Natural gas explosions turned Merrimack Valley, north of Boston, into a war zone last week. “It is still unclear what triggered the blasts and flames. The National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday said gas was flowing into pipes at much higher rates than normal, but why that happened is unclear. NTSB investigators did find on Sunday morning that in at least one underground situation, gas pressure sensor equipment was connected to a pipeline that was taken out of service and had been capped off,” reports The Boston Globe.
Need to turn off the gas, or electricity, or water? Here’s how.
If you have to turn off the gas, it’s safer to do it on individual appliances. There are valves behind or attached to the stove, dryer, fireplace, and hot water heater that can be turned by hand — although some homes may have older shutoffs that require a wrench. Turn the valve clockwise: If it’s vertical, make it horizontal, or vice versa.
Shutting off the gas altogether requires an adjustable wrench, so keep one at the ready so you can turn it off quickly. Look for the meter, which is usually located at the front of the house, either in the basement on the wall or outside close to the ground. The meter is connected to a pipe with a shutoff valve. Using the wrench, turn the valve clockwise, changing it from vertical to horizontal, or the other way around.
Again, however, experts warn that home owners run the risk of snapping off the valve or injuring themselves — and shouldn’t attempt to do this themselves. You can also have valves installed that can be turned off by hand.
If the issue is water — say, a pipe bursts and water is pouring everywhere — head to the basement and go to the front of the house. There are two shutoff valves near the water meter, which is on a pipe near the floor — copper in newer homes, lead or galvanized ones in older homes. Look for the one that is directing water into the house, not the one on the street side, where the water comes in. Newer valves can be turned off by hand, but older ones will require an adjustable wrench, and some force may need to be applied.
There is also a dedicated shutoff valve under the kitchen or bathroom sink if you only need to stop water there.
The oil tank, also in the basement, has a valve near the bottom that can be turned off by hand. This will shut off the supply of oil to the furnace and any other appliances running on oil.
Turning off the power is relatively simple. Circuit breaker panels are located on the wall in the basement, or in the main living area in an apartment. Just open the cover, look at the top, and flip the switch that says “main” to the left.
If you have an older house with fuses, open the panel, grab the handle of the cartridge at the top labeled “main,” and pull it all the way out.
In some towns, the main breaker is outside near the meter in a weather-proof enclosure. Just push it down to shut it off.
Read more here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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