Early warning. Con Edison has undertaken a program to install natural-gas detectors — free — in buildings throughout the New York City area. The device, which is installed in the area where Con Edison’s gas service pipe enters the building, will beep loudly and say “Danger — Gas leak explosion risk. Evacuate, then call 911.”
The device will also send an alert to Con Edison and the fire department, who will respond and investigate. That doesn’t automatically mean your building’s gas will be shut off. “The detectors are extremely sensitive and can pick up even a very small amount of gas,” says Len Williams, the owner of McCready & Rice Plumbing. “If the leak is on Con Ed’s equipment, they will fix it, and that’s that. But if not, the building will be red-tagged and the gas will be shut off.”
Opting in — or out. The program, which began in Westchester County last year, will continue through 2025 in the three boroughs where Con Edison supplies gas: Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. Installation takes about an hour and does not require turning off the building’s gas. Those who elect not to have the detectors — installation is not mandatory — can notify Con Edison by calling 800 65-CONED.
Added security. Because the detectors monitor only the area where they’re installed, boards should still have separate gas detectors installed as needed elsewhere in their buildings. But the devices can offer additional peace of mind. “Yes, I am advising boards to have them installed,” says Mark Hoffman, the principal at Hoffman Management. “It’s a good safety precaution.”