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Thread: Gas shutoff valve

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    Default Gas shutoff valve

    Hello. I was searching for an answer about a gas shutoff valve and came across this forum. I just purchased a house a few months ago and am getting around to some of my projects. My question is regarding the shutoff valve for my gas main. Every house I have ever lived in has had some type of shutoff valve right next to the gas meter. The house I am in now (built in 1975) has no such valve on either side of the meter. It comes straight up from the ground into the meter and then out of the meter into my house. When the house was inspected, the inspector did make a note that I was aware of stating there was not a shutoff valve and one should be installed.

    My question is how do I turn the gas on and off should the need ever arise? Is there an integrated valve in the meter that the Gas company has to operate? They say they will come out and turn it off for me, but they will have to schedule an inspection to turn it back on. They will need to pressure test the pipes and they will bill me for this. All my Gas appliances are electronic ignition so no pilots to worry about.

    If a valve does need to be installed, is this my responsibility or the gas company? They said it could take the inspector several days before he can get out there to turn it back on so I am potentially looking at going several days without gas if I am responsible for installing the valve.

    I have a couple projects lined up that will definitely require this. I have a defunct gas grill in the back yard with copper line run to it from the attic that I would like to either cap off or replace with correct piping for gas (should I decide to replace it). There is no shutoff valve anywhere for this, only the gas grills (probably) 30 year old shutoff valves. I would also like to convert from an electric to gas range top . The pipe for that is plugged with no shutoff valve.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    There should be a valve prior to the meter that will shut the gas off in case of a fire or other emergency. This is a quarter turn valve that doesn't have a handle, but rather a T that can be turned with an adjustable wrench. I can not say for certain whose responsible for it being there, my guess is the gas company, but you really should find out and deal with it. BS on the several days. It should be there and you should know how to shut it off. It is not a DIY job.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    I am certain there is no shutoff valve before or after the meter from the point it comes up out of the ground to the point it goes into the house. Is it possible the shutoff valve is in the yard or out by the street? I would think it should be right next to the meter but it is not. I will take a picture as soon as I get home and post it.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    While I do not claim to be an authority on the code in this matter, but I am very sure the valve should be immediately prior to the meter. It should not be hidden, buried, or otherwise difficult to locate. In case of a fire, getting yourself and others out of the house, you should turn off the gas supply. If you can't access it because of the fire, the fire department will need to shut it off. They or you are not going to be able to play a guessing game as to where the valve is.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Normally, the valve AND pressure regulator is just before the meter, but if it is in an area which can be locked so the utility could not get to the meter, it could be outside your fence. BUT, there has to be a a valve somewhere that the gas company can "lock" in case you do not pay your bill.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member petros151's Avatar
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    Default must be there

    I live in a small town The meters are no frills but there is a little hard to see valve running in parallel with the gas pipe coming from the ground to the meter. You have to use a crescent wrench to turn the "handle" so it comes to 90
    degrees with the pipe. My gas meter sends the pipe right out of the meter to the house like you have.

    You should call the gas co. right away if there is indeed no shut off but ask yourself, how did they connect the meter to the gas line without a shut off before the meter?

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    I found it. It was in a box out by the street. It is labeled gas on the cover. Kind of an odd place, but at least I know. Thanks.

    One other question if you don't mind. I have always just turned my gas off and on as needed for repairs or vacations away from the house. When I get back, I just turned it back on and lit all the pilots again.

    The person I spoke with from the gas company told me that the meter has a mechanical shutoff that has to be reset by the gas company if it is shutoff. Now, this is the same person I talked to that did not know what a gas shutoff valve is, so I am not putting to much stock into what she said, but is there a possibility that what she says is true? Has anyone ever heard of a gas meter that does this?
    Last edited by bcdudley; 11-16-2011 at 08:11 PM. Reason: question

  8. #8
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Again, I don't speak for the rest of the world, but that sure as hell seems a Mickey Mouse set up to me, and the advise about the meter is suspect at best. Maybe in your part of the world things are done differently.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    I looked at a few of my neighbors and they are setup the same way with a gas co. shutoff at the street. A couple of them have shutoff's on the customer side, but not all.

