HotWater Heater
Installed to code
Pressure relief valve
outlet outside
Drip pan beneath Heater
19" above Floor
Flue connected
to roof vent and
firmly braced
Stainless steel flex
between valve on black
iron pipe and black
iron pipe in furnace

The Gas Leak Saga at Bull Creek in Austin Texas

How we suffered after calling the Gas company for a gas leak in mid winter

Our house was built in 1950. It once had space gas heaters. A floor register in the hall and a wall heater in the bathroom. In the 60's or 70's the heaters were disconnected and replaced with central air.

In the 90's the owner for twenty years was dying of cancer and sold the home to a developer. This fellow patched the wall cracks and added a master bath on to the front room. We bought it from him.

Over the past twenty years the toilet in this room would leak. The leak dripped on the gas pipe, which rusted through. It began leaking in earnest the second week of February 2019.

When we smelled gas, we called the Texas Gas company.

The technician arrived turned off the gas. He went through the house ensuring all the valves were shut then pressure tested the system and found that it was leaking. They told me the water heater was out of code. I was told that I "should fix the water heater and bring it up to code", but all I must do is fix the leak. Once the leak was fixed and the system passed a pressure test the gas would be reconnected.

We were concerned about the water heater. I called S&D plumbing from Taylor. I called them since they were one of the plumbers who will come to your site, to bid on projects with out charging a fee. They were the plumber of this set of plumbers who gave me the lowest bid.

Bobby is a very nice man. He assessed the situation and recommended a new water heater along with the installation of an overflow catchment basin beneath it as well as plumbing the relief valve outside. He said they could just replace the leaking 5 feet of pipe, or replace the entire run from the meter to the kitchen. We decided on the later option.

Bobby hadn't brought the truck with the tools necessary for replacing steel pipe, so we scheduled his return for Monday. We spent our first weekend with out heat.

Bobby arrived bringing a helper, they spent all day replacing water heater and pipe. Bobby suggested I get a 12 month no interest loan from Green Sky Credit. I was unable to secure this loan first because their web site was broken so I couldn't apply on line, and secondly I was stymied by the freeze I voluntarily placed on my credit reports after some money was taken from my bank account by some bad guy in New Jersey. As a result I paid from savings.

Bobby finished most work on Monday, but returned on Tuesday to fix a few other things.

After Bobby was finished, we called the gas company so they could come out to turn on the gas. The outside temperature was in the 40's and with no heat so was the inside temperature. When the gas guy came by he asked if the plumber had replaced more than 5 feet of pipe. I said yes, since 30 feet were replaced. He said that they couldn't reconnect the gas until the city had inspected and given us a permit.

It took two days until a permit was issued. Since We lacked a smoke detector in EVERY bedroom, two visits by the city inspector were needed until we were cleared.

It was now Friday and we had been without heat for a week. We called the gas company, but they never showed up when we were home, Until late at night, when for some reason we didn't hear the door bell. Since the gas company was unreachable until Monday we had another cold weekend.

Finally on Monday, the gas company returned. After inspecting everything the gas tech tagged out the furnace since it was connected with a flexible copper pipe, but he turned on the gas to the house.

When my wife called S&D Plumbing, Bobby returned and replaced the flexible with solid galvanized pipe at no charge.

After twelve days we had heat.

Lesson learned:

Call the plumber, before the gas company, except during a crisis.