Gas heat ... what's the worst case scenario?


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Old 10-25-16, 06:57 AM
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Gas heat ... what's the worst case scenario?

Never had gas heat, always been paranoid that a leak could lead to the place blowing up.
I understand with regular inspection/maintenance the probability is low but what is the worst case scenario if there are no smokers in the house?
Could the whole place blow up : (
 
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Old 10-25-16, 07:28 AM
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Could the whole house go up? Absolutely!

There have been a few such explosions in Seattle in recent years, the last about a year ago in a community shopping district that severely damaged several older buildings. The cause was traced to improperly abandoned gas mains that had been disconnected several years earlier. The local gas utility was fined severely, I think into the millions of dollars recently for this.

A few more years ago it was homes in a residential section. There was a significant leak in one home that eventually ignited, demolishing not only the house but also significantly damaging sever neighboring homes as well.

Still, in my mind using natural gas for space and domestic water heating IS safe in the vast majority of homes. You DO need to be aware of the very noticeable smell of natural gas and if you ever smell even a whiff to leave the house and call the fire department and the gas utility.

I have gas in my home and I wouldn't trade it for oil no matter how cheap the oil. And...I've burnt more oil in my career than most people could even imagine. Oil, as an industrial fuel is okay by me but in a residence gas is by far my preference.

Although I do not have one, they DO make alarms for detecting gas leaks. Also note that I have been discussing natural gas, not propane. Propane has other detriments that make it inferior to natural gas.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 08:03 AM
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we're talking natural gas, not propane. If we're gone for an extended period and a leak goes unaddressed it could spell doom. I think I'll convert to electrical (as expensive as it is)
 
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Old 10-25-16, 08:14 AM
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Dude, I'm paranoid but you're making me seem normal. Gas is fine.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 09:27 AM
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I gotta agree with stickshift, there are literally MILLIONS of homes that have natural gas, many that have had it for a half a century or more, with absolutely NO PROBLEMS.

You asked what was the worst that could happen and I told you. The good news is that the worst happens so rarely it really isn't calculable. As I stated, I have natural gas and I sleep very well.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 10:52 AM
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I have all natural gas appliances which are a real plus when running on a generator.
I wouldn't trade my natural gas appliances for anything.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 10:57 AM
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How many houses burn up each year due to electrical fires?
 
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Old 10-25-16, 12:32 PM
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>


I used to work as a repairman in Seattle for the gas utility that had this explosion. It involved leaks a leak caused by tampering by some vagrant, and more importantly by an undergound piping defect having nothing to do with the gas appliances in any building.

The biggest hazard from gas leaks are just those kinds of underground leaks from gas mains or gas services going up to a house. They can cause the ground to become saturated with gas, displacing air in basements and crawl spaces until the accumulated gas ( a LOT of it!) is touched off by a spark or something.

When I was responding to complaints of gas leaks, we were trained to test around the foundation of a building for traces of gas before even going in a house. If accumulations were found underground, we evacuated people without going inside.

99% of reports of gas leaks involved no leakage or trivial amounts of gas leakage ---no ACTUAL hazard. But you never knew which might be the 1% that was an actual hazard, so all were taken seriously.

The hazard from gas appliances is minor from gas leaks. The risk from carbon monoxide is greater, and argues for people having maintenance and inspection of their gas appliances from time to time, and reporting any problems or odd odors coming from their equipment.

I remember once when I was a utility collector, shutting off someone's gas for non payment. When I turned off the meter ****, the steel pipe broke off, and gas under about 30 PSI pressure was blowing up along the side of the house. THAT was exciting until a crew came out with the skills and equipment to make repairs!


Ahhhh, the good old days recalled!
 
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Old 11-21-16, 06:33 AM
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a) My house is a slab on grade and the gas meter is in the carport - can I assume no gas lines are running under the house?

b) The furnace is in the attic and ducting (as opposed to baseboarding) transports the heat to the rooms - can I assume if anything were to blow up it would be the gas line from the carport to the attic and/or the furnace in the attic in which case the roof blows up and we just escape through the bedroom windows?
 
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Old 11-21-16, 07:32 AM
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Seriously, stop worrying about this blowing up.
 
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Old 11-22-16, 02:21 PM
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Apparently my dramatic description of the "worst case" was a mistake...


>


That would be VERY unusual.

In most cases you can trace the gas lines from point to point to and from the meter.
 
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Old 11-22-16, 04:22 PM
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Michael,
You need to relax. If you do some research you will find that you do not have to have gas in your house for your house to blow up. Leaking gas follows pipelines and they don't have to be gas. If your neighbors have gas and you have electricity and there is a leak in the neighborhood you have just as much of a chance of blowing up as the next person.
An old saying to leave you with among us that work on gas. "GO GAS GO BOOM". Only kidding. There are so many fail safes on gas these days it's really very safe.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving.
 
 

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