The Meter is Running
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Getting the gas turned on after a leak is an arduous process.
AUTHORBeth Markowitz, Merlot Management
PAGE #pp. 62-63
If you suspect a gas leak, there are no half-measures; action must be taken, and quickly.
In a nine-unit co-op we manage, the president smelled gas and called Con Ed, which shut the gas off. We had a special meeting where we spent an hour talking about the situation and what was going on. When you tell people it could be six months to a year before we have gas back in the building, they need to understand why.
We called in our plumbers to find the leaks, and then started a very long and lengthy process – three months, maybe four – of getting the gas back on. We’re talking about a pre-war building where gas lines are 30, 40, 50 years old. The odds of pressure-testing them and them not failing are very slim. We tested every riser and every apartment, and we even had to open some walls. There was a period where I was in the building every third day, certainly on the phone with the president and the plumber on almost a daily basis. We had to coordinate access, getting into people’s homes. We wound up having three places where there were leaks. Eventually, gas was restored. It was about a $25,000 to $30,000 project, paid for out of the reserves.
It’s not a quick, simple, inexpensive fix. If you suspect you have gas leaks, you can’t ignore the situation. You have to test for leaks. The catch-22 here is, if you do a pressure-test on the gas line, and it doesn’t hold, Con Ed is obligated to shut that line down. You can spend a lot of money just figuring out where the leaks are.