Citizen Alkane

Roberta X is in the midst of a series called “Life Without Gas,” which began with this particular incident:

Gas company showed up with a sniffer and pro-grade bubble soap (it’s the touch of corn syrup that does it). De nada. So he did a pressure test.

Yep. Pressure drop. He shut off the gas. That’s the bad news.

Now I do know how sucky this is:

So I’m out mowing the back yard, and the stuff (actually, the stuff they put in it so you can smell it) hits me square in the face. I call the gas company, and they dispatched a chap who duly traced a direct path from the meter to the house and found no trace of gas. “It wasn’t along there that I smelled it,” I insisted, and eventually the truth of the matter was discovered: the gas line isn’t where your geometry teacher would have put it, but dog-legged like the 12th hole at Southern Hills, if nowhere near as long.

Next step: they dig up the old line, install a new one. (I have been told that the gas meter will be relocated closer to the house.) How long this will take is anybody’s guess, so until then: cold showers.

This was 12 September 2007. Gas service was restored on the 17th. Of course, a weekend was involved.


  1. McGehee »

    20 October 2013 · 4:21 pm

    Except for the fireplace, which is fed by a propane tank that would make the Blue Rhino’s flaming horn go out, our place is all-electric.

    I grew up in gas-served houses and never lived all-electric until I moved to Fairbanks. Personally, I kind of like having fewer things where something can go disastrously wrong.

  2. fillyjonk »

    22 October 2013 · 10:57 am

    In my neighborhood, there seems to be a better track record for not losing gas than for not losing electric. (That said – if electric is out, I’m pretty well screwed anyway, as both my furnace and hot water heater have electric starters, and I’m not sure how safe it would be to try overriding them.)

    I lived without hot water for 10 days or so back in 2007 because my hot water heater died. It’s not fun. More fun than not having water at all, which I’ve also been through, but still not fun.

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