How to Check for Gas Leak in House-DIY

John: And you’re listening to Talk Radio 1190 I’m John Wolf with the Ask the expert radio show, I have with me Roger Wakefield of

And Roger in our last segment here let’s get into something that can be really dangerous, do people live or work on their own gas lines and do you recommend that they not do that.

Roger: People work on their own gas lines. With everything going on you know I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about Atmos and gas leaks and I think that they said there’s 35,000 feet of pipe that is black steel pipe that Atmos still uses for distribution here in town. This is how to check for gas leak in house.

It’s what we used to use, we go out to job sometimes that the gas line in their yard is literally an old steel line and steel pipe up once you buried underground starts rusting the day you put it underground. No matter what kind of coating is on or once threads are cut into it and fittings are put into it it’s going to rust; it’s what it does.

Gas is the thing that when it comes to people working on a gas leak at home what I recommend to them is yes according to Texas laws the plumbing license law and board rules if you are a homeowner and that home is your homestead and it has to be registered that way you’re allowed to do anything plumbing.

Gas is plumbing. You don’t call Atmos to come work on your gas, you call a plumber. If you call Atmos, if you have a gas leak that is so bad that you’re in fear for your life if you have what you would consider a major gas leak call Atmos.

They’re going to come turn it off. Or go outside with a crescent wrench and turn it off at your gas meter it’s that easy to do. The thing is if ATMOS comes and shuts it off because you have a gas leak once they shut it off your city has to call and tell them that it has been inspected so they can turn it back on. So for a plumber to come make a repair now he’s got a pull a permit that the city has to be paid for that permit, the inspector comes out and inspects it, the plumber has to come back take the test off after that so you’ve just incurred a lot of expenses that maybe you didn’t need to.

If you can turn that gas off and isolate that gas leak that can make it safe do that then call a plumber whether it’s me or somebody else, plumbers are trained to work on gas leaks. You as a homeowner can do it too. What I recommend if you think you know where the gas leak is so you think you’ve got a compression fitting or you’ve got a threaded fitting on a nut or a threaded fitting that’s actually leak and you can tighten that nut. The way a plumber tests, all the Home Inspectors use those sniffers, I don’t really lock those because any residual gas that may be on it it’s going to detect. We use a very hi-tech tool it’s probably one of the most hi-tech tools we use it’s a spray bottle with soap soapy water in it and we spray it on the fitting itself and if it makes bubbles there’s a leak. That is the best way to look for a gas leak.

John: OK because I know when you replace a water heater that’s the one partly that gas element figuring if I screw something up I’ll probably never know because I’ll be blown up in an instant if there is a leak that causes a problem here about houses exploding. And so your advice is to call someone who knows what he’s doing such as yourself who’s got the proper tool to check it out without having to go through all sorts of unnecessary time problems.

Roger: Gas is one of the things I do recommend that people call a plumber. Don’t put your family’s life in jeopardy. If like you said you do change out the water heater, which trust me, homeowners can do that also. But if you do and you put that water heater in a closet or a garage and there is a gas leak and it builds up it can be deadly but just like anything else when you install that water heater take that hi-tech bottle of soapy water and spray it on all the joints make sure it doesn’t leak and that’s kinda see why.

John: I think of that when I get chicken and I would defer to someone that knows what he’s doing. Speaking of which do most towns have licensing requirements where they have to send somebody out to inspect the work you’ve done if you replace your own water heater or does that just vary?

Roger: Even as a homeowner you are supposed to get it inspected. As a homeowner you’re allowed to do your plumbing just like we do. That’s my big issue with handymen.  Handyman cannot come install your water heater, work on your water line, things like that legally because they’re not getting inspected, they’re not licensed. As a homeowner you can you can work on anything you’ve got. I actually got a call this morning from Leland, I believe he’s listening today. And Leland is a mason over in the Richardson area and he’s got a water leak.

