Maintaining Natural Gas Pipes
We diligently maintain company-owned pipelines to ensure safety and efficiency. It is important to remember, however, that as the customer of record, you or the property owner are responsible for customer-owned gas lines that begin at the outlet of the gas meter and extend — either above or below ground — to natural gas-burning appliances. Of such customer-owned gas lines, buried gas lines are notable because, if they are not properly maintained, they may corrode or leak. While most people do not own buried gas lines, the following are some examples where customer-owned buried piping may be involved:
outside gas lighting
gas heaters for pool/hot tub
natural gas barbecue
detached buildings with gas appliances, among others
These examples are not all-inclusive. You must make your own determination of whether you have buried piping extending beyond your meter. To properly care for a buried pipe, it is recommended that the pipe be inspected periodically for:
leaks on your gas lines
corrosion, if lines are metallic
If unsafe conditions are found, the pipeline should be repaired immediately. To have your gas lines checked, contact your local plumbing/heating contractor or a leak survey and corrosion expert. A fee is involved.
Certain older gas connectors may be dangerous
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, gas connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to connect gas appliances in your home to fuel gas supply pipes. Some older brass connectors have come apart, causing fires and explosions resulting in deaths and injuries. These older brass connectors have a serious flaw in how their tubing was joined to their end pieces. Over time, the end pieces can separate from the tubing, and cause a serious gas leak, explosion, or fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that to their knowledge, these dangerous uncoated brass connectors have not been made for more than 20 years, but many of them are still in use. The older these connectors get, the greater the possibility of failure.
Although not all uncoated connectors have this flaw, it is very difficult to tell which ones do. Therefore, any uncoated brass connector should be replaced immediately with either a new plastic-coated brass or a new stainless steel connector. Connectors should always be replaced whenever the appliance is replaced or moved from its location.
Moving the appliance, even slightly, whether to clean behind it or to inspect its gas connector, can cause the complete failure of one of these older weakened connectors, possibly resulting in a deadly fire or explosion.
Do not move your appliance to check the connector!
WARNING: Only a qualified professional should check your connector and replace it if needed. Do not try to do this yourself.
Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST)
CCST is a flexible, stainless steel pipe used to supply natural gas and propane in residential, commercial and industrial structures. Coated with a yellow, or in some cases, a black exterior plastic coating, CSST is usually routed beneath, through, and alongside floor joists in your basement, inside interior wall cavities, and on top of ceiling joists in attic spaces.
While this type of pipe is safe, it is strongly recommended that you determine if the CSST system is properly bonded and grounded. A bonding device should be installed on your natural gas system in order to reduce the chances of a natural gas leak or fire. Bonding is provided primarily to prevent a possible electric shock to people who come in contact with the gas piping and other metal objects connected to the grounding system. Nearby lightning strikes can also result in an electrical surge and can potentially puncture a hole in the CSST. Proper bonding and grounding will reduce the risk of damage and fire from a lightning strike.
If you are unsure as to whether your business has CSST or whether it has been properly bonded and grounded, contact a licensed electrician to arrange for a professional inspection.
Never hang anything on gas piping
You should never hang clothing (or anything else) from gas pipes, because the added weight of clothing (especially wet clothing being hung to air dry) can weaken or break joints or fittings, resulting in a gas leak.