Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Where To Find Gas Leaks

Edina House ExplosionThe one home inspection item that consistently causes home buyers to 'freak out' more than anything else is a gas leak. Gas explosions like the ones that recently happened in Edina and Saint Paul are probably the main causes of all the paranoia about natural gas.  Believe it or not, small gas leaks are actually quite common at old houses, and they're usually simple for a plumber to fix.  Today I'll share the most common locations for gas leaks, and I'll share my home inspection techniques for finding gas leaks in old Minneapolis and Saint Paul homes.

The most common place for me to find gas leaks is at gas valves.  Older style gas valves that aren't allowed any more today are often referred to as lube valves or plug valves.

Lube Valve Lube Valve 2

These valves are easily identified by a nut or spring on the valve, across from the handle; newer gas valves don't have these.  I would estimate that I find leaks at about one out of every five of these valves.  Gate valves, which should only be used for water, are also common offenders.

Gate Valve

The repair is always simple - replace the the valve.  In Minneapolis, if the appliance being served by an improper valve is replaced, the valve must be replaced at the same time.

The second most common location for gas leaks is at unions.  A gas union is a fitting that provides a disconnection point for a gas appliance.  If the union doesn't get tightened enough, it will definitely leak.  Notice the bubbles in the union below?  That's a small gas leak.

Leaking Union

Flare fittings are the last common offender.  Here in Minnesota, soft copper gas tubing is allowed just about anywhere, but it takes a little more skill to properly install soft copper than other types of gas piping.  For a flare fitting, copper tubing gets flared out at the end and connected with a flare nut.  If this connection gets bent or isn't tight enough, it will leak.

Flare Fitting 1 Flare Fitting 3 Flare Fitting 2

Combustible Gas DetectorTo find these gas leaks, I mostly rely on my nose.  If there's a gas leak, I can almost always smell it.  To pinpoint the location of a gas leak, I use a combustible gas detector.  If I see any suspicious work or I run across old or improper gas valves, I just go right to my gas detector, and I quickly check the fittings.

I truly believe that my nose is just as accurate as my gas detector, but I look a little silly running my nose along gas pipes to find leaks.  That's why I use a tool.  If I find a leak with my combustible gas detector, I confirm the leak by using a gas leak detection solution; it's just an expensive blue liquid that does about the same thing that dish soap would - it bubbles if there's a leak.  To make it easier for the repair person coming in behind me, I also mark the location of the leak with orange electrical tape, and I write "Gas Leak" on the tape, along with an arrow showing exactly where the leak is.

I've heard stories about appliance connectors leaking, but I've never found one that leaked. Next week I'll talk about defects with appliance connector installations.

RELATED POST: Natural Gas Leaks

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 52 commentsReuben Saltzman • March 16 2010 05:22AM

Comments

Thank you....we had a house recently where the gas company had to come back 3 times to find the leaky fireplace .....the nose knows !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

I wonder sometimes if our inspectors around here are as thorough as you guys are, after reading these stories on Active Rain...  Great post and keep doing a great job!

Posted by Barbara Kornegay, Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes (REMAX Essential) over 8 years ago

Our nose is usually the cheapest and best way to find many problems - gas leaks, moisture, molds, locker rooms...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Fabulous article Reuben.

All I can say is "not in my home".  There isn't any gas in my home by choice. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Reuben:

Great information to pass along to customers.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

Posted by Cherry Wings Realty, Your Traverse City Michigan Realtor (Cherry Wings Realty) over 8 years ago

Very nice report about an important subject. . thats for educating us about gas leaks

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 8 years ago

Hi Reuben, excellent post and I just had to re-blog it! Thank you :)

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

Sally & David - until I started marking gas leaks with orange tape, I would also get phone calls from homeowners telling me the gas company couldn't find the gas leaks.  Funny, huh?

Barbara - I'm sure you have a few!  Send me an email, and I'll tell you who I know in your area.

Jay - Just imagine what you could find if you trained a dog to sniff out problems.  I've heard of home inspectors doing this...

Lenn - it sounds like your home would make for a very boring inspection... and that's a good thing.

Christine and Fernando - thanks for reading.

Jackie - thanks for the re-blog.

 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Thanks for an informative post - I'm re-blogging as well!

Posted by Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR (Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA) over 8 years ago

Reuben,,,,

This is great information about those pesky gas valves. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

REuben, I hope your post prevents some dangerous situations from continuing!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 8 years ago

Reuben...nice information....it's something we don't think about....but should! Thanks!

Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) over 8 years ago

Reuben, thank you so much for this wonderful safety tip.  It could save lives!

Posted by Home Design, Home Design and Real Estate over 8 years ago

We have a 1917 shore house that has some real old plumbing and gas lines !!! Thanks for showing us where to look !

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 8 years ago

Good morning Reuben,

I have been coming across many of these same problems in recent inspections..scary stuff..thanks for the tips on showing us where to look in the future.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 8 years ago

Lots of good information in your post. I have come across more than one home with a leaky pipe gas smell, it is scary to think of the consequences of not immediately calling the gas company.

Posted by Mary Strang over 8 years ago

Gas in a home can be terrifying to home buyers who have never lived in a gas home.  And all it takes is one tragic story of a home blowing up to further turn them off.  But I always point out -- what do you read about more often?  Houses blowing up because of gas, of houses burning down because of an electric fault?  And practically no one is afraid of electric!  All in all, while extremely rare, gas explosions do happen.  And I thank you for posting this article reminding us of this fact!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 8 years ago

Always love the post from inspectors. I wish AR made sure we had one a day. The only thing scarier is a carbon monoxide leak.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 8 years ago

I have gas in my home and this is scary. Thanks for showing us the problem areas to check to make sure we don't have one.

Posted by Diane Williams over 8 years ago

Good post Reuben.

As a fellow Inspector, I would like to add one comment for Agents in particular. When viewing a home, (especially a vacant home) if you smell a gas leak, (inside or outside the home) immediately exit the building to a safe distance and call the gas company. Do not attempt to locate the leak yourselves. The situation may be much worse than you think. Think safety of you and your clients first! The inconvenience of waiting for an "all clear" just may save your lives!  

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) over 8 years ago

I don't want to mess with any gas leaks, if I smell something funny, time for me to leave. That is something I take seriously.

Thank you

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) over 8 years ago

I would assume in your line of work that a gas leak is probably not as big of a deal as a buyer is going to make of it if you tell them their potential home has one.  Having a professional looking for these type of things is of the utmost importance to any buyer purchasing a home.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I am going to go home and check for leaks today.  Thanks for the informative article.

Posted by Jonathan Goode (AlaLandCo (Land for Sale in West Alabama)) over 8 years ago

Reuben, great post.  Another place I find leaks is around the gas valve/control of water heaters.  Just had one the other day. 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Reuben, that's for the post. It's always important to be safe in our homes. Sometime we forget the simple things.

Posted by Reshawna Leaven, Experience. Knowledge. RESULTS. (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Reuben, this is a timely post for me.  I was showing a house last week and smelled an awful smell on the main level. Upon walking upstairs the smell was still awful but not as strong....kind of like bad potpourri.

Once we went down into the basement I realized that the smell was overwhelmingly gas!  We immediately left the house and called the seller. 

The next day the seller called to thank us....evidently Roanoke Gas Company had moved the meter out of the house the week before to the outside and had not tightened the fittings.  It was a horrible accident waiting to happen.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 8 years ago

Great post!  I remember when I was small a house not far away blew up from a gas leak!

Posted by Paul & Diane Boykin (Keller Williams Realty Greater Athens) over 8 years ago

Reuben - the best, and most expensive, termite companies around here employ Beagles!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Ruben,

Good post.  This winter Centerpointe scared the wits out of me.  My furnace wouldn't turn off, it kept running and didn't show the temperature.  I called it in, and they made me shut everything down telling that they couldn't predict what could happen.  It was zero degrees out, 10PM, and couldn't they couldn't get a repairman over until late the next day.

So, I asked, "What if we get really cold?  Can I turn it back on?"

"I wouldn't do that mam."

"What would happen?
"It could be very dangerous, don't touch the settings or the furnace," he said threatenly.

There wasn't anyone else I could call at that hour, so I shut it all down, piled up the blankets and went to bed.  By 3PM the next day the house was icy, and I was blue waiting for the repairman.

He finally came in, advised me that the thermostat was broken, he had to replace it, but the furnace was just fine.  I asked about customer service' response.  "They don't know anything technical, they just tell everyone to turn it off."

Luckily, it wasn't 30 below.

Posted by Mary Jo Quay (Remax Results) over 8 years ago

Thanks so much for the good real today.  I've bookmarked it for the future.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

Thanks so much for the good real today.  I've bookmarked it for the future.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

Great post Reuben.  A lot of good information in a consolidated location.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

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Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and contributing members of the Active Rain Real Estate network, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at www.habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections Blog and founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and see more blogs like this one. 

