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Protect Your Meter

What to do in the event of a flood

  • Turn off electrical power to each appliance and leave it off
  • Shut off the natural gas supply valve to the appliance (usually found on the gas line to the appliance). Do not attempt any further work until this has been done.
  • Any natural gas appliance that is removed must have the open end of the pipe leading from the valve to the appliance capped or plugged. This is to prevent the back flow of floodwater into the gas piping system. You can do this by using plugs or pipe caps available at hardware and plumbing supply stores.
  • If you are evacuating your premises, shut off your gas valve at the meter. You can turn your gas off at the main shut-off valve on the inlet pipe next to your gas meter. Using a wrench or other suitable tool, give the valve a quarter turn in either direction so that it is crosswise (perpendicular) to the pipe.

What to do after a flood

If water levels were enough to cover the gas meter, call Columbia Gas to check your meter and regulator before using your gas system. Floodwaters may have shifted your home or caused other stresses to the natural gas piping, possibly resulting in a natural gas leak.

Wet electrical wiring is extremely hazardous, so be sure the main electrical supply is shut off. The appropriate jurisdictional inspector must inspect all electrical wiring in buildings that have been partially or fully covered by floodwater before being put into service again. Any loose wires should be considered "live" and a definite hazard.

If flooding has been severe, natural gas appliances should not be used until inspected by a licensed plumber or contractor. However, the cost of restoring some appliances to a safe operating condition may exceed the cost of a new appliance.

Do not attempt to place natural gas appliances back in service yourself. A licensed plumber or contractor will check, clean, repair and pressure test all gas pipes, which may have been clogged with mud or debris.

Damage could also occur to switches, controls, thermostats, furnace heat exchangers, burner and pilot parts and rusting metals parts, to name a few. Again, a licensed plumber or contractor must perform any reconditioning or repairs to natural gas appliances.

If you smell a strong gas odor after a flood

Columbia Gas advises customers that if you notice a strong gas odor, or if there is other evidence of a natural gas leak, do not enter the premises.

  • If you smell the odor of natural gas inside your home, please leave immediately
  • As a precaution, do not smoke, make a spark or flame, switch the lights on/off or raise/lower the windows
  • Call the 24-hour emergency number for Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania at 1-800-344-4077 or your local emergency response number, from nearby
  • Stay nearby until a gas company representative arrives, or leave a note on you door stating where you can be reached.
  • Don't return until you get the all-clear indication that all is safe.

How to restore service

If the natural gas is shut off at the meter, do not try to turn it back on. Call Columbia Gas DirectLink at 1-800-344-4077 to restore gas service, or contact a licensed plumber or contractor.