Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Owners
GAS METERS - CONTENTS: Safety & Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Home Owners. Gas meter capacity, flow rate adequacy. Gas meter clearances to building features.. How to report defects found in oil or gas piping inspections. Home inspection report language examples for gas meters
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Gas meters in homes: inspection, troubleshooting, leaks, reporting: This article explains how to visually inspect natural or piped-in gas meters for defects and safety concerns. This document provides free sample draft home inspection report language for reporting defects in oil and gas piping at residential properties.
Here we provide descriptions and photographs of unsafe gas piping, indications of unsafe or improperly operating gas appliances, gas meters, and other gas installation defects are provided.
Safety & Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Home Owners
Immediate LP or natural gas safety hazards: if there is evidence of an LP or natural gas leak at a building, gas odors, for example, you should:
Do not do anything that is likely to cause a gas explosion, such as lighting a match, operating an electrical switch, or even using a telephone in the building
Leave the building immediately
Notify other building occupants of the safety concern
Contact the local gas company and/or fire department
Indoor Gas Meter Inspection, Defects, & Recommendations
Gas meter location: gas meters are located outdoors except when special permission is given by the gas company. Indoor gas meters increase the risk of an indoor gas leak, require special venting, and can make it more dangerous to shut off gas in an emergency.
If your gas meter is located indoors you should discuss this matter with your gas company.
In this photo the gas meter shown is an obsolete model (so perhaps at higher risk of dangerous natural gas leaks into the building (an explosion hazard), and we saw no gas regulator and no vent from the meter to outside.
This meter needs to be inspected by the local gas company. It may need to be relocated outside or vented to outside for safety.
Natural gas or piped-in gas safety warning: improper installation and even improper inspection and testing methods involving natural or "LP" gas can involve
dangerous conditions and risk fire or explosion.
If you smell gas you should leave the building immediately and should do so without doing anything that could create a spark such as operating a light switch or telephone. From a safe location, call your gas company's
emergency line and/or your fire department.
If the gas meter is located close to a heating system, such as in this photograph where the piped-in natural gas meter and its control valve were
located next to and nearly touching a hot air furnace, you should review the safety and building code compliance installation with your gas company.
piping or meters which could leak gas into a heating system or duct system are dangerous.
If the gas meter is close to or touching the ground outdoors or touching a building surface indoors, such as in the photographs above
where the piped-in natural gas meter is outside partly buried and inside the gas meter resting on and touching brick in a wet basement, there is a danger of gas meter corrosion
and dangerous gas leaks.
Outside the soil needs to be removed so that the meter is not touching dirt. If this corrective measure means that we've created a low area by the foundation it's important to keep roof spillage out of the low spot or we may invite building foundation leaks and basement water entry. A window well can be installed around such an excavation to help keep surface runoff away from the building.
You should review the safety and building code compliance installation with your gas company as soon as possible. Gas
piping or meters which could leak gas are dangerous. In this photograph (click the photograph to enlarge it) corrosion is visible on the bottom
of the gas meter where it's supported by wet brick.
Gas Meter Capacity or Adequacy
Safety Suggestion: gas meter adequacy: If additional gas equipment has been added to this building since the installation of the original gas service meter, it is possible that the added demand can result in low gas pressure or unsafe operation. The meter itself may need to be replaced with a higher capacity unit for safety. Please review this question with your gas supplier.
Gas Meter Venting Requirements
When a gas meter is used indoors good practice and plumbing codes require that the meter regulator be connected to a vent pipe extending to the
outdoors so that in the unlikely event of a leak-failure of the gas pressure regulator, leaking gas will not accumulate in the building where it
would form an explosion hazard.
Safety Recommendation: gas regulator vent: We did not find a vent pipe venting the gas regulator (located inside the building) to outside. Such vents are recommended and may be required by local or state codes for safety. Please review this question with your gas supplier.
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U.S. Energy Information Administration - eia.doe.gov/
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - epa.gov/solar/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html
At Natural Gas.Org www.naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas.asp#emission you’ll find a table of combustion products
At geocities.com/rainforest/6847/report1.html is an interesting and detailed though not “neutral” report on the components and contaminants in the combustion of natural gas. You’ll see a long long list of emissions products, but look again – most of the contaminant levels listed are in the picograms.
apvgn.pt/documentacao/iangv_rep_part1.pdf lists the components in natural gas exhaust from vehicles
The Need Project, Manassas, VA: need.org/needpdf/infobook_activities/SecInfo/NGasS.pdf
Kroschwitz, Jacqueline I., and Mary Howe-Grant (eds.). "Gas, Natural." In Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 4th ed., vol. 12. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1993.
Tussing, Arlon R., & Bob Tippee. The Natural Gas Industry: Evolution, Structure, and Economics. 2nd ed. Tulsa, OK: PennWell Publishing, 1995.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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