Natural Gas / Propane Safety

gas safety

The purpose of this information is to provide you with important safety information to recognize and respond to gas emergencies and to make you aware of natural gas and propane pipelines in the areas where you live and work. The locations of these pipelines are found by using the Call Before You Dig program. Please see the program description.

By following the tips found here, we can enjoy all the benefits of natural gas/propane secure in the knowledge that it’s perfectly safe. If you’re a landlord or property owner with tenants, please share this information.

Pipelines are designed, constructed and tested under rigid specifications set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. A high safety margin is built into the pipe, which is made of flexible, corrosion–resistant polyethylene or high–strength coated steel that allows it to withstand the stress caused by floods, earthquakes and landslides. NV Energy personnel constantly monitor the company’s transmission pipelines, service lines and distribution mains to ensure reliable and safe operation.

How To Handle A Gas Leak Indoors

Natural gas/propane is colorless and odorless. Before gas goes into the distribution system, a substance called mercaptan is added, which provides a strong sulfur–like odor and warns us of gas leaks. If you experience a gas leak indoors, remember the following safety tips:

  • Evacuate everyone from the area.
  • Call 911 and NV Energy at (775) 834-4100.
  • Do not use a phone of any kind or any electronic device at the site that operates on batteries.
  • Do not light matches, candles or smoking materials.
  • Do not turn on or turn off any electrical switch or appliance.
  • Do not start a vehicle in a garage or near a gas leak, or operate a garage door opener near a gas leak.

If you know where your gas appliance valve or your gas meter valve is located, you might consider turning it off by hand, with a pipe wrench or other appropriate tool. Once you turn it off, don’t attempt to turn it back on. Call NV Energy. If the leaking gas ignites, don’t try to put out the flames. Call 911 and then call NV Energy.

How to Handle A Gas Leak Outdoors

You may someday encounter a leak from a gas pipeline outdoors. You would recognize the "rotten eggs" odor, or you may hear a blowing or hissing sound near the pipeline. Despite all these safeguards that are built in, pipeline leaks sometimes do occur. Should you detect an outdoor leak, leave the area immediately and call NV Energy at (775) 834–4100.

Call Before You Dig

A homeowner or contractor digging into a pipe is the most common cause of a gas pipeline rupture. The homeowner or contractor causing the damage is responsible for all repair costs, which average over $1,500. Nevada law says you must "Call Before You Dig" at least two business days before the dig is scheduled. Call 811 for this free service.

You are required to outline or mark, in white, in advance, the intended area of excavation. An NV Energy representative will come out to the site of your dig and field mark the path of the utility's underground facilities on your property.

Where are these pipelines and utility underground facilities located? Transmission pipeline location is oftentimes indicated by pipeline markers.  This information is also available online. Please see the website list at the end of this information..

Should an excavator or contractor damage an NV Energy main or service line they must immediately report the situation to NV Energy.

In the event the damage results in a gas leak which may endanger life or cause serious bodily harm or damage to property they must immediately report the situation to emergency service personnel.  Call 911 and then call NV Energy at (775) 834-4100.

For the sake of safety (and by law) certain land uses are generally prohibited concerning the pipeline. Among them:

  • Construction of fence posts, poles, structures, overhanging roofs and balconies, garden sheds and concrete slabs over (or in close proximity to) a gas pipeline.
  • Wells or other boreholes.
  • Pile driving or blasting.
  • Storage of flammable materials, equipment, bulk goods and vehicles.
  • Dumping or burning waste or scrap lumber.
  • Unauthorized roadways.
  • Pulling loads across or along the ROW.
  • Cutting down trees.

Gas Safety Tips

By following the tips below, you may prevent a gas-related accident or emergency.

Gas Dos

  • Do call NV Energy or 911 from a neighbor's house if you smell a strong, persistent smell of gas.
  • Do keep an ABC (dry chemical) fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Do keep the area around your furnace and water heater clean and free from debris.
  • Do keep chimney flues and vents for appliances clean and in good repair.
  • Do clean or replace air filters for your heating system monthly, during the heating season.
  • Do have all gas appliances installed and serviced by licensed or qualified professionals.
  • Do know how to shut appliances off in an emergency.
  • Do teach small children to stay away from gas appliances.
  • Do teach family members what to do if they smell gas.
  • Have all underground utilities located before digging on or around your property. Contact Call Before You Dig at 811 at least two working days before you dig.
  • In heavy snow conditions your gas meter may become covered in snow and ice. If this happens you can remove the snow with a broom. Do not use a shovel or any other tools to remove ice or snow. In most cases snow or ice on a gas meter will not result in any problems, however, in the event that the meter needs to be cleared for meter reading purposes or access, do so carefully to avoid damaging the gas meter or regulator.

