Natural Gas Safety
Know How to Stay Safe Around Natural Gas
Like any energy source, natural gas safety should be taken seriously. Following these guidelines will help you stay safe with natural gas in your home or business, let you know what to do in the event of an emergency, and tell you how to recognize the signs of a gas leak.
What is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is a non-toxic, flammable, hydrocarbon gas that is lighter-than-air and readily disperses in the air. Because natural gas is odourless, we add an odourizing agent to make the gas detectable by smell. The odourant smells like sulphur or rotten eggs. We provide natural gas scratch and sniff cards to help you recognize this smell. Request a Scratch and Sniff Card for your family or classroom.
Report a Gas Leak
If you suspect a gas leak, contact our 24-hour emergency line at 1-866-222-2068.
Report Gas Theft
Theft of natural gas and tampering with natural gas pipelines or metering equipment can create a safety hazard for you, your family, your neighbours, and our employees. The improper use of, or tampering with, natural gas equipment can cause fire, explosion, injury, or even death.
– Investigate all reports of gas leaks or theft;
– Make the situation safe; and
– Keep your personal information confidential.
If you suspect a gas leak or gas theft, contact our 24-hour emergency line at 1-866-222-2068.
Natural Gas Appliance Safety Tips
- Install carbon monoxide alarms.
- Inspect your natural gas appliances regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure your heating appliances and natural gas dryer have clean filters.
- Do not store items near a natural gas appliance, and keep the area clear of dust and debris.
- Do not store or use highly flammable products in the same room as any natural gas appliance. These products include gasoline, spray paints, solvents, insecticide, adhesives, cleaning products, and other pressurized containers.
- Do not use your oven, range top, or outdoor barbeque to heat your home.
- Vent your natural gas dryer outdoors using approved metal ducting.
- Regularly clean the burners and oven of a natural gas range. Never line the oven with aluminum foil.
- Keep any pipe wrap or insulation at least 15 centimetres (6 inches) away from the draft hood or flue at the top of the tank when insulating the water piping that extends from the water heater.
- Always contact a licensed technician for any inspection or maintenance needs.
How to Turn Your Gas On or Off
Please read the steps below to turn your gas off or back on. If you require assistance, contact our 24-hour emergency line at 1-866-222-2068, and one of our technicians will help you.
If you need to turn off the gas supply to your home or building, follow these instructions:
- Grab a wrench. A crescent wrench works best, but a pipe wrench or sturdy pliers will also work.
- Locate the shut-off valve. It’s on the pipe coming out of the ground beside the gas meter.
- Use the wrench to turn the valve ¼ turn to the off position. The blade of the valve will be at a right angle (90 degrees) to the pipe in the OFF position.
- Turn your gas back on.
- For gas-burning appliances with a pilot light, review the instructions on our Relight Your Appliances page before you start.
To turn the gas supply to your home or building back on, follow these instructions:
- Make sure all your gas appliance valves are in the off position.
- Grab a wrench. A crescent wrench works best, but a pipe wrench will also work.
- Use the wrench to turn the main gas valve (by the gas meter) ¼ turn to the OPEN position. Ensure the blade of the valve is aligned with the pipe.
- If the regulator has a plunger, remove the cap and pull the plunger out about one inch (the plunger should stay in its “pulled out” position).
- Check around all gas-burning equipment and gas piping. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn the appliance valve or the main gas valve back to the OFF position and immediately contact our 24-hour emergency line at 1-866-222-2068. We will send a technician to inspect your piping and appliances.
Excavating Near Pipelines
Before you start any project involving ground disturbance, you need to identify the location of buried pipelines and other infrastructure within the proposed work area. The approximate location and type of pipeline present within the proposed work area will be identified during our visit. Visit our Click Before You Dig page for more information.
If the proposed excavation is within 30 metres of a high-pressure pipeline, contact us prior to the start of work. One of our technicians is required to be present on site during excavation and backfilling activities around the pipeline. A crossing agreement is required for all high pressure pipeline excavations.
The pipeline must be exposed by hand before the use of mechanical excavation equipment within:
- 1 metre of distribution mains & service pipelines; and
- 5 metres of high pressure pipelines.
Mechanical equipment must not be used within 30 centimetres of the pipeline.
There must be at least 30 centimetres clearance between the bottom of our pipeline(s) and the top of the crossing pipeline(s) or works.
Any damages to Apex Utilities equipment or pipelines, regardless of severity, must be reported, and Apex Utilities will conduct an inspection.
For more information on pipeline excavation regulations and procedures please visit:
Natural gas piping feeds fuel to your appliances, and a gas meter measures the amount of natural gas delivered to your home or business.
The area around a gas meter should be kept clear, so utility workers and emergency responders can access it at all times. Ice and snow, storage boxes, garden tools, and vegetation inhibit us from performing periodic safety checks, routine maintenance, and access in the event of an emergency.
Keep the area around the meter free and clear:
- Do not let snow cover the meter and piping. Gently brush off snow or ice with a soft broom or brush;
- Protect the meter from overhead hazards such as snow build-up on your roof;
- Prevent dripping water from splashing or freezing onto the meter or connections;
- Do not lean things against, or hang things from, the meter and piping;
- Do not build permanent structures such as decks, porches, or sheds around the meter;
- Do not tie pets to the meter; and
- Do not tamper with the meter or equipment.
If the meter is located in an area where damage by vehicles or other equipment could occur, consider installing bollards or guards.
If you’re planning to demolish a building or structure, contact us to disconnect gas service before demolition begins.