How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

Is it normal to smell gas near a natural gas meter?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gas meters have a disc-shaped regulator next to them that reduces the pressure of the incoming gas down to the correct, much lower level for the appliances in a home. The regulator utilizes a spring, piston, and rubber-like diaphragm in combination to keep a constant, reduced gas pressure in the pipes coming into the home. There is a pinhole “atmospheric pressure vent” on the side of the diaphragm that is sealed from the gas flow, and its purpose is to maintain normal atmospheric pressure on one side of it.

    Some regulators are marked with “VENT” next to the screening over the opening, like in the photo below, but the vent does not release natural gas unless the diaphragm is damaged. There is also likely to be a sticker on the regulator that says “IF YOU SMELL GAS, CALL YOUR GAS COMPANY."

    So the only reason to smell gas around the meter would be a leak at the regulator or one of the pipe connections. We recommend that you call the local gas utility right away to come over and check it out, and not smoke or take any action that would cause a spark near the area of the gas smell in the meantime. It is possible to use a soapy water solution over the meter and pipe surfaces and check for bubbles to find a leak, but the gas company will do it for free. 

    Incidentally, if the vent gets clogged by dirt or bits of debris, you may have problems with your gas appliances not burning properly. 

    The last part of connecting a gas appliance is the flexible tubing called an appliance connector. For the installation standards, see our blog post What are the requirements for installing a gas appliance connector? Also, got to our blog post How can I tell the difference between Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) and a Flexible Appliance Connector (FAC)? for how to tell these two types of flexible tubing apart. And, for the requirements for installing black iron pipe at an exterior location, see Is black iron gas pipe code approved for exterior (outdoor) installation?

     Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Wells

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls

& Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About Us

(placeholder)