Homeownership is a great thing - after all, the satisfaction of owning the place where you live is one of the biggest joys of adulthood. However, not renting out your own place has another side of the coin. When your home is yours, it really is yours - you need to deal with all of the repairs, maintenance, and utilities all the time.
That includes repairing appliances and dealing with anything that’s faulty, but it could also mean tackling repairs that are potentially less than safe, such as anything related to gas. For instance, if you find that your gas meter isn’t working properly, how do you deal with this yourself? And are you even supposed to do it on your own? We’ll get into the weeds of this below!
When it comes to home repairs, not all of them are strictly regulated by the government. However, gas installations are not a type of repair that should be approached lightly, and without experience. After you've used a moving company to relocate to a new place, often enough, you find small repairs that need to be done upon moving in. For instance, you notice that your gas meter is not working properly, or not showing the right readings at all. In that case, you might be tempted to try and fix the problem on your own; not calling in a professional saves you some money, right?
Actually - wrong! There are law codes that prevent people from dealing with repairs related to combustion hazards and gas leaks on their own. And whether you agree with it or not, that includes gas meters. There are specific standards for whether an individual can be permitted to perform gas-related repairs, and we’ll get into these below. Keep in mind that, if you go against these regulations, you are not only breaking the law but risking your own safety and well being, as well as the safety of your immediate surroundings.
Hazards of Gas Repair
For the average layman, the notion of repairing a gas meter is far safer than, for instance, trying to deal with a gas leak all on your own. But in reality, any kind of appliance related to gas means a certain amount of hazard. Propane and natural gas are not toxic per se, but they can be extremely explosive under the right (or rather, wrong) conditions. And even if the combustion itself does not prove to be immediately harmful, the fumes that enter your household as a result will be both flammable and toxic.
If your building or household does not have a proper ventilation system, this is even more dangerous. For all of these reasons, DIY repairs of gas meters should be avoided - and left to true professionals who know what they’re doing. And if you need to install a new gas meter, going with a smart gas meter would be a good idea.
This is important in terms of repairs and diagnostics; a smart gas meter will allow you and other professionals to quickly figure out what’s wrong and implement precise measures to deal with the situation. In turn, this makes both the meter and the gas installation in general safer.
When it comes to DIY repairs of gas meters, you may still think about trying to locate the problem and deal with it by yourself. However, even if you don’t feel like the job is too complicated and you’re sure of your own skills and abilities, we recommend contacting a gas contractor with a proper license. As you’ll see soon enough, any kind of gas meter repair requires a permit - which is more difficult to obtain than simply hiring someone who already has it.
For example, if you need to replace or install any kind of gas-powered appliance, like a boiler, water heater, or a fireplace, you need to have a gas permit. And that’s not even going into repairs on venting and gas piping.
Not only is repairing without a permit illegal and unsafe, but it’s also prone to lower your house’s resale value. That’s just one of the things that a home inspector will be on the lookout for when they’re advising buyers on whether a home is worth their time and money. So, you need to hire a contractor who can produce a valid license and permit. For situations of future reference like the one we’ve discussed above, get a copy of their permit and keep it in your records.
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a chance you can obtain a permit yourself. But as you will see, doing so is simply too difficult for the average person to hassle themselves with. In most cases, people who obtain the permit are contractors who need it for their licensed work.
In order to get the permit for your DIY repairs of gas meters, you would have to prove you have all of the testing equipment required for gas repairs, as well as the other tools, abilities, and adequate knowledge to tackle the task.
And even then, you can’t do DIY repairs if you have more than one family in your dwelling, or if it isn’t detached. That just goes to show you how dangerous DIY gas repairs are, as the law views them as potentially harmful to yourself and others. Also, you can’t obtain a permit for this work if you intend to pay someone else for the job. Lastly, you cannot repair gas meters on vacation homes yourself if you intend to rent them out, only if the house in question will solely be used by you and your family.