Natural gas lines rarely leak. When a leak does happen, it can be extremely dangerous. The natural gas that escapes from the pipes can cause carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to people and pets. Worse, it can lead to an explosion. With all the hazards connected to leaking natural gas lines, it is highly recommended that you take immediate action when leaking gas is detected.
The best action you can take to fix the problem of a leaking natural gas line is to call a professional. However, in instances where you need to do the fixing yourself for whatever reason, follow these steps.
Step 1 - Shut Off the Gas Valve
Stop the flow of gas by shutting down the gas valve that controls the flow of fuel into your home. This way, you will be able to safely make repairs on the pipe.
Step 2 - Look for Hairline Cracks or Holes
Thoroughly inspect the pipe and look for holes and cracks on the surface. Also check for deformities and other irregularities. Be careful doing this as the surface of the leaking pipe may contain gas.
Step 3 - Seal the Cracks
Buy some pipe sleeves from the local plumbing store. Choose those that are rated especially for gas pipes. Pay special attention to the material from which the sleeves are made of. If possible, purchase synthetic sleeves that are made from epoxy resin-based materials as well as fiberglass. Avoid using plaster and mortar.
Step 4 - Check Pipe Threads
Leaks may also be caused by pipe threads being loosened or warped. Inspect the threads of the pipe and see if they need to be tightened or replaced. For loosened pipe threads, use a wrench to tighten. If this does not help, replace the entire pipe line.
The first step when replacing a gas pipe line is to disconnect the existing pipe and get a new one. The new pipe can be installed by first wrapping four layers of Teflon tape on the male pipe threads. Ensure that all threads are covered with the tape and that the tape is wrapped tightly. When this is done, coat the female threads with pipe dope or pipe-joint compound. Screw the new pipe into place and tighten it with a wrench.
Step 5 - Test the New Installation
Put a soap bubble solution to the surface of the newly installed pipe line. This will help you determine whether the leak has been resolved or not. If the test indicates failure, start the installation of the new pipe all over again.
Sealing a natural gas line by yourself is highly dangerous. Go DIY only if the leak is caused by a minor problem, such as a loosened pipe thread or minor cracks. In cases where large cracks have developed on the pipes or where the valve is broken, it is best to call a professional to do the job. Although you may have to pay for their service, you will be certain of your safety. Remember, one wrong move with sealing a natural gas line may lead to severe complications.