Reeking of Gas

Friday night I left at 6pm on my bicycle, was out late, and returned home after midnight. The streets were mostly quiet. As I approached, a few houses from mine I smelled gas. It only got stronger as I approached, and when I went inside it was equally strong.

The Roommate was watching television, and I asked him what was up. He looked quizical. I said it reeks of gas in here! He says he doesn’t smell anything.

He does add that the neighbor called someone, and they came out and “couldn’t find anything”? I found out later from her, that she called “the city”. I’m not sure who came out.

I searched about, and could find nothing specific, and the smell started growing fainter, as it had for The Roommate. I showered, was tired, was losing the smell of it, and rationalized someone had already checked, it hadn’t blown up yet, and who was I going to call anyway. I went to bed.

Several Ringwalds were worried about the dangerousness of navigating mostly deserted streets late at night on my bicycle. I encountered almost no one on the streets, and now I slept on “major gas leak”.

The following morning I got up, went down stairs and could smell the gas again. Went outside to look and sniff around. Re-entered the house and it was stronger. That settled it, it had to be in this house!

The only thing in the house that currently runs on gas is the furnace. It hasn’t exactly been in use recently, and it has an electric ignition. The water heater was gas, but I pulled it out over a month ago when it gave up the ghost. It has yet to be replaced.

I have been gutting the small bathroom that used to contain the water heater, which is why it hasn’t been replaced yet. The first place I checked the night before, and in the morning was in that bathroom, which has a gas outlet. It is actually exposed to under the pier-and-beam (how could Wikipedia have nothing on pier and beam?) house right now, but I haven’t done any work in there in over a week, and haven’t been under the house (yet).

In the morning with the television not on, you could quite clearly hear gas hissing out of a pipe under the house. So, most of it was escaping to the outside, but some was coming through the gaping floor into the room, which itself was mostly sealed off from the house. But certainly not to gas.

I called the gas company. The phone girl sounded non-plussed. The gas guy got there in about 30-45 minutes. He, of course, smelled it outside, and more so in the house.

After showing it all to him and describing it, he said it was a “major leak” and if the water heater had still been there it likely would have blown. So, I’d like to thank the water heater for dying in a timely manner.

I spent the day elsewhere and upon return it was free of gas odor.