 

Posted by Robert Dirienzo, Home Inspections - Nashville TN (HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I think it is a good idea around here to have the gas company come check out every house that has gas, even if you don't smell anything.  The gas company here is pretty good about that.

Sarah

Posted by Sarah, John Rummage, Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area! (Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233) over 8 years ago

Hi Reuben -- Great info for buyers to know -- I'm going to send a first-time homebuyer I'm working with a link to this post!

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 8 years ago

Everyone - thank you for the comments and thanks for reading!

Richard S - that's an excellent point.  Shocks and fires happen all the time because of electricity, but you don't hear about those incidents.

Morgan - you're exactly right.

Charles - right where the aluminum tubing connects, right?  

Damon - I'm glad you caught it before something happened!

Jay - Beagles, huh?  I might have to get me one of those.  Does Professional Equipment sell them?

Mary Jo - wow, those phone techs certainly don't have any idea what they're doing.  That was some embarrassingly bad advice they gave you... but in my experience, that's been par for the course with them.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Hi Reuben~  Gas leaks are dangerous!  My nose is pretty sensitive and I usually notice things like that.  I hope that our inspectors in this area are as astute as you seem to be!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 8 years ago

Now we're cooking with gas. I love gas ... thanks for the tutorial. 

Posted by Scott Lewis, REALTOR, e-Pro,CIA,IMSD,GRI & CNE (The Bald Man Group) over 8 years ago

Looks pretty interesting if you ask me.  Thanks for the info.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) over 8 years ago

Reuben-  Great information!  I see from some of the comments that the problem of plumbers and gas company reparimen not being able to find a gas leak noted by an inspector isn't just in my area.  I recently was working with some buyer clients.  There was a house they loved, but everytime we went in, it smelled like gas.  The sellers had the gas company over twice and a plumber over twice, with written verification that there was not a gas leak.  After much annoyance at us, they allowed my husband, who is an energy consultant and home inspector, to come over- free of charge- and test for a leak.  After finding the leak, the homeowner called the plumber the next day, who again said he couldn't find a leak.  The homeowner pointed out where my husband had noted the leak, and sure enough.  The "leak" turned out to be a completely cracked gas line!  It's so important that people keep trying when they smell gas, as not all "professionals" are created equally!

Posted by Jen Olson (First Weber Group Realtors) over 8 years ago

Reuben...I just had one at a rental property. It came in at about 8:30 in the evening. The tenant was being influenced by the gas inspector to believe the worst case scenario namely the house is going to blow and we are all going to die. I had known enough about property manangment to get involved early on and control the situation. I go to the property that evening and the gas lady has this rod and she is walking all over getting buzzing noises and exclaiming this aint good, this aint good. I told her to calm down and explain to me what is going on and what she was doing. I also asked her to stop sharing her uninformed opinion with the tenant. I found out later on that my thinking was sound. Leaks of any sort are an opinionated subject with everyone being right and never wrong. She couldnt prove a thing to me but just kept on how dangerous this could be. We agreed to shut gas at the property and that I would have someone out there first thing. The next morning, after the problem being evaluated professionally which consisted of three different people telling me it could cost anywhere from $250 to inspect and up to $1200 to repair....it finally came down to a loose coupling in the fireplace that when tightened three turns, solved the problem. Failure to get involved, take control or get good input can cost $$$$$$$$. Reuben....it could have gone either way. Thank you.

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 8 years ago

This is valuable information for us and for our clients. Gas can be so dangerous.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 8 years ago

I've had many buyers "freak out" when it is a very small leak, so slight that it is not harmful, or a simple fix as you had mentioned such as replacing a valve.  Good article, and I will pass it on if I run across the same situation.  Coming from a third party professional like yourself helps.  Thanks for posting.

Posted by Ryan Cha, Broker (RC Edwards Realty Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas) over 8 years ago

Vickie - your nose is the best tool!

Jen - I've had similar experiences to yours many times.  Ever since I started marking gas leaks with orange tape, I've never had a call back.  Now I almost never report a gas leak without also tagging the location, and I never get call backs any more.

Richie - just another case of someone 'freaking out' when they don't need to.  Whoever that person was that came out saying what a dangerous situation you had was way off base.

Ryan - that's exactly it.  Small gas leaks really aren't a big deal - I tell my clients that it's a lot like a dripping faucet.  It's obviously a little more serious... but certainly nothing to freak out about.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Can I ask a question about the small, harmless gas leak comments?  How much gas would you allow to leak from your vehicle's gas tank and feel comfortable with the guy parked next to you tossing his cigarette at?  I can't imagine telling anyone that a gas leak is no big deal, regardless of the extent.  Not to mention that some gas leaks may start small, but in time corrode the piping and become major.  I really wonder if we should ever refer to a gas leak as not harmful.

