The smell of natural gas near my meter.

The smell of natural gas near my meter.

As autumn sets in, leaves continue to fall. One of the seasonal chores that “delights” many homeowners is raking leaves. While you’re raking leaves away from your mums in the garden or porches and decks, you might find yourself near the gas meter. You may notice the odor of a rotten eggs and ask yourself, is it normal to smell gas at the meter?

There are couple of things to consider:

Is it a faint smell and just occasionally?

The gas meter has a regulator which helps control the flow of gas into your home or business. At times it will normally bleed off or “burp” small amounts of gas to keep the pressure from building up too high in your home. So, yes, it is normal to smell a faint smell of gas by the meter.

Is the odor more constant?

If you smell gas more than occasionally and it is continuous, you may have a gas leak. A good      way to test to see if you have a leak is to do a soap test. Fill an empty spray bottle with water and add some liquid soap (Dawn dish soap works best). Spray the gas meter, regulator and  all the surrounding fittings.. Paying particular attention to any seams.  If there is a leak, bubbles will develop. If you see bubbles, contact your gas company to alert them of the leak.

If you smell natural gas or have any reason to think you may have a gas leak around your home start investigating immediately. If the smell is strong, leave the area immediately. If the gas smell is faint, you may wish to try to locate the source by smell and a bubble test. Do not attempt a repair.

Here are five common gas leak locations around your home:

  1. Gas riser – The gas riser is the pipe that emerges from the ground to connect the gas supply to your gas meter.
  2. Gas regulator – a disc-shaped device near your gas meter that controls gas pressure going into your home.
  3. Joints and fittings – any visible joint or fitting that may not be sufficiently tightened.
  4. Gas meter – typically has dials or a read out on it.  
  5. Service line – Service lines run underground from the main to the riser. If you smell gas while in the middle of your yard, there is a chance your service line is leaking. In this case you should call you gas company and notify them.