Is it safe to take a shower during a thunderstorm?

#11
Quote:Wow, that's interesting, Z. If gas is seeping in like that, could a fire start? Even at that slight amount? 

From showering I’d say no. A shower doesn’t usually last near long enough to allow for the right mixture of gas to air (explosive range 4-14%) to occur. Natural gas being lighter than air will rise and if there isn’t any way to escape the area it will build from the ceiling down. A good reason to not touch any sources of combustion (spark) like a light switch if you smell it. Smelling gas doesn’t tell you the gas/air ratio so call the utility if you think you detect it. In almost every case there is no risk of explosion. 

Failing to shut off gas to the house or appliance before working on it is not a good thing.  Other factors like pressure and damage to pipe are bigger concerns so call before you dig. Underground leaks travel a path of least resistance and can enter a house through various cracks and openings, drains for instance. It has been discovered that gas service when installed by method called directional boring have actually passed through underground drain lines to a sewer thus increasing the likelihood of underground gas entering house and sewer. From my understanding most have been found and corrected. Tree roots and age can also contribute to poor drainage and providing openings for gas migration.

FYI..gas pressure to house usually around 40psi, reduced to 1/4 psi at meter/ regulator and generally gas appliances reduce it to 1/8 psi. There are some areas where houses not equipped with service regulators receive only 1/3 to 1/2 psi, these are called low pressure grids and are gradually disappearing from landscape.

It is rare for gas to enter sewer but it happens. Usually gas will escape up through the ground but if it’s frozen or covered by asphalt/concrete, methane could move along underground until it finds an open area like a house or sewer. There are certain things to look for if gas is rising from ground. Blanched soil, dead grass and fissures are common and you may see what’s called nitrogen rings form on the lawn(rare). Of course the smell is present. In its natural state the gas to your house is odourless but utility’s inject a substance called mercaptan into the gas at various stations located within your area to aid people’s noses. 

I have been to incidents where a house has blown up or caught fire. In every case it was caused by a third party like a vandal, vehicle driver, homeowner, plumber/gas-fitter or construction crews digging in the area. Utilities will check their entire grid for leaks at least once a year using very sophisticated sensing devices. Modern pipelines are also equipped with safety valves that shut off the flow should pressure suddenly drop as in a rupture. Eventually pipes need to be replaced and utilities do this regularly, even to the service lines to your house. Steel and copper services are replaced with plastic these days but even those lines have a shelf life. Last thing anybody wants is a big boom. 

In summary, natural gas is safe when everyone follows the rules. As with anything, shoddy workmanship or work done by untrained/unlicensed persons is potential trouble. When people ask me if gas is safer than electric, my answer is that I’ve never seen a rodent chew through gas pipe. I’m probably going over and above my allotted time so I’ll stop here. I hope that helped answer question.
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#12
Yea, not due to the shower. Thanks for that info, Z. Good to know!

I've always had this misconception about natural gas, that somehow it's less dangerous, even when we are reckless...but we still have to be careful.
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