Gas leak!

On Monday there were four trucks from the Gas company in front of my house!  Now that I have your attention…

There was nothing really that dangerous, but we did have a minor gas leak at the house.  Shortly after moving in on Sept 6, Heather complained that she thought she could smell gas in one corner of the basement.  I could smell gas a little, but not too strong, so decided to wait to see if the smell would go away.  Last week on Wed, we had some friends over on the deck, and one commented that over on the far side he could smell gas.  So I figured it was time to call the gas company (Xcel Energy).

I called last week on Thurs, and a guy shows up in an hour.  Right away he finds a leak in the gas meter, right outside the basement window.  He fixed the leak in about an hour by replacing some parts on the meter.  I asked if we had been in any danger, and he said not really.  The only danger was that the leak could have abruptly gotten worse which might have been dangerous.  He said they put so much of the odor into the gas, even the teensiest leak smells pretty strong.

So what about the four trucks?  Well, the next day on Fri, we could still smell gas, but I figured it might be some kind of lingering odor.  But after still smelling gas in that corner all weekend (although not as strong), I called again on Monday.  A different guy shows up, and using a meter he gets a gas reading right at the ground where the pipe feeds into the meter.  He says he has to call in for a specialized crew to pinpoint things.  Once again, nothing dangerous, other than the risk that it might get worse.

About an hour later, the trucks show up one after another within about 5 minutes of each other.  The first to show up is pulling a trailer with a small backhoe.  Yikes!  So now I've got 4 or 5 gas guys on my front porch talking about what to do.  They say they need to start digging at the gas meter, and tell me the bush (that was planted way too close) needs to come out.  Fortunately, it wasn't a particularly attractive bush, so I say go ahead.

In the pictures below, you can see them driving the backhoe across the lawn on plywood sheets, so no damage to the lawn.  They pulled the bush out (which still took 4 or 5 pulls from the backhoe), then dug things out by hand.  Fortunately the leak was right there at the bend, so they didn't have to dig up any sidewalk or lawn.  The leak was at a seam in the underground pipe.  It was all original pipe from the late '70s, so it had just worn out.  They had it all repaired and things filled back in a couple of hours.  Other than the missing bush, you can't really tell that anything major happened.  I was really pleased that they didn't trash anything.

The good news about all of this was that the lease were all on the gas companies "side" of things, so there was no charge to us for them to fix things.

I also got to meet another of our neighbors, Sandy, who coincidentally works as an engineer for Xcel Energy (the gas company), and even new a couple of the guys on the crew.

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