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PLUMBING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
DRAIN & SEWER PIPING
FLOODED HEATING EQUIPMENT REPAIR
FLOODED WATER HEATER REPAIR
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
GAS FIRED WATER HEATERS
GAS LP & NATURAL GAS SAFETY HAZARDS
GAS PRESSURES LP vs NATURAL GAS
GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
GAS BTUH, CUBIC FEET & ENERGY
GAS CONVERSION LP-NATURAL GAS
GAS FLAME & NOISE DEFECTS
GAS IGNITER DEFECTS & REPAIRS
GAS LEAK DETECTION, LP / NG
GAS LIGHTING, PIPES, FIXTURES
GAS PIPING DEFECTS
GAS REGULATORS for APPLIANCES
GAS REGULATORS for LP TANKS
GAS REGLATORS, TWO STAGE
GAS SHUTOFF VALVES
LP GAS TANKS
GAS LP & NATURAL GAS SAFETY HAZARDS
LP & Natural Gas Pressures
METHANE GAS SOURCES
Natural Gas Combustion Products
SPILL SWITCHES - Flue Gas Detection
TYPES OF FUEL GAS SOURCE
MANUALS & PARTS GUIDES - HVAC
METHANE GAS SOURCES
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS, SEPTIC or SEWER
ODORS, SULPHUR SMELL SOURCES
OIL TANK PIPING & PIPING DEFECTS
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
SEWER GAS ODORS
SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
Detect or find gas leaks in natural gas or LP gas / propane piping, fittings, & appliances: This article describes how to find gas leaks on LP or natural gas piping, regulators, or appliances, and it provides free sample draft home inspection report language for reporting defects in oil and gas piping at residential properties. This article series provides descriptions and photographs of unsafe gas piping, indications of unsafe or improperly operating gas appliances, gas meters, and other gas installation defects are provided.
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Watch out: 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. The text provided here is a working draft and may be incomplete or inaccurate.
NOTICE: while example report language is provided here, reproduction of this or any of our web pages or their contents at other websites or in printed documents for sale is prohibited.
NOTE: Except that LP gas and natural gas operate at different pressures and thus will have different test pressure specifications. Readers who are interested in gas leak detection equipment should review our article and gas testing warnings at Recommendations for gas measurement instruments & gas detector tubes for indoor gas level tests which includes our description of use of the TIF8800 and similar gas detectors.
Our photo at above left of an LP gas line shutoff shows black staining around the shutoff valve and flare fitting, with some of the black worn away - previously there had been an LP gas leak at this location.
General Safety Warnings for LP or "bottled" or "propane" Gas Installations & Inspections
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:
Heating equipment which the inspector (or building occupant or manager) judges to be an immediate life safety hazard should be shut down and appropriate emergency services called.
Pressure testing a gas piping system for evidence of gas leaks
These two methods are generally used to test a gas piping distribution system to see if leaks are present.
Thanks to reader Tony Martinez for updating our data on the proper pressure for LP or Natural Gas leak testing. Thanks to another reader JR, an industry manager familiar with gas pressures, who adds that these two fuel gases operate at different pressures. In residential appliances
Watch out: Extinguish gas pilot lights - in order to perform pressure-testing methods for LP or natural gas leak detection as discussed above, you will need to extinguish the pilot lights on all gas-fired appliances in the building, and the pilot lights will need to be re-lit again after testing is complete.
Methods used to find and identify points of gas leaks in a gas piping distribution system or at a gas appliance
Visual Inspection for Evidence of Gas Leaks in fuel gas lines and appliances: Our photograph shows black stains on copper tubing at the flare fitting connecting an LP gas line to a shutoff valve.
Some service technicians point to stains on piping as an evidence of a possible chronic leak in the gas line at this point.
Identifying Sources of Leaks at Brass Flare Fittings on LP Gas Piping Systems
Here are two brass flare fittings. One of them had a gouge that gave us a gas leak that was a bit tough to find until we disassembled and inspected the leaky joint.
If tightening flared copper tubing connections does not easily correct a leak at that joint, do not just over-tighten the joint (you may break the flare and cause a still larger leak), and do not rely on pipe sealant inside of flared copper tubing fittings.
Open and inspect the flare fitting joint, and replace the flare fittings or make a new copper tubing flared end if necessary.
Also see Advice for Making Flare Fitting Connections with Copper Tubing or Piping where we describe preparation of the flare joint for flexible copper tubing for refrigeration or gas piping lines.
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