Posted by Jen Olson (First Weber Group Realtors) over 8 years ago

I agree with Jen. I am ashamed another Home Inspector made such a statement. I am really hoping, for the safety of his clients, that he just mis-spoke his words.

Any leak is a big deal. How long does it take for a small leak to become a problem? Who is going to activly monitor the small leak, and determine when it is a big problem? I sure wouldn't want to be in the position of explaining why I thought a small leak was no big deal if anything happened because of it. As a Professional Home Inspector, I report the facts, nothing more, nothing less. It is up to my clients to determine what their tolerance level is for any given defect. What may be a small issue for one person, could be a nightmare for another. Who am I to tell my clients what they should feel about something? The person with the "small gas leak"... what if their parents perished in a home explosion caused by a gas leak. Guess what, I would understand them being "freaked out" by "any" gas leak. As far as I am concerned, a leak is a leak. Locate and repair ASAP. Anything else is pure negligence.

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) over 8 years ago

Jen - as I mentioned in my blog, any gas leak should always be repaired, but I'm also putting it in to perspective.  After having been told by many instructors and gas technicians the same thing, I'm sharing this information in a public forum. 

I know very well that this is far from the almost universally held belief that 'every gas leak is a major problem,' but I'm speaking from experience.  When I go in to a house and I find a union that's been leaking for the past several years, it would be silly for me to report this as a serious defect.  

Jeffery -  I think you should re-read my comments and my blog.  You're making it sound as if I don't tell my clients to repair gas leaks.  I do.  I just put things in to perspective, and I'm qualified to do so. 

You had so much to say about this topic that I feel like I should respond to a few of those comments.

"I am really hoping, for the safety of his clients, that he just mis-spoke his words."

Do these words really put my clients in danger?

"How long does it take for a small leak to become a problem? Who is going to activly monitor the small leak, and determine when it is a big problem?"

Why would anyone do that?  Small leaks should be fixed.

"As a Professional Home Inspector, I report the facts, nothing more, nothing less."

Anyone can report the facts.  Professional Home Inspectors get paid to interpret the facts and give their opinion.

"It is up to my clients to determine what their tolerance level is for any given defect. What may be a small issue for one person, could be a nightmare for another. Who am I to tell my clients what they should feel about something? "

You don't need to tell your clients how to feel, but as a Professional Home Inspector, you're in the position to put things in to perspective.  That's part of what you get paid to do.  

"As far as I am concerned, a leak is a leak. Locate and repair ASAP. Anything else is pure negligence." - AND - "Any leak is a big deal."

When I first started in this business, I used my electronic gas leak detector at every inspection, and I found gas leaks at just about every house I inspected.  I did what you apparently do now - I reported these as a big deal.  

Someone would notify the seller that they had a gas leak at their house, and that the home inspector said it's a big deal.  The gas company would come out, and they wouldn't find any leaks.  I would insist there was a leak, the gas company would come back, eventually they'd find it, and they'd tell everyone it was nothing.  

After having had this issue put in to perspective by many professional gas installers and one instructor for the State, I've come to realize that tiny gas leaks really aren't a big deal.  They're definitely something that should be fixed, but if you report small issues as big deals, you end up becoming the boy who cried wolf.

 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Hi Reuben,

Excellent post!  Important information for all to know.  Thanks for sharing.

Chris

 

Posted by Chris Minion (O'Brien Realty) over 8 years ago

Reuben-  I was not commenting on your initial post.  I was more concerned about the comment by Ryan #42, who is not a home inspector acting like gas leaks are not at all harmful.  I also am referring to your comment back to him that you equate a leaking combustible gas with a drippy faucet.  You also didn't answer my question about how much gas you would be comfortable having leak from your car's gas tank.  The fact that you are saying in your comment #8, you were commented on how the gas company couldn't find the same leaks that you found, but then when commenting back to Jeffery, you refer to that same fact to support your new position that a gas leak is not a big deal.  I am not saying that there is a difference between a loose junction that needs to be tightened and a fault in the piping.  I just think that some of the comments seem a bit cavalier considering we are still talking about a potentially combustible gas.  I'm curious how you report a "no big deal, minor gas leak".  Isn't the definition of a safety hazard something that denotes a condition that is unsafe and in need of prompt attention?  Boy who cries wolf, or responsible inspector?