So whenever I get out of here Leland I’m going to give you a call and swing by and look at it. You know as a homeowner he can fix it. Leland called us and says look I got a leak in my yard I want you all to come look at it, I want you all to fix it but you know what I’m going to go ahead and start digging it up…well it saves you money. Anything you’re not making the plumber do is going to save you money and that’s what I’m all about. Let me teach homeowners the things they can work on, the things they can do and make it interesting.

Yes you can do a water heater as a homeowner, yes legally you’re supposed to call or go down to the city that you’re in, pull a permit, call and get it inspected and guys this is for your own good it’s to make sure you put it into the same standards that we do. And we study this, we learn this. And guys don’t get me wrong I love handyman there are certain needs for them I’m in Master Networks you know West Plano we’ve got a good handyman there. The master networks I’m in our president is a realtor up and Frisco name Steve Lester and he’s with Keller Williams. And I say what he’s put a great group together. And I tell people all the time I don’t do everything in the house but I know somebody who does, so any time that you want to find out something about another trade get in touch with me. I’ve got a great electrician you know Randy Toler, I’ve got different people that I work with and refer to and I’ve got a good handyman too but he does not do water heaters for that reason.

John: OK now you’ve talked a lot about buying equipment that for the toilet for instance for the in the house that that will save you money in the long run you won’t waste water which is good even without the money if the money were the same but of course saving money comes in. Are there any new things coming out plumbing that things people should look for maybe even wait for to make a purchase that’s not necessary to get today?

Roger: What’s really need me being employing and meeting some of the people that I’ve met- one of the things I am most excited about and it’s a relatively new product new to the market. There’s a company in Hawaii called Kona Labs and they specialize- it’s funny when I met Dr Richard and Ryan they do leak detection for all the big resorts over in Hawaii. So they’ve got a great job. Ryan lives in San Diego I actually saw him over there Tuesday but they’ve got a product coming out and I’ve sampled it at my house for a while they are remodeling it, they are updating it, they’ve created an app for it now and here in the next two or three months it’s going to be out but it’s called Meter Dog. You can go to Kona Labs you can go to Meter Dog you can actually call me and talk to me and I’ll tell you about it because we’re going to start offering those to our clients.

What this is it’s a multi part system; there’s a system that actually attaches to your meter and if your meter starts running in the middle of the night it starts alerting you and letting you know hey you’ve got a leak. The neat thing about that is if we set it up or if you buy a new I want to set up that way it can also alert me your plumber so I can give you a call and say Hey John the meter let me realize that you have a leak and if you say oh my gosh you know what I’m in Mexico right now what can you do; I can either get by there and turn the water off; they’re working on hooking it up with the system that automatically turns the water off. I think meter dog is going to be one of those products that comes into the United States and literally something that every municipality should get because anytime there’s a leak on any house this creates a notification and I think that’s huge.

John: Does it give you any indication of if it’s a drip or if it’s a major flood.

Roger: Absolutely and they’ve got it set up where they can let you know what there’s a little leak, there’s a big leak, there’s a huge leak yes absolutely.

John: And Meter Dog 2.0 actually fixes the leak for you while you’re out of the house well.

Roger: That’s what they call the plumber, Meter Dog 2.0

John: There you go anything else we’re just about out of time here we’re going to the last minute but anything else you want to mention.

Roger: Guys I really do try to bring something to the table for our customers and a lot of times that is telling you how you can do things and how you can make repairs; these videos that we have on our YouTube channel they are there for you.

Look at them, use them, and subscribe to them. Whenever we put up new videos you’ll be the first one to see them and then when you’re out and somebody says oh my gosh I’m going to get a new faucet and you say look I can do that. When I was in high school I learnt how to change brakes on cars it’s a great way to meet and hang out and do things for girls.

John: That never hurts. I’m John Wolf with ask the experts radio show we’ve been on with Roger Wakefield of Texas Green Plumbing his number is (972) 498-1047  or or check out his Facebook page. Thank you very much we’ll catch you next week.

Related Posts
  • 4 Important Tools for Detecting a Gas Leak Read More
  • How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak: 7 Tips Read More