More than 1,000 earthquakes occur in Washington annually, most of them west of the Cascades. While only a handful make the headlines, all of these events have the potential to risk lives and damage property. Earthquakes can have both immediate and long-lasting effects. This includes severe damage to infrastructure that simply cannot be built to withstand powerful tremors. Gas is perhaps the most prominent example, as ruptured gas lines are common in the aftermath.
Like most states, Washington has guidelines designed to help reduce the risk of fire from open gas lines. These regulations include the types of safety features and equipment that can be incorporated into gas fuel lines. The most common device that home and business owners can install to protect their property are earthquake valves – also called seismic valves.
An earthquake valve automatically shuts off the flow of regulated gas should the meter or pipes be damaged due to earthquake or other heavy tremors. This is accomplished either by motion sensing, which responds to tremors caused by earthquakes, or a type of valve that senses a gas flow that is higher than normal and seals off the flow completely. These earthquake valves can be installed in lines that carry either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The type of valve installed will be subject to an inspection (i.e., what will be the better fit).
If you smell gas after an earthquake, gas supply companies instruct homeowners and operations engineers in commercial buildings to shut off their gas supply immediately. Escaping gas has the potential to cause even more problems than an earthquake itself, either through fire of severe damage to your gas system. This is why the gas needs to be shut off as soon as possible when a quake has occurred. However, sometimes that isn’t feasible and other times no one is around to smell escaping gas. That’s when your unattended earthquake valve goes into action and instantly cuts off the gas to protect your property.
Essentially, an earthquake valve is there to act as a failsafe, but it can save much more than just your home.
Not only can incorrect installation and activation of a seismic valve result in potential damage to the gas lines themselves – and to your property – they can result in life-threatening accidents.
The installation of an earthquake valve is a complicated project, and is also a difficult thing to test once the jb has been completed. If it becomes a DIY project, there’s no guarantee that the valve will actually work in the event of an earthquake.
An earthquake valve must be installed on equipment owned by your gas utility company, and the technicians you hire must have good working relationships with utility technicians and government engineers. They must also be savvy regarding permits and the condition of geological terrain.
That is why you want to call Fischer Heating and Air Conditioning when you decide to protect your property with seismic valves. We have a solid reputation for safe and successful installations of earthquake valves under many different conditions and guarantee our work.
For installation of an all-important earthquake valve, you can trust Fischer Heating and Air Conditioning to do the job properly.