Out Of Sight Shouldn’t Be Out Of Mind: A Cautionary Tale About Checking Your Gas Pipes

It’s easy to take things we don’t see for granted – like the gas pipes in our home. I’m sure like many other homeowners, I never thought much about what was going on behind my walls. I had gas service, so everything was surely fine, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It began on a cold January day when a friend dropped off her daughter for a playdate with my daughter. While she was in my house, she thought she smelled gas. We knew this wasn’t something to be taken lightly, so I called PSE&G. Service Specialist Eric (E.G.) Madsen promptly arrived. He took a gas reading and immediately shut off the gas lines to our house. He had a hunch that there might be a leak in the inside gas pipes. He told my wife, who was home alone at the time, that she needed to leave immediately and call an HVAC company to test the pipes.

When the HVAC company arrived what they found was chilling and terrifying. There was indeed a leak in our pipes. In fact a leak is an understatement — there was a substantial hole! Gas was in the ground — and in our walls. The gas pipes inside our house needed to be replaced. We lived in a hotel while the pipes were dug up and replaced. Once that was done a few days later, Mr. Madsen returned to turn on the gas. While I was sitting in my kitchen waiting, I asked him just how much gas was in my walls. His reply sent chills down my spine . “Gas explodes at between 5 percent and 15 percent,” he said. “You were at 15 percent.” We dodged a bullet that day. As a result, the plumbing inspector for the Borough of Tenafly now is checking all the gas pipes in the homes in our neighborhood.

Life lessons are learned every day. With those lessons it’s important to keep things in perspective. We often times get caught up with what’s around us. We focus on what we can see. When things are invisible to the eye, like the gas pipes in our home, we just assume everything is alright. Thankfully, Mr. Madsen didn’t do that. I believe he might have saved our lives, and those of our neighbors. He says that he was just doing his job. It is not often we have the opportunity to thank the people who keep us safe. In fact, we often take them for granted. So, thank you Mr. Madsen.

If I can leave you with one final thought, it would be not to take your pipes for granted. Get them checked. And, if you think you smell gas, call PSE&G!

 David Plotkin – PSE&G Customer

David Plotkin, PSE&G Customer


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    • Hi Shahab, this is Kate from PSEG Communications. Thanks for your comment. PSEG is responsible for piping outside of the home — up to and including the meter. The customer owns piping inside the home. Licensed plumbers can inspect your inside piping to identify problems before they become a danger. If you smell gas, go outside and from a safe distance call PSE&G at 1-800-880-7734. We will shut off gas to make the home safe until a plumbing contractor can fix the leak.

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