Earthquake Valve Basics 101

An earthquake shut-off valve is a specialty valve that’s attached to the gas meter. During an emergency, the valves close and stop gas from flowing into the line. In 2000, all newly built buildings in California were required to have earthquake valves installed. If you have a home built after 2000 that’s connected to gas, you need to know how earthquake valves work.

In this post, we write about how these valves work and why they’re so important.

Types of Earthquake Shut-off Valves

There are two kinds of earthquake shut-off valves. The first type is the seismic natural gas shut-off valve. This valve is triggered when it detects an earthquake registering 5.1 or higher. The other type of seismic valve is an excess-flow valve. This valve turns on when the sensor detects a surge of pressure that signals a potential gas leak.

How Earthquake Valves Work

Earthquakes valves are, surprisingly, very straightforward. They’re installed directly onto the gas meter at the connection to the home’s gas pipe. The interior of the valve contains a metal ball. The ball is on a ring above where the gas flows through the pipe. During the seismic activity, the ball shakes and falls from its perch into the pipe and blocks the gas flow.

Gas can’t reenter the home until the valve is reset. Resetting the valves is simple because all it requires is one to move the metal ball back to its original position. It’s important to note that all you must make sure the gas lines aren’t damaged before resetting the valve.

Why Are Earthquake Valves Essential?

Large, powerful earthquakes can do a lot of damage to structures, including causing gas pipes to break and leak gas. Gas leaks are highly flammable and easily ignited causing fires and even explosions. An example of a gas leak that caused massive destruction is the Great San Francisco Fire of 1906.

What Should I Do If My Home Doesn’t Have an Earthquake Valve?

Older homes in Carlsbad, CA, might not have earthquake valves installed. If you have an older home and need this protection, call Carlsbad Ace Plumbing. Our certified technicians will come to your home and install the valve right away. We promise to make sure the valve works properly and will perform well in the event of an earthquake.

Don’t wait to install an earthquake valve at your home. Seismic activity can happen at any time and you want your home and your family to be protected. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

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