    I guess the only way to find out about the meter it to shut it off and turn it back on, then be ready to call the gas co to turn it back on if needed. I am very suspicious about it myself and I highly doubt it. Seems like it would be a lot of extra unnecessary work on the part of the gas company. I will find out this weekend. I think I will install a shutoff valve by the house where it should be, both for safety and maintenance.

    Thanks for the info.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    We had meters like that in Michigan when I lived there. You had to call the gas company to reset the meter every time you turned the gas off. One reason for that type of meter was so the company ALWAYS knew when you worked on the system, so they could determine whether it was safe to reset the meter, or if an inspector had to check the work first.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    So there may of been some truth to what she was saying after all. I would like to yank out an old grill in my backyard this weekend. It is right in the middle of the path going to my hot tub. It is an old Sears brand natural gas grill. It is missing the top, the burners and almost every other piece of hardware on it. I can turn the stubs where the knobs use to be and gas comes out, so I want it gone. In the attic, there is black pipe with some type of fitting adapting it to the copper that goes to the grill. I can just remove the fitting and plug it with the correct plug.

    At least I know what to expect. I have no problem with a gas inspection as long as they don't charge me some ridiculous amount for it. I had the home inspected when I moved in and it passed with flying colors with the exception of the missing shutoff valve and a note about the copper line going to the grill.

    Thanks.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You will need a permit and it is very possible that you will not be allowed to do your own gas work. They OFTEN do "charge a ridiculous amount" for permits, because that is how they fund their department.
    Last edited by hj; 11-18-2011 at 06:11 AM.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    You will need a permit and it is very possible that you will not be allowed to do your own gas work. They OFTEN do "charge a ridiculous amount" for permits, because that is how they fund their department.
    Texas is a very different than Washington -- lived in both for a long time...

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member bcdudley's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gary Swart

    You will need a permit and it is very possible that you will not be allowed to do your own gas work. They OFTEN do "charge a ridiculous amount" for permits, because that is how they fund their department.

    I am certain that I can do this myself and am not required to hire a licensed person to do this, both in the legal sense and from an experience standpoint. I have the correct tools for performing the job including a manometer for pressure testing. I am also reasonably certain that a permit is not required for just capping off the line.

    Under the Texas Homestead Act, Texas Plumbing License Law and Texas Mechanical License Law, a person who owns, occupies and has homesteaded the home where the work is to be performed is exempted from the requirement of having a licensed person do the work and may do any kind of plumbing or mechanical work on his/her homestead themselves. The work performed by a homeowner requires a permit (when required by Chapter 52 of the Dallas Building Code) and inspection (if required). If no permit or inspection is required, the homeowner is required to comply with the plumbing/mechanical code.
    Here are some excerpts from the mentioned Chapter 52 of the Dallas Building Code that may be relevant.

    301.2 Defenses. It is a defense to prosecution under Section 301.1.1 that the act is included in
    one of the enumerated categories listed in this subsection. No permit is required for the
    following:

    4. Stopping of leaks in pipes, drains, valves, or plumbing fixtures if the repair does not
    require rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.

    9. Installation of a portable heating appliance, portable ventilating equipment, portable
    evaporative cooler, or portable comfort cooling unit.

    30. Replacement in kind of any fitting, valve, or plumbing fixture that does not change the
    number of fixtures or the location of a fixture “rough-in” except that a permit is required
    if a utility release is necessary.

    31. Replacement of permanent heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning equipment where no
    change in “rough-in” is required, if the value of the work does not exceed $3,000.
    Thank you for your concern and I do understand the concern for the average or first time DIY'er performing work on a gas line. It is not a beginner project and can be extremely dangerous. As I am new to this site, I completely understand your concern and I agree it is appropriate to provide these warnings.

  15. #15
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    Sounds like a tamper proof shutoff valve. It can be turned off with a crescent wrench but needs a special wrench to turn it back on. The possibility of turning it back on without the special wrench is dependant on exactly how the valve is configured.

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