When you are living in California, experiencing earthquakes could be very common. Earthquakes are one of the most dangerous natural disasters, and can cause a lot of damage to your home, especially a high magnitude one. When an earthquake occurs, your home may be damaged; they can break a gas line or shut-off your gas valve, causing it to fail to operate. It can also create a potentially lethal explosion that can destroy your home and cause burns, injuries, or even death.
On the year 2000, the California Building Standards Commission approved the Division of the State Architect’s emergency regulations, requiring all newly constructed buildings in California to install earthquake shut-off valves or also known as a seismic natural gas shut-off valve.
Though it is impossible to foretell when the next earthquake might happen, you don’t want to be taken by surprise. Installing an earthquake shut-off valve could save your life and can guard your home against earthquake damage. Most homeowners understand the dangers of natural gas and do not want to experience a natural gas leak or explosion. The risk of a natural gas leak is why it is essential that you have an automatic earthquake shut-off valve installed at your home or business. However, considering the level of safety involved in this process, it is essential that you only contact a professional plumbing repair expert. Here are the necessary things to know about earthquake shut-off valves.
What is an Earthquake Shut-off Valve?
Seismic natural gas shut-off valve – It shut-offs your natural gas service automatically when a high magnitude earthquake happens in your home.
What is the Purpose of an Earthquake Shut-off Valve?
High-intensity earthquakes can immediately break gas pipes, leading to a hazardous gas leak. The primary purpose of having an earthquake shut-off valve is safety! Installing it in your home’s gas system can assure you that when the big one occurs, your home is prepared from both seismic activity and earthquakes.
How Do Earthquake Shut-off Valves Work?
An earthquake shut-off valve is installed on your gas meter, where the meter connects to your gas pipes. The gas passes into the inlet, through the lower chamber and out through the outlet. Pressure in the outlet is sensed under the diaphragm via the impulse line. If the pressure increases, the diaphragm will lift, pushing the spring upwards. Once the spring and diaphragm reach a set point, the latch mechanism for the valve is released. The unlatched valve then closes in the direction of the gas flow, shutting off the supply. Once the valve has closed, it needs to be manually reset by either the network manager or meter asset manager.
Resetting Your Valve
If your valve closes due to an earthquake or other significant events, you can always follow the instructions on your manufacturer’s manual in resetting your gas valve for the natural gas to flow again. But, it is important that you contact a qualified professional to reset the valve, and to conduct a safety check of your natural gas appliances before they are placed back in operation as this is to verify that no natural gas leaks exist.
How to Buy an Earthquake Valve
When you plan to buy an earthquake shut-off valve, keep the following things in mind:
- Price: The cost of the valve varies by its type and size, as well as the installation requirements and the company that will install it.
- Choosing a valve: To determine what valve size you should use, you can contact your local. Department of Building and Safety office to find out their earthquake valve requirements.
- Where to buy a valve: An earthquake valve can be purchased at any supply retailers, accredited plumbing contractors, or from the valve manufacturer.
- Using a contractor: You can always hire an expert to install the earthquake shut-off valve on your house line.
When Can I Have an Earthquake Shut-off Valve Installed?
You can have an earthquake shut-off valve installed in your home right away! All you have to do is call Caccia Plumbing at any time. We have our certified technicians that can install earthquake shut-off valves in your home that works correctly and do its job accurately.
Manual Gas Shut-off
The most efficient way to manage the risk from natural gas is to know how and when to shut it off manually. By using a wrench, you can easily turn off the manual valve, which is located at the gas meter. It is important to remember that you should shut off the gas if:
- You smell gas
- You hear gas escaping
- You suspect a broken gas pipe, appliance, vent, or flue.
CAUTION: If you turn off your natural gas at the meter, leave it off. Do not turn it back on yourself. Contact a professional technician to turn the meter back on and relight the pilots.
Natural Gas Shut-off Valves
It is much better if you install a shut-off valve at every natural gas appliance in your home. If a leak appears at the particular appliance, the valve will turn off the natural gas at the specific appliance rather than shutting off all of your natural gas services.
Keeping You & Your Family Safe
In California, earthquakes are unavoidable. Caccia Plumbing can help keep you and your family safe from dangerous gas leaks caused by earthquakes with earthquake shut-off valves installed in your home. Our licensed and professional technicians will work swiftly and efficiently to install your valve and guarantee you that it is working accurately. We offer earthquake valve installation on both residential and commercial properties to keep you, your family, and others safe.