Natural Gas

In BC we have BC One Call, www.bconecall.bc.ca, 1800-474-6886. They are often able to help you with general area information over the phone. More specific diagrams and measurements can be obtained usually within a few days.

They will send you municipal drawings and diagrams via email as well.

They are an excellent service, and your municipality is probably a member so by living in the area, the service is free.

BC Gas Safety Authority is a great source for concise, easy to understand information on natural gas. To keep you and your home safe from carbon monoxide leaks, it is a good idea to keep CO detectors near fixtures that use natural gas, such as furnaces, boilers and fireplaces.

When dealing with natural gas, R&B always recommends you use a qualified gas fitter.  However there are provisions for homeowners who feel confident in undertaking a DIY project of this type.  The rules state that if you are paying somebody to assist you, or complete gas fitting work for you, you will need a contractor’s gas permit, which must be obtained by registered contractors.  If you are doing work on a house that is not or will not be your permanent residence, or has tenants, then you must hire a registered professional. Finally, if the scope of the work is beyond your knowledge and expertise and the BC GAS Safety Authority does not approve your homeowners permit application, you must hire a professional gas fitter.  Often the implied savings in a DIY gas project are absorbed by extra material and additional permit and inspection requirements that are necessary in a homeowner’s gas permit project.

A CO detector is a good part of a house safety plan.  We don’t often think of installing them, but they are as important as smoke detectors in protecting your family.  It is recommended to install one outside the bedrooms and one on each additional floor, the same way you would a smoke detector.  It is not advised to install them in the mechanical room as some furnaces may emit a small amount of CO upon start up which is not cumulative or harmful but may trip the detector.  CO detectors are very accessible to the general public through hardware stores.  R&B Plumbing and Heating can supply and install them for you.

A natural gas detector is a tool used by our servicemen to detect leaks and levels of natural gas in the air.  Since natural gas is already scented to make a leak very noticeable, we don’t typically encourage a homeowner to purchase their own.  Leak detectors need to be calibrated on a regular basis and this maintenance outweighs the benefits of having one.  Instead we recommend regular service and maintenance to keep your appliances running well.

The BC Gas Safety Authority has great safety tips for homeowners including an easy to read list of when a permit is required.  Permits may seem like a hassle but they serve an important purpose in protecting the homeowner and future inhabitants from imperfect installations.  Since the risk of CO exposure is so significant, a properly designed and installed gas system that has been approved and inspected by the gas safety branch is time and money well spent.

An earthquake valve is an automatic shutoff installed at the gas meter, outside the house. It is triggered by any seismic activity (usually greater that 5.4 on the Richter scale.  Earthquakes are quite common in BC and since gas leaks are a leading cause of fire after a quake, you can easily protect yourself by this simple installation.