So, what do you think this gas leak cost me?


Old 03-23-17, 04:38 PM
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So, what do you think this gas leak cost me?

NY is offer free energy audits. I had one today. He was walking around with a gas detector looking for leaks. I asked him to look at my outside meter. For several years I have smelled gas at my meter on windless days. Two guys were out with gas detectors but never found a leak. I asked this guy to look also. He found a leak at the meter manifold; so I wasn't crazy after all.]
He told me to call the utility and they would fix it for free.

The utility guy found a small on a T a few inches away from the meter. It bubbled very gently. He was willing to fix it, but decided that without a union it would be too big a job and I had to get my own contractor. He would turn the gas off and come back in 5 days to inspect it. He agreed there was no particular danger involved, but he had to follow protocol.

I called the guy who did the energy audit. He said there was a tech who could come right out and do it. He did, charging me $350 to cut the pipe, install a union, and put it back together. He said the joint was exposed to the rain, and compound washed out to cause a leak.

So, my question, finally...
In terms of dollars, what is the cost of a gently bubbling leak likely to be?
$1 a month? $10 a month? $50 a month?

Basically I am pissed at the audit guy. If he hadn't told me to call the utility, I could have saved the $350. There is no real way the leak could hurt anything. But if I save some money from not wasting gas, then maybe it wasn't so bad.

Obviously you don't really know, but what would you guess?
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Old 03-23-17, 05:07 PM
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A gas leak is always dangerous no matter where it is. $350 for repair is cheap compared to what might or could've happened. And this type of leak does get better with time but only worse. No, I did not answer your question, because there is no question to answer. It leaks, fix it!
Old 03-23-17, 05:17 PM
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A typical natural gas standing pilot flame uses something like $5-$10 of gas per month. (yeah I know....a lot). That's why there aren't many standing pilots anymore.

I'm guessing your leak was smaller than a pilot flame's worth of gas. So, pick a number less than 10.....
Old 03-23-17, 05:34 PM
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The "leak" that was a few inches away from the meter was on the house side of the meter . . . . or on the street side of the meter ?
Old 03-23-17, 05:48 PM
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Had to be the house side. No one would mess with the suppliers side. That'd be a free repair.

I'd guess a buck a month.... maybe two tops.
Old 03-23-17, 06:18 PM
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Okay, $2 a month gives me a 15 year payback. Not good.

Is there any actual danger to it? Even with no wind, you had to be within 2 feet of it to have any sense it was there; and any wind makes it go away completely.

There is a 8kw NG generator about 8' away; they both said that the leaked gas could be sucked in the generator and damage it, but that seems fanciful.

I guess as long as I said that, i might ask a second question. The HVAC guy said that the reason my generator might take a couple tries to start is sucking air in the leak. He says the generator uses a huge amount of gas to start and can create negative pressure in the pipes, enough to suck a little air in. That also sounds fanciful. Any sense to that?
Old 03-23-17, 07:56 PM
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A leak that small is inconsequential...... but a leak is a leak.

The generator would not suck air thru the gas line with that minute leak.
Even pointing the gas from that leak directly towards the generator would have been uneventful.
Old 03-24-17, 01:05 PM
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I would have repaired the leak. Disassemble the meter set or cut pipe and install a union. Have done it hundreds of times. As far as a "foamer" leak, it would take a while to clock the meter to come up with number. At today's rates probably pennies.
Old 03-24-17, 01:50 PM
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You do know that natural gas is odorless and they add the smell as a safety precaution so that gas leaks can be noticed? So it did its job.

Finding and fixing the leak now means that you will no longer be smelling gas. Then when/if you smell gas next time you won't ignore it and assume that it is the same leak. It could save your life. How much is that worth to you?
Old 04-01-17, 05:43 PM
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Yes, it should have been fixed, but the cost & the guy's claim of rain washing out the pipe joint compound was just plain horse crap.
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