Tuesday, 16 April 2013


For ages now, I have been trying to find the source of a gas leak.
The smell of gas has been permeating my kitchen for some time...yes, a long time.
The plumber and I had checked and checked and checked and checked, but to no avail, until.......

...................... we finally found it!!!

With a soapy sponge, we had checked all the connections, all the hoses, opened the stove up completely and checked the burners, checked the shut off valves, everything, over and over again, but nothing showed up......... until now.

Day after day, the smell of gas lingered even after the shut off valve was off, and many mornings when I entered the kitchen for the first time it was overpowering.  Many nights I left my kitchen windows open so as not to have a build up of the fumes during the night.
It was beginning to bother me no end. Don't you hate not being able to get to the bottom of an annoying problem?  I do.  I'm a problem solving creature at heart, and this gas leak had me perplexed.

A good friend of mine after hearing my exasperation at not finding the leak after such a long time had exclaimed, "It has to be in the wall!"
My plumber at his wits end decided to start digging a section of the wall where the copper pipe comes into the kitchen.  After digging for a  while and opening up a fairly large hole in the wall, we soaped the area, and as soon as we did that, a big bubble formed indicating the gas leak.....talk about relief. The problem could now be solved at last.

Screeeeeech......not so fast, relief does not come that easy for me.
My home is an old house with lots of old English fittings (which work extremely well),and it's very hard to track them down sometimes.
I called a few hardware stores....no luck.  I called a few more.....we don't carry those anymore I was told.
I have never been one to give up. I thought of ordering them online. But (*) then I called another twenty or more hardware stores, and hit on the jackpot. A store in the country that still sells all the fittings for old homes like mine (I think the owner lives in an old house as well), I was in luck.
Most folks have switched to American copper pipe, and American toilets now, I'm told, but in the same breath I'm instructed about the durability of the English made products.

Apparently, when the kitchen was refurbished a couple of years ago, the pipe was not secured to the wall properly, and the constant movement aided the pulling away of the elbow connection in the wall.
Lesson learned.

The elusive copper elbows
 I purchased extra items just in case, and the necessary wall fasteners.

Digging the wall out to access the old copper elbow in the wall.

Torching the remaining copper pipe to clean it properly.

Old plumbers always have all the tools needed at their disposal.
Other "wannabes" never have all the stuff they need, so you end up loaning them your own tools, plumbers tape, putty, whatever, to get the job done.

Sponging with soapy suds to check the new joint and connections for leaks.

No bubbles = no leaks

No bubbles here either.

Job well done!!
Perfectly soldered new elbow joint installed.

So yesterday, we fixed the problem, and as of now, there is not a hint of gas lingering in the air.  I am so thankful.
(*) Yes, I stared a sentence with "But" for effect....shoot me.


  1. Gosh I am glad - that could have been very dangerous.

  2. Believe me I'm relieved that it's finally fixed, because like you said, it was a very dangerous situation.

  3. A gas smell would have driven me mad. A house here in NZ blew up not long ago because of a gas leak. I have gas sensors in my house in the UK just in case of this sort of thing and have outside cut-off taps.

  4. The gas sensor in this case was my acute sense of smell.
    The gas bottle itself has a shut off valve, but since both upstairs and downstairs share the gas, it was not feasible to shut off at the bottle.
    The shut off valve behind the stove was after where the leak occurred, so turning it off made no difference.
    I'm just glad we finally found the leak.

  5. A leak is never a good sign. Particularly for gas pipes, because not only harms your house, but your health as well. Thankfully, your plumber was very thorough during the inspection, and were able to find the cause the same day. That must’ve been an exhausting day for all of you. But it was definitely worth it, because he was able to apply the necessary repairs for it.

    Peter Wilson @ Rumpca Services


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