Gas leak

From DIYWiki

Introduction

A usenet poster questioning the advice of a gas fitter called out to attend a leak, believes that the suggestion the place be re-piped was just a scam to generate work. This "tongue in cheek" response, highlights the difficulties of tracking down leaks in old installations...

The original message:

"Hi, my mother's house occasionally smells slightly of gas, and has done for about 20 years, so it's obvious there's a leak somewhere. Yesterday my sister called the "Smell Gas? Call us for Free" number that's advertised all over the place by practically every company in the industry - presumably centrally-funded. A gas guy came, found a leak in one room and disconnected the fire there (which hasn't been used for years). Then he sucked on his teeth and said that that hadn't fixed the problem, and disconnected the entire supply at the mains, and gave my mother a piece of paper to say she'd be committing a offence if she turned it back on again.

He also said that if it were his house, he'd change everything, which is of course the oldest way in the book of recommending that a lot of work be done without saying in writing that he's carried out an inspection, found the following faults, and recommends that these specific things be done. Yes mate, sure."

Lets play the "Find the Leak" adventure:

One response to this question:

Welcome to "Find the Leak", a new interactive adventure from Transcocom. You can save the game at any time and return later. Your score is currently 0 out of 143.

>look

You are in a large hallway in a house. There is a faint smell of gas. There is a cupboard here. Exits lead East, West, South, North, and Up.

>inv

You are carrying: a bag of spanners, a can of parrot snot, and a manometer.

> Go Cupboard

You are in small dusty cupboard under a staircase. There is a gas meter and a maze of rusty pipes that run is all directions. There is a dead mouse. There is a strong smell of gas. Exit to the east.

> perform pressure drop test at meter test point

Manometer shows system losing 5" of pressure during test duration.

> isolate all appliances

You can't do that. You are in a cupboard.

> Exit cupboard

You are in a large hallway.

> isolate all appliances

You run all around the house and disconnect a boiler and a cooker. All seven other gas points appear to be unused.

You are in a hallway. Exits lead East, West, South, North, and Up.

> Go Cupbaord

You are in small dusty cupboard.

> perform pressure drop test at meter test point

Manometer shows system losing 5" of pressure during test duration.

> exa pipes

Pipes are old and rusty, run in all directions, and then vanish under the floor.

> Exit cupboard

You are in a hallway. Exits lead East, West, South, North, and Up. There is a Wise Man here.

> exa Wise Man

He is wearing blue overalls, and looks like a wise gas engineer.

> Talk to Wise Man

Engineer says "What do you want to know?"

> Where is the leak?

Engineer says "Could be anywhere. Chances are looking at the state of the pipework, you have several leaks"

> How Can I find them?

Engineer says "You could disconnect one of the unused pipes and cap it off, and then retest"

> Will that fix the leak?

Engineer says "Probably not, but it might"

> What next?

Engineer says "You could do the same with the next branch"

> Will that fix the leak?

Engineer says "Probably not, but it might"

> Where will it end?

Engineer says "When all branches are capped and you have no working gas appliances"

> Will that fix the leak?

Engineer says "Probably not, but it might"

> How long will this take?

Engineer says "Could take days"

> How much should I charge the client for this?

Engineer says "£250/day"

> Well, what else could I do?

Engineer says "Install 5m of new pipe to boiler and cooker, and disconnect all the existing pipes. Then retest"

> Will that fix the leak?

Engineer says "Yes"

> How much should I charge the client for this?

Engineer says "£150"

Night falls, You are in a hallway. A client has just walked in. Client asks "What should I do, its getting cold in here?". You feel you are at a crossroads. Do you follow the advice of the wise man, or do tell your client to follow the map to the area that says "there be dragons here"?