas Meter Shutoff Valve
Your gas meter and main shutoff valve are typically housed within a protective casing on the exterior of your home, crucial for emergency gas shutdowns. Look for these near entryways, sidewalls, or boundary lines. Knowing how to use the main shutoff valve to turn off your gas is essential, as the location varies from property to property.
Before interacting with gas infrastructure, extinguish all open flames, such as cigarettes, to safely and easily use your gas shutoff. Shut down and disconnect any appliance gas units as a precaution using the safety shutoff valve if necessary. Having a flashlight within reach is indeed a good idea.
Meters for natural gas systems feature the main shutoff handle for halting gas supply. The unique setup of each system may necessitate a non-sparking wrench to operate the valve and cut off gas supply at the shutoff, intentionally located for emergency use. Some shutoff valves only need a quarter-turn, while others might require several full turns to activate the safety shutdown. For LPG systems, large cylinders may be fitted with a solenoid valve instead of a meter.
This is often referred to as the main shutoff in your gas system.
If you’re having difficulty and can’t locate your gas installation or emergency shutoff valve, please contact your utility company or a licensed gasfitter promptly for assistance to shut off your gas service. It’s critical to know where these vital spots are prior to an emergency event like a gas leak.
Steps to Shut Off the Gas Supply
- Stay calm, move to an upwind location, and shut off all gas sources whilst avoiding the leak area if possible. Stay clear of electronics that could spark, and ensure you turn off all appliances and mains to deactivate any gas present.
- Find your home’s gas meter installed outside. This vital connection leads to your main gas lines, and here you can turn off main supply in case of an emergency.
- Find the gas shutoff valves on the metre or LPG cylinder.
- Use a non-sparking wrench to turn the main valve on an LPG cylinder if needed.
- Ensure the off valve moves without impediment and remains accessible before you try to cease the gas flow.
- Rotate the shutoff valve a quarter-turn or as many full turns as needed until gas flow ceases entirely.
- Contact your gas company or your licensed gas fitter immediately to report the issue and arrange for professional repairs before restoring gas supply.
Safely Ventilating the Area
Ventilating the area is a critical initial measure when you suspect gas presence in your environment, before cutting off the supply. Here are the key actions to take:
- Press the stop button and open doors and windows in the affected area to enhance airflow, dispersing potential gas accumulation and making sure to turn off water systems as well as clearing all indoor spaces of trapped gases.
- Ensure all gas water devices and appliances such as stoves and heaters are turned off, with particular attention to fully powering down gas heaters. This includes extinguishing all gas appliances pilot lights on your gas stove and water system.
- Avoid using any electrical switches or devices during ventilation as these could produce sparks and ignite leaking gas.
- For fire safety, do not use items such as matches or lighters, and do not smoke, which may ignite gas or vapours, particularly from your water heater, while ventilating.
- If safe to do so, use a fan to circulate fresh air, essential especially for water heaters when you need to turn off gas to the hot water systems.
- Guide your family and others away from affected areas to avoid risk until the area is cleared of gas.
- Do not re-enter until licenced technicians have had the chance to inspect your property and ensured it’s safe to return.
After ventilation, follow the earlier steps to shut off the gas at your meter or cylinders. Ensure ventilation is done before turning off the gas to avoid ignition hazards.
Contacting a Licensed Professional
After stopping the gas flow during a leak, it’s essential to prioritise safety and contact expert technicians to assess, identify, and fix the problem before reinstating gas service.
Attempting to address complex components like the gas line and its connections to various appliances without a licensed professional can lead to further issues. Attempting makeshift DIY repairs on gas lines or fittings risks further leaks, ignition, explosion, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other critical safety issues.
For detailed guidance on natural gas and LPG systems, contact our experts on our gas leak hotline at 1800 427 for immediate assistance from licensed gas fitting technicians. We are available 24/7 to respond promptly and ensure your gas system is restored safely.
Alternatively, email email@example.com or complete our online contact form to arrange an appointment. Be sure to provide your contact details including information on the type of leak, gas system, appliances affected and any other relevant information.
In a fire emergency, such as a significant gas blaze or any life-threatening situation, vacate the premises quickly and dial the emergency number on 000 as soon as you are in a secure location. However, for the majority of gas leak scenarios, before re-energising gas utilities, reach out to local emergency services as our skilled team is properly equipped and authorised to address the problem and prevent additional hazards.
When It’s Safe to Restore Gas Service
Gas service should only be reinstated after a licensed gas fitter has thoroughly inspected the system and confirmed its safety. Reactivating gas or relighting appliances without professional approval risks leaks, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning, among other dangers.
After an emergency gas shut off, the technician will check the entire system, including:
- Inspecting all gas pipe, fittings, valves, and appliances closely for potential leaks using sophisticated leak detection methods
- Ensuring there is no gas lingering or accumulated water within the premises or seeping from the system
- Diagnosing and repairing the original leak safely
- Verifying correct reassembly and operation of all components
- Ensuring that the appliance burner operation is sound, and the pilot light is extinguished
Only once the gas fitter has confirmed through these safety checks that the system is fully repaired, reassembled correctly, and there are absolutely no remaining leaks or other issues, is it safe to start restoring gas supply.
The technician will switch the gas meter off during repairs and upon completion, turn the gas back on at the meter, ensuring gas your appliances are safely restored, then relight pilot lights and check burner function. You must avoid restoring your gas service yourself, as unsuccessfully repaired faults could result in additional shutoffs and further complications.
Rely on our seasoned, licensed gas fitters to decide the safe timing for restoring your gas service. We follow comprehensive procedures to certify repairs and restoration for peace of mind.
Gas Leak Warning Signs
Using Gas Meters vs. Cylinders
Your gas supply may come from natural gas via the main line or liquid petroleum gas stored in outdoor cylinders. Whether you need to shut off gas from the mains or LPG cylinders, the method of delivery differs between these gas types.
In Australia, gas is delivered underground to the property’s external meter, which is kept in the meter box. This meter monitors and controls gas flow to the home and includes a critical shutoff valve to turn off the gas during emergencies. An emergency shutoff valve is located on the meter to stop the gas supply in the event of a leak.
LPG, or liquid propane gas, however, relies on large refillable cylinders located on the property, either above or below ground. Each LPG cylinder has a valve to shut off the main gas supply, which needs to be closed individually in an emergency. A non-sparking wrench may be required to operate these valves.
While both systems use shutoff valves, natural gas is controlled by a central meter outside, managing the supply for the entire home. LPG systems use individual cylinders, with each one having its own valve for shutting off gas separately.