PLUMBING – Earth Quake Valves

Earthquake Valves

The world has been rocked by a number of significant earth quakes in the past decade, which have only increased public awareness to the need for protective services like earthquake valves.

These valves are specifically designed to react to major seismic events in major earthquake zones and prevent the kind of devastating damage that comes not from the earthquake itself, but from the broken pipes, damaged service lines, and leaking gas.


What Is An Earthquake Shut Off Valve?

Earthquake Valves are emergency shut-off gas valves that are located on the gas arm side owned by the home or business owner. There meant to shut off natural gas lines in the event of an earthquake. As the valve detects major shaking from an earthquake, normally between 5.2 to 5.4 on the Richter Scale, it automatically cuts off gas to the home or business.



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Types of Earthquake Valves

Although there are many types of valves on that market that will shut off gas in the event of an emergency, the two most common shut off valves are the Seismic Shut-off Valve (motion sensitive) and Excess Flow Shut-off Valve (non-motion sensitive).

Seismic Gas Shut-off Valve

The seismic motion valve works by employing a motion-sensing ball that sits on a small ring above an opening, and detects movement on the pipe. On a normal day the ball doesn’t move and the gas line remains active, but as significant shaking occurs, the movement on the pipe will cause the ball to fall off the ring and into an orifice shutting off gas flow.

Motion sensitive valves are normally installed on the gas line before it enters your home or business and should be installed by a well-qualified contractor who will ensure proper installation and function.

Excess Flow Gas Shut-off Valve

An excess flow shut-off valve is a non-motion sensitive device that automatically shuts-off gas to a specific appliance when it senses a sudden over-surge or increase of gas flow, that occurs from a break in the pipe. The valve is installed at the gas fuel appliance outlet, between the shutoff valve and the connector.


Who Needs An Earthquake Valve?

Mandated by law: As of 2002, California law and building codes state that constituents must install an earthquake valve on all applicable gas meters to any home or building that they own to ensure the wider safety of a population living in an area with a history of earthquakes.

Mandated by insurance providers: Insurance companies that cover earthquake damage have begun mandating that their customers install earthquake valves on every meter under their control in an effort to reduce the risk of damage after a major seismic event; if an insurer’s building is found to be without one, it is often deemed to be a breach of policy making the home or business owner ineligible for reimbursement in the event of earthquake damage.


When Should I Shut-Off My Gas?

If you believe you have an emergency, at the minimum you should know how to turn off the gas to your home or business. This can be accomplished by locating the shut-off valve that normally runs vertical with the pipe on the gas company side of the meter

Take an adjustable wrench, 12” or larger, and turn the valve 1/4 turn in either direction until the valve is crisscross with the pipe; repeat the process to turn the meter back on.


Because there are differences between earthquake valves and what they mean for your home or Business, it’s always a good idea to have an experienced plumber help you make the right decision. Contact our expert plumbers at Quick-Flo Plumbers & Rooter, and be at ease knowing your making the right decision.

Remember, we even offer emergency services 24 hours a day and never charge extra for weekends or holidays. So, call now 323-610-2812 to speak to one of our friendly representatives and schedule your appointment today for a FREE estimate on Earth Quake Valve installation or repair!

I called on a Saturday with people coming over. My kitchen sink was backing up. Phillip came out within 2 hours and fixed my clog, showed me the problem and didn’t charge me an outrageous price.

- Roger H.
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