Gas Don'ts

  • Do not try to locate a gas leak yourself.
  • Do not cover fresh air vents that supply air to your appliances.
  • Do not sleep in a room with an non-vented gas or kerosene heater.
  • Do not cook in loose garments that can catch fire.
  • Do not store gasoline or paint thinner indoors or in the garage.
  • Do not use or store flammable materials near gas appliances.
  • Do not hang things from gas pipes.
  • Do not use the kitchen range or oven as a space heater.
  • Do not chain a pet or anything else to a gas meter or piping.
  • Do not place or build any structures, even a storage shed, over any gas lines or around any gas meters.

Buried Natural Gas Piping

In our northern Nevada service territory, NV Energy is responsible for maintaining natural gas equipment to the point of and including our meters. You should be aware that the natural gas piping between the meter and gas equipment in the home is the responsibility of the property owner.

Periodically have the piping inspected, since underground natural gas piping is often metallic and may corrode or leak if not properly installed or maintained. Don't forget to inspect the underground natural gas piping to a shop, pool heater or other living quarters. If you notice that your shrubs and grass near your underground natural gas piping turn brown and die and/or the soil turns dark brown or black, you may have an underground natural gas leak. You may not be able to smell an outdoor natural gas leak because the odorant added to natural gas will be filtered out as it passes through the soil.

Local plumbing or heating contractors are available to help in determining where these lines are located and to perform inspections or repairs. Any unsafe condition discovered in buried customer piping should be repaired or corrected immediately.

Stay safe. If you are considering installing buried piping between NV Energy's meter and other natural gas equipment, hire a licensed contractor to ensure all work will be completed in accordance with all state and local codes governing gas piping systems.

NV Energy Gas Facilities

For your safety, NV Energy inspects and monitors its gas facilities on a regular basis and requires access to those facilities on your property at all times. As part of that access, NV Energy prohibits the installation of permanent structures and buildings over our underground facilities. Also, please note that the NV Energy service line may have an underground valve installed near your property line. Please take care to ensure that this valve is made accessible and not disturbed during landscaping activities.

Customer Appliance Safety

If you have problems with your gas water heater, furnace, or range, follow the manufacturer's instructions for turning equipment on or off, or call a qualified service technician or your gas company. Gas needs just the right amount of air, plus an ignition source like a flame or spark to burn. Ranges and other appliances are carefully adjusted to provide the correct air-gas mixture.

  • All gas appliances must be correctly installed, maintained and vented to the outside.
  • Have all gas appliances installed and serviced by licensed or qualified professionals, and inspected according to local codes.
  • Don't use flammables near gas appliances.
  • Gas connectors need to be inspected regularly, and replaced as needed. Certain kinds of flexible connectors manufactured between 1970 and 1980 may fail over time and need to be replaced. Only a qualified professional should check your connector and replace it if needed. Don't try to do this yourself. After disconnecting gas appliances, gas connectors should always be removed and the fuel line should be plugged and capped.
  • Gas pipes should be properly maintained and never used for unintended uses such as hanging clothes.
  • If your home or business was built after 1990 or you've had work done to your natural gas system it's likely that Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) was installed. CSST is a flexible, stainless steel pipe and often has a yellow, or sometimes a black plastic coating. CSST does not connect directly to appliances, but instead it runs through a home or business - sometimes under floors, along sidewalls, and in the attic. If lightning strikes a structure containing CSST, there is a risk it can travel along the structure's natural gas piping system and cause a leak or, in some cases, a fire. CSST gas piping systems shall be bonded to the electrical service grounding electrode system at the point where the gas service enters the building. The bonding jumper shall not be smaller than 6 AWG copper wire or equivalent. NV Energy does not provide inspection service for CSST installations. If you find CSST after inspecting your home or business, NV Energy recommends that you contact a licensed electrician to make sure it's bonded and grounded properly. If you are unsure whether your building contains CSST, contact a building inspector to obtain a professional inspection.

Your Heating & Water Heating Appliances

  • Keep the area around your furnace and water heater clean and free from debris. Don't store gasoline or paint thinner indoors.
  • If your heating system has air filters, clean or replace them monthly during the heating season before they become clogged with dirt.
  • Have your gas furnace inspected by a qualified service person. Also check your chimney to ensure the furnace flue is venting properly.
  • Do not re-install used gas spaces heaters.
  • Make sure the drain pipe from the relief valve on the water heater is unobstructed. If water or steam comes from this pipe, shut the water heater off and have it serviced. Regular service is important for maximum performance and longevity.
  • Drain a pail-full of water from the water heater at least twice a year to remove sediment from the bottom. If this has never been done before, have it done by a qualified service person.
  • Make sure your water heater is set to a safe temperature.  Check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub; never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to preventing accidents, this decrease in temperature will conserve energy and save money. To obtain additional information on tap water scalds, visit the U.S. CPSC website at

