Should I Turn Off Gas When on Vacation?

Should I Turn Off Gas When on Vacation

Should I Turn Off Gas When on Vacation?

It happens every time—you are all packed up to leave for vacation but cannot shake the feeling that you forget something. You have ensured your pet will be properly cared for, and the neighbors will collect your mail and water your plants, but what about your main gas supply? Should you turn it off? 

You should not turn off your gas when you leave for vacation under most circumstances. However, if you leave for longer than a few weeks, it may be worth considering, especially if it is during the summertime, and there will be a pet in the house. 

In most cases, the reality is that turning off your gas supply is not necessary, and it is perfectly safe to leave it on. You should feel comfortable leaving your home with the main gas supply turned on for weeks. Continue reading for advice on making this decision and how to turn off your gas if you decide that is best for your home. 

Deciding if You Should Turn Your Gas Off

Whether or not you turn your gas off depends on a few factors. These include the outside temperature, how long you will be gone, and whether a pet will be in the home. Keep in mind that turning your gas off is generally unnecessary and can often be more trouble than it is worth, as you should contact a professional to turn it back on. 

Let us look at a few different scenarios and whether they warrant turning your gas off or not.

Frozen Pipes

If the outside temperature is too cold, specifically below 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius), then turning off your gas supply is not recommended, especially if you rely on gas to heat your home. In fact, if gas is your main heat source, then you will risk major damages to your home if you leave it unheated for too long. 

The biggest threat of turning your heat supply off is frozen pipes, which will likely end up bursting. Burst pipes will result in damage to your home or property and the inability to get running water. Additionally, the burden of getting new pipes can be quite costly. 

Duration of Vacation

Another thing you should consider is how long you will be gone. If you are only gone for a week or two, turning your gas supply off is simply unnecessary, especially if you live in a warmer climate. However, if you are gone longer than a couple of weeks, it might be something you should consider. It is simply not worth the trouble.

Energy Savings

The main reason you might consider turning your gas off is energy savings. Homes that rely on gas as their main heat source will likely have a pilot light, a small, blue flame that continuously burns. While this little flame uses a bit of energy to keep itself burning, the cost is pretty minimal. 

However, if you will be gone for several weeks or months, it may be worth your while to turn it off. Keep in mind that you will have to get a professional to help you turn it back on when you return. 

Gas Leaks

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, using gas as your energy source is never risk-free. There is always the potential of a gas leak. This means that you would be unaware of a gas leak for the duration of your vacation unless someone is checking in on your house. This is the most dangerous scenario, but it is pretty low risk.

Gas leaks are pretty common, and for the most part, they are harmless. They rarely result in a gas explosion and are almost never lethal. The gas companies do not even address most of the gas leaks identified. Many are left leaking for years. How can that be? Unless the gas leak is less than five feet from an enclosure, there is no real risk of any type of danger. 

However, if the leak is somewhere inside your home, like your basement, then that is a cause for concern. The best remedy for this is having someone checking in on your home while you are away. Friends, family, or neighbors are usually happy to do this for you. 

If there is a gas leak inside your home, it will be identifiable through the pungent sulfur or rotten egg smell, a whistling or hissing sound coming from the gas pipes, a damaged gas pipe, or a white cloud of dust around your gas pipes. Dead plants will also be a telltale sign, as the potent chemical is too harsh for them. 

As we said, if your house sitter notices any of these signs, this is a cause for concern. Keep the name and phone number of your gas company on the refrigerator in case this happens. 

How to Turn Off Your Gas

If you decide that your vacation circumstances warrant turning off your gas supply, that is perfectly fine. You cannot put a price on peace of mind. We will walk you through how to turn off your main gas supply line.

While this seems like a simple task, please keep in mind that this should be done with extreme caution and may require the help of a professional. Let us get started. 

  1. Gather your tools. The necessary tools are minimal, but you may need a wrench or pliers for this job. 
  2. Locate your main gas supply and meter. This will likely be located on the side or in front of your house. 
  3. Locate the handle and turn it. The handle will likely be a rectangular shape and may have a rubber coating on it. It should be located on the gas pipe. Turn the handle in either direction so that it is perpendicular (opposite direction) to the pipe. 
  4. Your gas supply is off! Now, leave it off. 

Check out this two-minute video by MonkeySee, as she does an excellent job of demonstrating the steps above:

If you suspect a gas leak, do not attempt to turn the gas off by yourself. If you have any hesitations at all, please contact your gas supply company for assistance.

Another important thing to note is that you should not turn your gas back on by yourself. Turning the gas supply back on is much more dangerous than turning it off and can result in death or serious damage to your home. This job should definitely be left up to a professional. Your gas company will send a certified technician to turn it back on and relight your pilot light, often at a low cost or even free. 

Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind that it is generally unnecessary to turn your gas supply line off for vacation. However, if turning it off brings you peace of mind, then proceed with caution. The main drawback is that a professional is strongly encouraged to turn it back on. 

As you can see, this decision depends largely on the circumstances of your home, the duration of your vacation, and whether someone can check in on your home. If you are leaving a pet at home, it is especially important to make sure that they will be safe and comfortable. 

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know about turning off your gas supply line for vacation: hopefully, this helped clear up any confusion around whether or not it is a necessary step. 


Dean Luoma

As a long-time homeowner, Dean has been working on his own home projects for over 30 years. He is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Minnesota, helping clients with the buying and selling of their homes.

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