Did you know that this could happen: If your gas company has a report of a gas leak at your home or if they detect one, they can come out, turn off your gas and remove the gas meter entirely. This is true even if it’s you who reports the leak.
During the time your meter is gone, obviously, you’re going to have no gas service. That might mean no hot water, furnace, fireplace or ability to cook, depending on which appliances in your home run on gas. Just as obviously, it’s a priority to get your gas meter back so we’re going to cover what should happen next.
1. Call a plumber immediately
Schedule them to arrive as instantly as possible. In fact, if the first plumber you call tries to schedule you on a delay, call another one. Once any needed repairs are done at your end, you will still need to take some steps to retrieve your meter so you need a plumber on site ASAP.
2. Find the leak
The plumber will begin testing any connections in the line to find a leak. These connections could be where the gas line enters the house, where it connects to your appliances, or in the attic or the crawl space under the house. Be aware, however, that in some cases, these joints could be inside your walls, requiring the plumber to cut some holes in your sheetrock.
How does the plumber test for leaks? They add pressurized gas to your gas distribution system and then watch a pressure gauge they’ve connected near the site of your missing gas meter. If the pressure gauge falls, even if it’s very slow, this shows that air is leaking from the system. That’s when your plumber becomes a detective, going from one connection point to the next, spraying each one with a soapy mixture that will bubble if there is even a tiny little leak.
3. Fix the leak
The plumber finds one or more leaks and fixes them.
4. Make other repairs, as needed
This one might surprise you. The plumber must bring the entire gas system up to code, meaning it must be in compliance with all local regulations. If they find anything else improperly installed or in need of repair, you must also make these repairs before you can get your gas meter back.
5. Get a permit for inspection
Your plumber then submits an application to your city inspectors for a permit to get an inspection to verify that any leaks have been eliminated. This will typically be an additional cost to the repair costs.
6. Get the inspection done
The inspector comes out and verifies that all leaks have been eliminated and that the rest of the gas system is up to code.
7. Call the gas company
As soon as the inspection passes, you call the gas company and let them know.
8. Get your meter back
The gas company comes back and replaces the meter. The timeline on returning the meter is a minimum of three days.
Because of all the steps required, you can see why it’s so important to get this process started at the first moment possible and that your plumber works efficiently on needed repairs.
What Rocketman Plumbing Does When Your Gas Meter Is Taken
There’s a specific pattern we follow when we act as gas leak detectives to retrieve your gas meter. We’re going to close all the stops (turnoff valves) to your appliances, pressurize your system and watch the temporary gas gauge we install. If we see no leaks, then we can suspect that the location of your leak is where your gas lines connect with your appliances. This is usually a faster, cheaper fix because we are not having to crawl under your home or around in your attic to do our repair.
Next, keeping the system pressurized, we’ll open the connection to each appliance and look for bubbles around that connection. When we find the leak, we repair it and then verify that there are no more leaks. Sometimes, we find that there are old gas stops that don’t fully shut off the flow of gas. We will need to replace these.
In a worst-case scenario, the leak is in a concrete slab under a home. Homes have not been built this way for twenty years but, of course, there are plenty of older homes in Albuquerque. Hopefully, we find the leak in a more accessible location.
We will schedule our technicians to come to your home at your preferred time and inspect your system from end to end. This is the best way to prevent the kind of emergency where you lose your meter, hot water and the use of your appliances.
If you do lose your gas meter, we will treat this emergency just as urgently as you would like. Call us at (505) 243-1227 whenever you need our help.