About Earthquake and Excess-flow Valves
While it's possible to manually shut off your natural gas , the following specialized valves are available that can automatically shut off your service in case of an emergency:
- Earthquake natural gas shut-off valve (also known as a seismic natural gas shut-off valve) automatically shuts off your natural gas service when an earthquake of a sufficient magnitude occurs at your home.
- An excess-flow valve automatically shuts off your natural gas service when a significant natural gas leak or overpressure surge occurs at a pipe or appliance located beyond the point where the valve is installed.
Installation of an Earthquake or Excess-flow Valve
If you want to have an earthquake natural gas shut-off or excess-flow valve installed, or are required to have one by your insurance company or the local Department of Building and Safety, the valve must be installed on your house line.
If installation requires natural gas service closure, you'll need to contact us to shut off the service and restore service when installation is completed. Natural gas service shut off and restoration of service orders can be scheduled by contacting us at 1-800-427-2200.
Under the regulations of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), General Order 112-E, only SoCalGas® or its certified contractors are authorized to operate the natural gas service shut-off valve.
Proper Placement of Your Valve
When you hire a qualified professional to install your earthquake or excess-flow valve, you'll need to make sure that the valve is installed on your house line, not on SoCalGas' facilities. SoCalGas' facilities include all of the pipe fittings installed and maintained by SoCalGas, up to and including the last elbow or tee connecting to your house line. See the diagram below for to see where your house line starts.
All unauthorized valve installations found on SoCalGas' facilities will be removed. In addition, earthquake or excess- flow valves are not permitted in utility curb meter vaults.
If you have any questions about your insurance company requirements, contact your insurance company or agent.
Resetting Your Valve
If an earthquake or other significant event causes your earthquake shut-off or excess-flow valve to close, you can follow the manufacturer's instructions for resetting the valve so that natural gas flows again. However, we recommend that you contact a qualified professional or SoCalGas to reset the valve, and to perform a safety check of your natural gas appliances before they are placed back in operation to verify that no natural gas leaks exist, and to re-light your pilot lights.
Remember that following a major emergency it may take many days or even weeks before someone can come to your location. (SoCalGas charges a fee to reset valves and re-light pilot lights when your earthquake shut-off valve has closed due to a non-earthquake occurrence.)
How to Buy an Earthquake or Excess-flow Valve
When it comes to buying an earthquake or excess-flow valve, keep the following things in mind:
- Price: The cost of the valve is going to vary based on the type and size of the valve, as well as the installation requirements and the company installing it.
- Choosing a valve: In order to choose the right valve size and manufacturer, contact your local Department of Building and Safety to find out their earthquake valve requirements.
- Where to buy a valve: You can purchase a earthquake or excess-flow valve at supply retailers, licensed plumbing contractors, or directly from the valve manufacturer.
- Using a contractor: You can hire a qualified professional to install the earthquake or excess-flow valve on your house line. SoCalGas will not install an earthquake or excess-flow valve for you.
Earthquake Valve Installation Requirements
Effective February 10, 2002, California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Decision 01-11-068 prohibits installation of an earthquake valve on SoCalGas' facilities. In addition, SoCalGas no longer installs earthquake shut-off valves for its customers, and does not allow any customer owned equipment, including excess-flow valves, be installed on SoCalGas' facilities.
If you have an earthquake valve that was installed by SoCalGas or one of its authorized contractors on or before the February 10, 2002 cutoff date, that is located on SoCalGas' facilities, with proper documentation your installation may be allowed to remain in place. Authorized contractors are those who participated in SoCalGas' earthquake program and were trained by SoCalGas to work on their facilities.
Additional information regarding earthquake valves and natural gas service restoration after a valve activates can be found in Tariff Book, Rule 10, Section G, "Earthquake Valve Service."
If you have questions about earthquake and excess-flow valve installation requirements, contact your local Building and Safety Department.