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Here are some safety tips in the event of severe flooding:
- Do not turn off the gas meter even in the event of an evacuation. The gas meter should be left on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within the house and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
- If your appliances have been in contact with water, please contact a licensed plumbing or heating contractor to make sure the appliances are safe to operate.
- If we have shut your gas service off for safety reasons, please contact a licensed plumbing or heating contractor before contacting Rhode Island Energy. The licensed plumbing or heating contractor should verify that your gas appliances are safe to operate before Rhode Island Energy restores gas service.
- Don’t forget to check outdoor natural gas appliances, such as pool heaters and gas grills.
- Listen for important announcements on television and radio from emergency officials about possible evacuations or other emergency procedures.
- Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
Water damage to your home or business may have resulted in your being disconnected from our natural gas system.
It is our goal to restore natural gas service in your area and to your home or business as safely and quickly as possible.
If your property has flooded, contact a plumbing or heating contractor to make sure your appliances are safe to operate. To ensure both your and our employees’ safety, Rhode Island Energy will not enter your premises after a flood until all water is removed, all repairs are complete, and every gas appliance is in working condition. The sooner you have your appliances checked, the faster we can restore your service.
In general, these steps will be required to restore service:
- An assessment of the condition of all gas equipment (both Rhode Island Energy and customer-owned) at the property
- Repair and/or replacement of our equipment or customer-owned appliances
- At least one visit, and possibly additional visits, to the property by our meter services employees to test, inspect, and relight pilot lights
Safety precautions must be taken after property has been exposed to standing water. Floodwaters can permanently damage gas and electrical equipment. Even if the equipment dries out, contaminants can affect electronics and moving parts. Corrosion is likely and is often hidden. This can lead to failures and can cause fires, even if the equipment appears intact and functions after drying out.
- Replacement vs. repair - In most cases, flood-damaged heating and cooling equipment and systems will have to be replaced, not repaired. All inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment should be performed by qualified heating and cooling contractors, not by homeowners. A licensed electrician should replace flooded electrical equipment and components.
- Ductwork – If you have a central forced-air furnace, pay attention to your ductwork too. A qualified heating contractor will not try to salvage duct insulation that has been in contact with flood water, but will replace it because it is impossible to decontaminate.
- Gas furnaces, boilers, fireplaces - If there is any question whether flood water has submerged a gas appliance and/or its controls, have the unit checked by a qualified heating contractor.
- Water heating systems - Whether your water heater is gas-fired, oil-fired or electric, if it was exposed to flood water, the unit should be replaced. A new water heater is a relatively small investment, and replacing it is fairly easy to do.
- Flex Connector Awareness Flexible gas connectors are corrugated metal tubing used to connect appliances such as stoves and dryers to natural gas supply pipes. Do NOT attempt to move the appliance yourself to check the connector. Contact a licensed plumber or qualified professional appliance repair service to inspect your connectors and replace them if necessary