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How Do I Know Whether I Need an Earthquake Valve Installed?

How Do I Know Whether I Need an Earthquake Valve Installed?

If you live in Southern California, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the destruction that earthquakes can cause. Earthquake shut-off valves are a necessity for anyone trying to ensure the safety of their family and home. They may also be required in some states and it’s always wise to check state regulations to ensure your home or office is covered. 

Earthquake shut-off valves can even lower your homeowners’ insurance. However, you should install your earthquake shut-off valve properly. Improper installation can be just as dangerous as not having an earthquake shut-off valve. Additionally, earthquake shut-off valves need to be regularly updated for proper functionality and to adhere to updates in regulations. 

At SGS Gas, we can ensure your property stays protected from natural disasters and potentially harmful natural gas leaks or pipe bursts. Our certified technicians can install your shut-off valve properly and prevent you from incurring damage or earthquakes causing more extensive damage. 

Do I Need an Earthquake Shut-Off Valve?

Earthquake shut-off valves are required in certain areas but it’s not always the case. Some municipalities have grandfather laws that exempt older structures, as well. Even if legalities don’t require you to install an earthquake protection valve, and you live in a seismically active zone, you should seriously consider installing an earthquake shut-off valve for your home. 

In the event of an earthquake, gas lines can still be shut off manually. Manual shut-off valves are usually installed where the gas supply line attaches to the property’s mainline. Automatic shut-off valves do not replace the manual shut-off valves at gas line mains. However, these devices can prevent both flammable and potentially explosive gas from leaking or pipes rupturing.

Manual shut-off valves can’t be shut off without someone being present. During an earthquake, someone has to turn off the valve and if there is no one there, then you can’t turn it off. As a result, this can lead to potential harm for you and your property. 

How Do Earthquake Shut-Off Valves Work?

Shut-off valves are installed onto your gas meter where it connects to your home gas pipes. The shut-off valve acts as a threshold between your gas supply and your home. Normally, gas passes through the threshold as it would any other pipe. However, during an earthquake, the valve closes this threshold and restricts the flow of gas into your home.

There’s a metal ball suspended on a ring above the passage where gas travels through and in the event of an earthquake, the metal ball dislodges, falls into the passage, and blocks the gas from flowing. Until the valve resets, gas can no longer enter your home. All resetting accomplishes is moving the ball back into its original position. 

Why Should I Install an Earthquake Shut-Off Valve?

Wherever you live, if you need an earthquake shut-off valve installed, you should leave the question of how to install an earthquake shut-off valve to certified professionals. The areas that require earthquake shut-off valves include any area with substantial amounts of seismic activity. 

  • In the event of an earthquake that registers at 5.1 or higher, your earthquake shut-off valve closes the gas line even if you aren’t home. 
  • Shut-off valves save your home from fires and damages when infrastructure becomes strained during natural disasters.
  • Earthquake shut-off valves require frequent updates. 
  • Natural gas leaks mean dangerous and potentially deadly situations. Without an earthquake shut-off valve, you need to make sure you understand how to recognize and respond to these emergencies. 

Can Installing an Emergency Earthquake Gas Shut Off Valve Save Me Money On Earthquake Insurance?

Living in Southern California, installing an earthquake shut-off valve can reduce your homeowners’ insurance by as much as 5%. In these locations, earthquake insurance is a necessity, and purchasing an earthquake shut-off valve can help ensure you make the most out of your insurance possibilities and don’t spend much time worrying about potential options and whether you’re getting overcharged. 

Many insurance providers prefer to see automatic gas line shut-off valves installed because they are effective and dependable. To find out the precise amount that these shut-off valves can save, you should speak with your insurance provider.

Proper Placement for Your Earthquake Shut-Off Valve

Earthquake shut-off valves must be installed correctly to accomplish their purpose. A reputable earthquake shut-off valve company will be able to give you a sense of relief with their professionality and expertise and you won’t have to worry about improper shut-off valve placement or installing the valve yourself. 

Under the regulations of the California Public Utilities Commission, General Order 112-E, only certified contractors can operate gas service shut-off valves. At Safe Gas Services, we can check the entirety of your home to determine the best placement for your earthquake shut-off valve and whether you will be protected in case there is an earthquake. 

Resetting Your Valve

If an earthquake or other event causes your earthquake shut-off or excess-flow valve to close, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for resetting the valve so that natural gas can once again flow. We recommend you contact qualified professionals to reset the valve to ensure a proper safety check before restoring them to full operation. 

After an earthquake, it may take a professional several days or even weeks to arrive at your location. Additionally, the professional might charge fees to reset valves and re-light pilot lights when your earthquake shut-off valve has closed due to a non-earthquake occurrence. 

How to Buy an Earthquake Valve

You must keep the following elements in mind when buying an earthquake or excess-flow valve:

  • Price: The price of your valve is going to vary depending on the type and size of the valve. Installation requirements can also affect the overall price of your installation. 
  • The valve: Choosing the correct valve size and manufacturer depends on contacting your local Department of Building and Safety to determine earthquake valve size requirements. 
  • Where to buy your valve: Purchasing your earthquake valve at supply retailers, licensed plumbing contractors, or directly from the valve manufacturer will help determine your overall price. 
  • Using a contractor: You can hire a qualified professional to install the earthquake or excess-flow valve on your house line. 

What Is an Excess Flow Valve?

Excess-Flow Valves, or EFVs, are safety devices installed on natural gas distribution pipelines that automatically close and restrict the flow of natural gas in the event of an underground pipe getting damaged or an abnormal flow of natural gas to the meter. Digging or construction events can cause these damages and interrupt the proper flow of gas. The Excess-Flow Valve ensures the proper flowing of natural gas through your pipes. 

What Does an EFV Do?

EFVs reduce the risk of explosions, personal injuries, and fires by restricting excessive or abnormal natural gas flow. These valves do not protect customers from appliance malfunctions, punctures in underground pipelines, or pipeline damage from earthquakes or flooding. They do not shut off the flow of natural gas completely and leakage still may occur, resulting in hazardous conditions. 

Where Is an EFV Installed?

EFVs are installed on the service pipeline that runs underground between the natural gas main (located in or near the street, alley, or easement) and the customer’s property. 

Conclusion- How Do I Know Whether I Need an Earthquake Shut-Off Valve Installed?

Earthquake shut-off valves are a necessity for anyone living in a location that has substantial risks of earthquakes. For those living in Southern California, earthquake shut-off valves are an important measure to protect against gas leaks and pipe bursts that can lead to fires or health hazards. 

The professionals at Safe Gas Services ensure your earthquake shut-off valve is installed properly in a timely manner, adhering to all regulations and laws. You can rest easy knowing that you and your family are safe when you use Safe Gas Services. 

Contact us today to set a free inspection to determine the best steps regarding installing your earthquake shut-off valve. 

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