Jul 11, 2012   //   by Daniel Cordova   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on Gas Line Earthquake Valves: A Necessity In California

California offers many benefits to those who are lucky enough to live in the Golden State, such as beaches, amusement parks and historical sites. However, living on the West coast does come with some drawbacks, with earthquakes being a substantial one when they strike. Earthquakes often come unexpectedly, can cause serious damage and can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you are not prepared for them!  One major damage caused by earthquakes are broken gas lines, which often goes unnoticed, but are extremely dangerous.

In our homes, we have gas lines that provide heating and allow us to use many crucial appliances such as water heaters and stoves. If an earthquake were to occur, it could cause major damage to gas lines, causing excessive gas flow that could lead to a fire or an explosion, which can be more damaging than the earthquake itself. In order to avoid this, an earthquake valve is highly recommended, and when installed correctly by a licensed professional, it can save your home from a devastating and costly outcome.

California happens to straddle two plates known as the Pacific plate and the North American plate. These plates are separated by the San Andreas Fault, which runs roughly 800 miles and at least 10 miles within the depths of the Earth, creating a common earthquake zone for California. Installing an earthquake valve on your gas line is a reliable way to guarantee that the gas shuts off in the event of an earthquake. If you are not home when an earthquake strikes, the valve will automatically shut off the gas supply should a pipe break, saving your home from excessive gas flow that could lead to a fire or an explosion.

Now, there are two types of valves that are commonly used to prevent a gas line break. The seismic valve is sensitive to motion, and the excessive flow sensor is sensitive to excessive gas flow. These are typically installed together to provide the maximum protection for your home. However, due to the danger surrounding gas lines, valves should only be installed by a licensed and qualified professional.

Motion sensing cage ball

This precautionary device automatically shuts off your gas service when an earthquake of sufficient magnitude occurs. A metal ball is retained away from an outlet by sitting upon a ring, and when it senses an earthquake, the ball will fall down and block the opening where gas can escape. If activated, rest assured that your home will be safe. Any licensed professional can reset your valve following an earthquake.

Excessive flow sensor

When a pipe breaks, gas begins to flow beyond a suitable limit, which can create a major hazard. The excessive flow sensor causes the valve to close and shut off any potentially dangerous gas flow. Once activated, a licensed professional can repair your broken pipe and reset your valve again.

Most local plumbing companies are equipped with the knowledge and tools to tackle any of your gas leak, gas pipe or gas valve issues. Due to the dangerous nature surrounding gas lines, you should never tamper with a broken one, and it is highly recommended that you as a homeowner contact a licensed professional to install earthquake valves in order to keep you and your home safe. Protecting your home from any potential danger is worth the investment.  If you suspect any type of gas leak, first make sure you turn off the gas to your home, call your local gas company to report the issue, and call your local plumber to inspect and resolve the problem.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!  Get your earthquake valves installed today!


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