Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Why Can’t The Gas Company Find These Gas Leaks?

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I find a lot of gas leaks, and I always try to make it easy for a repair technician to find the leaks.  I take a photo of the leak with a bunch of soapy bubbles coming out of it, I mark the exact location of the leak with orange tape, and I write “Gas Leak” on it.  You can't miss it.

Gas Leak Marked 2

So why is it so difficult for the GAS COMPANY to find these leaks?

Ironically, I’ve found that almost every time Centerpoint Energy comes out to repair a gas leak that I've found during a home inspection, they end up leaving the house without fixing the leak.  I’m not alone in my findings – I’ve heard this same sentiment expressed by many other Minnesota home inspectors, and this last month has been particularly frustrating.

Example #1: I inspected a home that had already been ‘pre-inspected’ by another home inspector.  The other home inspector had identified a gas leak and marked it with masking tape.  The photo below shows what the gas valve looked like at the time that I did my inspection.

Gas Leak Marked

After the first home inspector identified this leak, Centerpoint Energy came out and said there was no gas leak, and went on their way without fixing it.  I knew exactly what happened, because it happens to me all the time.  The photo below shows the same gas fitting with my gas leak solution bubbling.  Granted, it’s a very small leak, but who cares?  Fix it!

Bubbling Gas Leak

Example #2: At another home inspection I did last month in Bloomington, I could clearly smell gas while standing at the water heater.  I bent down and smelled a significant leak at the union.  I put some leak solution on the union, and it quickly blew a bubble about the size of a quarter.  This was so obvious that I didn’t even bother marking the location of the leak… but I’ll never make that mistake again.  The seller called Centerpoint Energy, who came out and said there was no leak.  We then called Centerpoint Energy, talked to the technician that went out the first time, told him exactly where to find the leak, and he still couldn’t find it the second time he was out.  Unbelievable.

These experiences drive me crazy.

My advice: If your home inspector tells you that you have a gas leak, hire a private contractor to fix it if you want it fixed.  I’ve never had experiences like these with a plumber, only the gas company.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 7 commentsReuben Saltzman • June 29 2010 06:30AM

Comments

Scary stuff there but glad it was found.

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) almost 8 years ago

Reuben, good advise, but scarey.

I have not been made aware of that many gas leaks.

I like your bubble solution.

Posted by Gordon Sloan, Salt Lake Homes For Sale, Salt Lake Real Estate (Group1 Real Estate, selling houses in Salt Lake City Utah ) almost 8 years ago

Very scarey Reuben! I had showed a bank owned home in Leominster where we suspected there was a gas leak. Called the gas company and they came right down to shut off the connection from the house.

Posted by Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS, 'Helping You Make the Best Move" (ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group) almost 8 years ago

In our area, the gas company does not FIX leaks * they will red tag the meter and tell the homeowner to get it fixed and have their plumber call them when it is fixed....

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) almost 8 years ago

Reuben, out here the quickest way to get the gas company to your house for any reason is to tell them you have a leak :)  My experience is they do a pretty good job of finding them and fixing them----especially when they have the picture from the report with the bubbles showing.

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

Ellen - just too bad it wasn't fixed, right?

Corie - they're everywhere, at least around here.

Michele - at least they fixed it.  Most of these leaks aren't scary, but it's very annoying when the gas company can't find them.

Wallace - now that you mention that, I don't think our gas company fixes the leaks either.  So what's the point of calling the company if someone else has already identified a leak? 

Charles - you're lucky.  I think that every time the gas company comes out and doesn't  find a leak that I identified, the homeowner thinks I'm a dope.

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

Thanks for the info.  I think our gas company fixes them but I am not sure.

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

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