How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What is the loose wire sticking out of the ground under the gas meter for?
Friday, July 13, 2018
Although the wire might be mistaken for a loose ground wire connection, it’s actually a “tracer wire” that is installed next to the gas pipe when it is run underground from the gas main at the street to a house. Because many gas pipes today are plastic and not electronically traceable, the wire can be energized at a frequency that is recognized by a hand-held tracing tool to locate the path of the pipe.
It is usually a #12 copper wire and we often see it wrapped loosely around the base of the gas supply pipe running up to the meter, as in the picture above. Gas companies also typically mandate that a warning tape be buried above the gas line to warn anyone digging there that an active gas line is below it. Both of these safety features are designed to help anyone digging around gas service to a home avoid inadvertently fracturing the pipe and causing a dangerous gas leak.
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