Natural gas used in homes is odorless. A distinct smell is added for leak detection purposes.

If you smell gas and cannot find where it is coming from, make sure to ventilate the area with fresh air by opening a door or window, call Complete Plumbing, Heating and Air from an area other than where you detected the odor. Do not turn on light switches or anything that could cause a spark.

You should be familiar with your main gas shut off valve location. Some homes have an above ground meter and the shut-off valve will be on the inlet side of the meter and has a raised ½” bar that requires a wrench to turn it off.

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Some homes have a gas meter that is located in a concrete box buried in the front yard (referred to as a vault), which is a little harder to access but you would turn it off the same way. Gas companies will usually want to relocate these to the above-ground due to rotting. When the ½” bar is parallel with the pipe the gas valve is in the on position, when it is perpendicular to the pipe the valve is in the off position

There are inexpensive wrenches available that most people keep at the meter in case of an emergency.

There are automatic gas shut off valves available that will close the gas off from the home in case of an earthquake. These valves are required to be installed in Los Angeles county when selling a home.

If the odor is really strong. The gas company recommends to:

LOOK if you see:

  • A damaged gas appliance connector
  • An unusual dead patch of grass in your yard (gas leaks will kill grass)
  • Broken or separated pipes after an earthquake, fire or flood


  • Usually the first indicator of a gas leak. Everyone in the family should be aware of what natural gas smells like.

Pay attention to your gas bill, higher gas bills could mean you leak.

If you should decide to call the gas company, if you suspect a leak, they will validate, then shut off the main gas valve and tell you to call a licensed plumber to make the repairs.

Complete Plumbing Heating and Air have the best electronic gas leak detection equipment available. We will do whatever it takes to get your home’s gas system up and running safely and quickly.

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