Posted by Jen Olson (First Weber Group Realtors) over 8 years ago

Thanks Chris!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Jen - I'll try to reply to most of your concerns below.  I've put your quotes in italics below.

I also am referring to your comment back to him that you equate a leaking combustible gas with a drippy faucet. 

That's something that I'll often tell my clients when I find a small gas leak.  I conduct my home inspections with my clients accompanying my the entire time, so when I find a gas leak, they're right there when I do.  I look for gas leaks after I've been at the house for a while, and I've already had a chance to 'smell' any serious gas leaks.  I always preface by saying I'm going to look for SMALL gas leaks with my electronic gas detector - if there were any major leaks, I would have already smelled them by now.

When I do find gas leaks, my clients eyes usually widen and they ask if we should leave the house.  I tell them to think of the leak the same way you would a dripping faucet - it not as though you have water flooding your basement, but it's definitely something that should be fixed right away.  

A gas leak is obviously much more serious than a dripping faucet, but I'm using an analogy to help my clients understand that there really is a difference between a major leak and a minor leak.

You also didn't answer my question about how much gas you would be comfortable having leak from your car's gas tank.   - Your question was - How much gas would you allow to leak from your vehicle's gas tank and feel comfortable with the guy parked next to you tossing his cigarette at?

Sorry, I thought that was a rhetorical question.  I wouldn't feel comfortable with any gas leaking out of my gas tank.  Gas costs money!  I also wouldn't appreciate anyone tossing cigarettes at me or my vehicle.  I especially wouldn't appreciate the two happening at the same time.  

What does this have to do with anything?  That's a completely different analogy.

btw - have you ever tried to light gasoline with a cigarette?  Hollywood would have you believe it's easy to do.

The fact that you are saying in your comment #8, you were commented on how the gas company couldn't find the same leaks that you found, but then when commenting back to Jeffery, you refer to that same fact to support your new position that a gas leak is not a big deal.

In comment #8 I wrote that until I started marking gas leaks with orange tape, I would get phone calls from homeowners telling me the gas company couldn't find the gas leaks that I identified.  In my comment to Jeffery, I wrote that small gas leaks aren't a big deal.  This has nothing to do with the previous comment (#8).  

If you were to extrapolate information from these two comments, you might come to the conclusion that small gas leaks aren't a big deal, and that they're so minor that the gas company usually won't even find them. 

 I am not saying that there is a difference between a loose junction that needs to be tightened and a fault in the piping. 

Huh?

 I'm curious how you report a "no big deal, minor gas leak"

Like this: "There was a small gas leak at the sediment trap to the furnace. Have the gas leak fixed."

I reported this at an inspection on Friday, and had the listing agent call me back on Monday saying the seller had the gas company out, and they said there was no leak.  I had a big orange piece of tape with an arrow pointing at the gas leak (included below), and they still said it wasn't leaking.  Oh well, I tried my best.  The information that you should take away from this is that some gas leaks really are small.  Don't buy in to the paranoia that these small gas leaks are going to get bigger.  

If you have it set in your head that this is a completely black and white issue with nothing in-between, I probably won't be able to convince you otherwise.

Isn't the definition of a safety hazard something that denotes a condition that is unsafe and in need of prompt attention?  

Yes... but I would call this a potential safety hazard.   Here are a few other potential safety hazards: Missing nails in joist hangers, improper bolts at a deck ledgerboard, uneven walkways, missing guardrails, missing handrails, inoperable or missing smoke detectors, double tapped wiring at circuit breakers, water heaters turned up too hot, missing CO alarms... the list goes on.  I'm sure that any one of these things probably causes  FAR more injuries than gas leaks, but they're not sexy, dramatic defects.

Boy who cries wolf, or responsible inspector?

Take my example above, about the house where the gas company deemed my leak to not be a leak.  A responsible inspector would do what I did.  A boy who cries wolf would have evacuated the house.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Interesting set of comments on this one. One thing that Realtors and clients alike look for is confidence in the inspector and his interpretation of things. This only comes with experience.

If you're a 40 hour wonder making mountains out of mole hills you wont last long. On the flip side, we must report things as they are and be able to explain to folks the level of urgency these items require. Some things are a really big deal, some have the potential of becoming a big deal and some things just need to be fixed.

Posted by Mike Gillingham (Eastern Iowa Inspection Services LLC) over 8 years ago

Mike - you're completely right.  Saying everything is a mountain when it isn't is just a CYA move.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

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