Your Gas Kitchen Appliances

  • The flame on your gas range should be blue. If not, have a qualified service representative check the range.
  • Keep the kitchen range clean - wash gas range burners with water and detergent. Do not use powder type detergents to clean range burners as they can clog the openings when they dry. Rinse and dry burners before reinstalling. Be careful to not damage or change settings on air shutters or sleeves.
  • If holes in stove burners become clogged, open with an opened paper clip or a piece of wire. Do not use a toothpick or other soft object, as they could break off and obstruct the burner, causing a hazardous condition.
  • When cooking, lower the flame on the gas burner so it doesn't extend beyond the bottom of the pot. Too high a flame wastes energy and is dangerous.
  • Never use the kitchen range or oven as a space heater. This can damage the range and produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
  • If your gas range burners don't light, see if the pilot lights are burning. If they're not, turn all burners to "off" and apply a match to each pilot light (unless you have electronic ignition or if there's a strong odor).

Read and follow manufacturer's instructions on your gas equipment. Know how to shut appliances off in an emergency.

Gas Safety & Your Family

Teach your family the dangers of gas, what to be aware of, and how to react if a gas emergency arises.

  • Demonstrate the correct way to light and relight the pilot lights on kitchen ranges and gas burners. Let everyone smell natural gas by briefly turning on an unlit burner. This is the warning smell of a gas leak.
  • Teach small children to stay away from the gas range and all gas-burning appliances.
  • Instruct older children to leave the house and call your gas company or 911 from a nearby phone if they smell a gas odor while you're out.
  • Don't let children swing from pipes or play with flexible connector pipes leading to gas appliances.

Practice a safety drill for getting the family out of the house at night before an emergency occurs. Practice the drill during the day first, then practice at night when it is dark. During your drill, be sure to open windows and don't turn lights on or off. Also remember, don't light matches or cigarette lighters or use flashlights during the drill because an electric arc might ignite the gas. Plan what you’re going to do and move slowly and carefully.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Assure that fuel-burning appliances are installed, maintained and used properly and safely. This includes having an annual inspection of heating and venting equipment by a qualified contractor prior to the heating season and the use of a carbon monoxide alarm that meets current standards. To prevent carbon monoxide from forming, make sure your furnace has adequate ventilation and do not use the furnace closet for storage. Ensure that any space heaters are installed by a qualified professional, maintained correctly and used properly. This includes keeping gasoline, flammable liquids and other combustible materials away from appliances and other sources of ignition. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms can occur immediately or more gradually after long-term exposure.

Common symptoms include: dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath, nausea, headaches and fainting.

If you have these symptoms after being in an enclosed area, get fresh air immediately and call 911.

How To Shut Off Gas Supply

Do so ONLY if you notice structural damage to your house or if you smell or hear leaking gas.

  1. The meter shut-off valve is located next to your meter on the inlet pipe.
  2. Use a crescent or pipe wrench and give the valve a quarter turn in either direction. The pipe valve will now run crosswise on the pipe. The line is closed.

DO NOT turn on the gas again, let the gas company do this.

turn off gas supple

Right-Of-Way (ROW)

Residents, excavators and land developers must contact the NV Energy Land Operations Department at (775) 834-4260 if there are any questions about the pipeline ROW especially if property improvements or excavations are planned that might impact the ROW.

Excess Flow Valve

An Excess Flow Valve (EFV) is designed to shut off the flow of gas automatically on gas service lines. This safety device protects the gas service line to the gas meter set if an excavation damage, severe vehicle impact, or a large leak causes the flow of gas to exceed the EFV setting. An EFV does not protect against leaks on customer piping or appliance issues beyond the gas meter. Existing gas customers without an EFV and with a peak load of 2,600 standard cubic feet per hour or less have the right to request a retrofit installation from NV Energy on a mutually agreeable date. The customer cost of an EFV retrofit is a $200 copay in accordance with Schedule SC (Service Charges) in Sierra’s Gas Tariff No. 1. Once an EFV is installed, the maintenance and replacement of the EFV will be the responsibility of NV Energy. Please contact NV Energy Distribution Design at (775) 834-4002 for more information.

Gas and Propane Safety Brochure

Do you want to get a copy of the Natural Gas / Propane Safety brochure that comes with your bill?

Download Gas and Propane Safety Brochure


Direct any questions or requests for gas safety training to NV Energy's gas safety advisor.  Please see the information listed below.

Phone List

  • Call Before You Dig: 811
  • NV Energy
    • Gas Safety Training/Questions: 775.834.7709
    • Customer Service: 775.834.4444
    • Gas Emergency: 775.834.4100
    • Land Operations Department: 775.834.4260
    • Distribution Design: 775.834.4002
  • Public Utilities Commission of Nevada: 800.992.0900 or 775.684.6101


Visit these websites for more information on gas safety: