UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (12) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Author: foo1bar Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 128375  
Subject: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/1/2012 6:37 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
All the talk about valves got me to thinking...

Being in earthquake country - I am considering buying a wrench to keep right next to the meter - something like this:
http://www.idealtruevalue.com/servlet/the-47343/Detail

I have channel-lock pliers that would work I'm sure - but this way it's right there, and DW wouldn't have to think about "Which tool should I use? Where will I find the right tool?"

BTW - if I turn the gas off then right back on at the meter, I'm probably going to be OK for pilot lights, right?
I'm thinking that there's a fairly large volume gas in the pipes that has to be burnt (mostly) through before the pilots go out. And as soon as the valve is turned back on, the pressure will be restored quickly.
Print the post Back To Top
Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122333 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 3:27 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
And neighbor had an adjustable wrench by their gas shutoff. After a few years they went to try and use it...and found that it had rusted in an unusable size. I think it is a good idea to get one of the emergency wrenches that just fits the gas valve.

Mike

Print the post Back To Top
Author: wecoguy Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122337 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 11:22 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Utility Info page out here...

http://www.pge.com/myhome/edusafety/naturaldisaster/earthqua...

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122338 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 11:57 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
<< BTW - if I turn the gas off then right back on at the meter, I'm probably going to be OK for pilot lights, right?
I'm thinking that there's a fairly large volume gas in the pipes that has to be burnt (mostly) through before the pilots go out. And as soon as the valve is turned back on, the pressure will be restored quickly. >>


As long as the pilot lights are the only load, the gas line is "packed" with pressure and the pilots will stay lit.

If the main burners of any pilot are on, all the burners and pilots will shut off as soon as the gas meter valve is closed, even if opened again right away.


Seattle Pioneer

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122339 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 12:07 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I would also install an EQ valve at the shut off. I have mine installed. It automatically shuts off all gas to the house in the event of a reasonable-sized EQ.

I think I paid maybe $400 to do this? Cheap.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122341 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 12:13 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
I thought I read somewhere, maybe on this board, that gas shutoff valve wrenches should be of the "sparkless" type, so in the event of a leak near the meter, you won't cause an explosion by generating a spark when metal tool scrapes metal valve. Is this important? I suppose you could make one by wrapping a regular wrench in tape, making sure it fits the valve after being taped up.

--fleg

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122348 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 3:34 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
<< I would also install an EQ valve at the shut off. I have mine installed. It automatically shuts off all gas to the house in the event of a reasonable-sized EQ.

I think I paid maybe $400 to do this? Cheap.>>



Personally, I would not install an earthquake valve.


Firstly, it's rather common to have them shut off if they get bumped or even if heavy traffic causes ground vibrations. That often results in service calls because people suppose their furnace or other appliance needs repair.

Secondly, if your gas is shut off in an actual earthquake, it may be days or weeks before it gets turned back on. And in the large majority of cases, no damage will have occurred to the gas lines of a house that would have required the gas to be shut off.

Especially in an earthquake, it makes sense to shut the gas off at the meter only if the gas lines to the house have been damaged. During the 1989 Loma Linda earthquake in California (I think that was the one) thousands of people shut their gas off and then it was days and weeks before it was turned back on. Repairman from the utility I worked for were flown to California to help get people's gas turned back on.

As a repairman, I turned back on plenty of earthquake valves that shut off due to jostling and such. In most cases people never thought of the earthqauke valve as a possible source of problem.


Having a wrench readily available to shut off the gas if there is reason to do so is a reasonable precaution. Using it to check to see that the valve can actually be moved is a second reasonable precaution, in my view. That's as far as I would go.

But if people want earthquake valves, help yourself.



Seattle Pioneer

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122349 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 3:43 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Firstly, it's rather common to have them shut off if they get bumped or even if heavy traffic causes ground vibrations. That often results in service calls because people suppose their furnace or other appliance needs repair.
It's never happened to anyone I know. Plus we've had a few small (3.7-ish / 4.1-ish) EQs since I installed mine and I had no shut offs

I travel a lot. For me, it's a great thing to have this valve. I don't have to worry about shutting the gas off from 3000 miles away (or even 60 miles away) in the event of a big one.

Secondly, if your gas is shut off in an actual earthquake, it may be days or weeks before it gets turned back on. And in the large majority of cases, no damage will have occurred to the gas lines of a house that would have required the gas to be shut off.
True - so you should have alternate cooking methods in your EQ kit. I figure if there's a big event I might not have gas for a while, but I'd still rather have it shut off than not.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122351 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 8:40 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 2
Especially in an earthquake, it makes sense to shut the gas off at the meter only if the gas lines to the house have been damaged.

Of course. This is the whole point of an automatic (earthquake) shutoff valve. The problem is that you might not be home when the quake hits. And if you are even 10 miles away you could be in traffic for hours.

Admittedly, the idea of always shutting off the gas when an earthquake of magnitude X or greater hits is a bit of a crude safety precaution. It would be better if the valve could detect an earthquake followed by an increase in gas usage rate...but then that would require a more complex valve that may or may not work well.

Not installing one because you are concerned about false triggers is a good idea until the big one hits and your whole neighborhood burns down because everyone is at work and can't get home. I've considered installing one, but haven't. Mostly for three reasons. First the odds of needing it are low. Second, it may not do much good if all your neighbors don't also have them. Finally, I pay for earthquake insurance which will cover this as well as other damage.

IRRC, in the 1994(?) Northridge quake in SoCal they concluded that at least 1/2 of the 50+ fires could have been prevented if they had shutoffs.

Mike

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122352 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/2/2012 9:31 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
<<IRRC, in the 1994(?) Northridge quake in SoCal they concluded that at least 1/2 of the 50+ fires could have been prevented if they had shutoffs.
>>


Let's suppose that earthquake has happened in Seattle on a cold winter day.


Which would be more acceptable ---- 25 fires or having 50,000 homes without gas for days or weeks? It's an interesting question!

Now you have 50,000 homes without heat, cooking or hot water, and among them are 25 homes with broken pipes. You need a reasonably skilled person to be able to turn the gas on for each of those 50,000 homes to avoid blowing up a house that actually has a broken pipe!

Let's see---- there would be a house with a broken pipe among every 2,000 homes with no gas. How happy would you be after a few days living in the cold with those odds of there actually being a hazard?

I'm just throwing out numbers here to provide an idea of the practical problem.


Incidentally, there are valves that do shut off the gas only when a high rate of gas flow occurs that might be associated with a broken off pipe.


Seattle Pioneer

Print the post Back To Top
Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122372 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/3/2012 2:41 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Let's see---- there would be a house with a broken pipe among every 2,000 homes with no gas. How happy would you be after a few days living in the cold with those odds of there actually being a hazard?

It is a bit of a silly question.
If YOUR home is one of those that burned to the ground, who cares if a couple of thousand people might have been inconvenienced a bit to prevent it. It isn't like Seattle is the Arctic. People "could" use electric heaters (or toaster ovens, hair dryers, etc) in a small room to survive.

OTOH, if your gas is shutoff, all that matters is your comfort, who cares if somebody else's house burned down...bad luck for them.

Reasonably speaking it would be a good idea for all homes to have shutoffs. Mass production could/would lead to better valves with fewer false triggers and lower costs. It is possible to train a lot of people to be able to re-open after an emergency. It isn't possible to unburn houses, etc.

Mike

Print the post Back To Top
Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122374 of 128375
Subject: Re: gas shutoff valve wrench Date: 10/3/2012 3:08 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
<<Reasonably speaking it would be a good idea for all homes to have shutoffs. Mass production could/would lead to better valves with fewer false triggers and lower costs. It is possible to train a lot of people to be able to re-open after an emergency. It isn't possible to unburn houses, etc.

Mike>>


A waste of time and money in my opinion as an experienced utility repairman. Figure that every time a gas meter gets jostled by someone walking past it it's going to shut off the gas, and that in most cases people aren't going to understand why they have no gas and are going to need help to get things working.

And there are what ---- thirty million people living in earthquake country on the West Coast? And 25 fires that were avoidable in that earthquake 25 years ago? How many in addition to that?


If people want earthquake valves --- I have no objection to that. I don't have one myself and I think they aren't worth the money and nuisance value myself.


<<It is possible to train a lot of people to be able to re-open after an emergency.>>


Easier said than done I expect. I know of no one training people before such an emergency occurs, and it seems pretty pointless to try to develop and maintain such skills when there is a very low probability that they will ever be used.

After a major earthquake, utilities discourage people from turning gas on once it's been shut off. I mentioned that after the 1989 California Earthquake the utility brought in skilled people from around the country to turn the gas back on where it had been shut off.

A gas leak caused by an earthquake is really no different than any other gas leak. Don't shut off the gas just because an earthquake occurs. Shut off the gas if you notice a gas odor.

An earthquake valve violates that common sense advice by shutting off the gas simply because an earthquake occurred. If that's what you want to do, help yourself.



Seattle Pioneer

Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post Back To Top
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (12) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Advertisement