Winter Gas Safety Tips
Stay warm. Stay safe.
How to Stay Safe This Winter:
- Make sure your gas meter isn’t covered. Remove snow and ice from around the meter and piping with a brush, not a shovel.
- Don’t let snow, ice, leaves, or other debris block vents and exhaust ducts. And have your heating and venting system serviced regularly. This prevents the dangerous accumulation of carbon monoxide inside buildings.
- Never use a gas oven or range, or charcoal grill to heat a room. This causes a carbon monoxide danger that could prove fatal.
- Keep chimneys and/or flues clear of debris. And check to make sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation, and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Have your heating system checked annually. Arrange for a licensed professional to check your heating system at least once a year.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector. It’s not just safe — it’s the law. CO detectors alert you when deadly carbon monoxide is collecting inside your building. New York state law requires every home to have a CO detector. Make sure you’re covered by installing detectors on every floor of your home. Already have one? Check the batteries periodically.
- Don’t operate generators indoors. Open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator inside. If you need to use a back-up generator during a power outage, be sure to operate it outdoors.
- Don’t mess with gas. Construction on gas lines should only be done by licensed contractors with the approval of NYC or local municipalities, and the consultation and inspection by O&R. Do you suspect illegal tampering with a gas line? Call 1-877-434-4100.
How to Recognize a Gas Leak
Smell — A distinctive, strong odor similar to rotten eggs
See — A white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, blowing dust, or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason
Hear — Roaring, hissing, or whistling
Why Natural Gas Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Natural gas doesn’t actually smell like anything. That's why we add a chemical called methyl mercaptan (methanethiol) to natural gas so you’ll be able to smell it in case of a leak. Mercaptan has a very distinct and unpleasant odor that many people compare to the smell of rotten eggs.
What to Do If You Think There Is a Gas Leak
- If the odor is strong, leave immediately and take others with you.
- If you are outside, leave the area immediately.
- Don’t light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone, or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode.
- Find a phone away from the area and call 1-800-533-LEAK (5325), 911 or your local gas provider. You can report leaks anonymously.
- Don't assume someone else will report it.
- Follow directions from emergency responders who are on site.
Watch a video to learn how to recognize gas leaks.
Excess Flow Valves
Your natural gas service is safe, clean, and reliable. But if a contractor excavating on your property accidentally damages your gas pipeline, it could cause a gas leak. To avoid this, please insist that any workers (including yourself) digging around your home or business call 811 before excavating so we can make sure they’re digging safely.
As an optional added safety measure to protect your property from a gas leak resulting from excavation damage, you can request to have an “excess flow valve” installed, at your expense, between the street and your meter. This mechanical safety device will automatically shut off the flow of gas if your service line breaks. This can reduce the risk of fire, explosion, and injury if the line is damaged, but it won’t automatically shut off the gas if there is a small leak.
To install the valve, we must excavate the service line where it connects to the gas mainline piping that runs down your street. We will then turn off your gas, install the valve, backfill the excavation and relight your appliances. The cost to install this optional feature is $2,700. There will be no additional costs to maintain or replace the device.
Excess flow valves are installed only on service lines that operate at pressures of 10 psig or greater and for loads of 1,000 standard cubic feet per hour or less. Other exceptions may apply. To learn more, to find out if your gas service is eligible for this equipment, or to schedule an installation date that works for you and us, please call 1-877-434-4100.