DAMAGING your gas pipe could be costly as well as dangerous.
That’s the message from West Yorkshire’s gas safety firm Northern Gas Networks.
Every year over-enthusiastic DIYers end up with unnecessary bills simply because they don’t take enough care when working in their homes or gardens.
In the last eight months more than 900 people in West Yorkshire damaged their gas service pipe – and as an average repair costs £325 it is a mistake that does not come cheap.
Northern Gas Networks and its operating partner, United Utilities, run the region’s free 24-hour gas emergency service, responding to leaks and making sure they’re made safe quickly.
But although responding to the leak is free the cost of repairing the damage can run into hundreds of pounds for the householder.
United Utilities’ emergency operations manager, Steve Hogarth, said: “The safety of gas supplies is our top priority. Never take chances with gas safety.
“If you damage a gas pipe you must call our emergency service on 0800 111 999. We will send an engineer to stop the leak, but we may charge you for the repair.
“It’s far better to take care and avoid making a mistake in the first place.”
The service pipe is the one which links the gas main in your street to the meter in your property. There are more than 2m in the North of England, many less than 25mm (1in) in diameter.
Mr Hogarth added: “This time of year is a great time to be working in your garden, but think about what might be underground before you start to dig.
“Your service pipe usually runs in a straight line from your meter to the gas main in the road. If it’s likely to be in your way carefully hand-dig a few trial holes to see if you can find out exactly where it is.
“Never use a digger or a pick.”
If you are employing a builder to carry out the work they are responsible for doing this for you.
United Utilities offers a free advice service for people who need more help finding their gas pipes before starting work.
Write to Plant Protection Section, Northern Gas Networks, 1 Emperor Way, Doxford Park, Sunderland, SR3 3XR. You can also download information from Northern Gas Networks website www.northerngas.co.uk
If you do hit a pipe, or smell gas, do not panic. Call the national gas emergency service free on 0800 111 999. The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.