The shaking of an earthquake can leave behind a lot of damage including shattered glass and the destruction of buildings. However, the most dangerous consequence of earthquakes is the risk of a natural gas leak because they are notorious for starting deadly fires and explosions. Seismic Valves Shut Off Valves (SSOVs) are essential to preventing gas fires for those who live in earthquake-prone regions.
Why Do I Need A Seismic Shut-Off Valve?
In high-risk earthquake zones like California, seismic shut-off valves are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Most of the damage that comes from earthquakes are from secondary sources such as fires caused by a gas leak. These gas line explosions are so prevalent that natural gas contributes to one of every four fires after an earthquake. Seismic valves will stop gas ﬂow when an earthquake of significant magnitude occurs and decrease the chances of a ﬁre or explosion. Installing seismic valves will greatly reduce the risk of an explosion if a gas line is broken or damaged after a major seismic event.
Who Can Install Seismic Valves?
Contractors must have a C36-Plumbing license to install these valves.
MBS Engineering has installed over 100,000 seismic gas valves in countless facilities throughout Northern and Southern California. Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves are usually installed on the exterior of your facility. Our experts ensure the proper size and fit so your facility remains as safe as possible from gas leaks in the event of an earthquake. Every Californian knows that earthquakes are possible and have maintenance plans in place in the event an earthquake, yet many business owners don’t account for how sudden earthquakes occur. In many cases, manual shut-off valves often can’t be reached in time by your staff. Even small earthquakes nearly undetectable by us can result in a natural gas leak—which can create problems for your facility.
How Do you Maintain SSOV’S?
Having your natural gas lines inspected bi-annually by the engineers at MBS plus having seismic valves in place can help protect your facility against the danger of deadly gas leaks caused by earthquakes both small and large.
Unattended gas leaks can not only compromise your facility’s safety but also put employees and customers at risk. Whenever there’s a leak, there’s a danger of fire (or even explosion) from the tiniest of ignition sources, including sparks from static electricity that you may not notice. Preventing damage to your expensive equipment as well as minimizing downtime after earthquakes will greatly reduce the financial loss from earthquakes.
It hits you: the rotten egg smell of natural gas. Is it really that big of a deal? And if it is, what exactly are you supposed to do about it? Whether the smell is somewhere in or around your home or you notice it in your office, it’s important to remain calm, get out of the immediate area, and report the smell to your local utilities operators.
Many people panic at the words, “gas leak.” While a gas leak can be a serious problem, it’s important to keep a cool head as you go about reporting it. The best thing to do for yourself is to vacate the area where you suspect a leak. Don’t worry about finding your gas shut offs or switching off any electricity. Instead, gather anyone nearby and walk a safe distance from where you suspect the leak to be. Walk rather than drive as starting your car could be dangerous if gas is leaking near your car. Any accidental sparks, including static electricity, could lead to a fire or an explosion.
Once you are a safe distance from the area where you suspect a leak, it’s time to call the professionals. Connect with the experts at MBS and report the leak if you reside in California. You can also call your utilities provider. Usually, they have a special line dedicated to gas leaks but if not, an operator will connect you to the right department. Utility companies take gas leaks very seriously. Help will arrive quickly and they will give you further direction on how to act in the event there is a serious problem. You might also consider calling 911 to come help vacate the area in the event of an unexpected issue.
Once MBS or your local utilities provider has checked for gas leaks with sophisticated gas leak technology, you’ll be faced with one of two scenarios. Either you’ll be told that the area is safe or you’ll be asked to vacate until the area has been made safe. You should never re-enter an area that has not been cleared of a gas leak as this can be very dangerous.
At MBS, we have helped hospitals, schools, commercial clients, and even California utilities with gas leak detection and prevention. Remember: preventing a disaster is far easier than reacting to it. We have extensive experience and state of the art equipment to help determine and manage gas leaks including services like:
MBS Engineers focus on natural gas, only.
We're not plumbers. We're not leak inspectors. We use state-of-the-art detection tools and are able to fix what we find.
MBS Engineering was contacted a local high school district in Marin County, and found out they were experiencing issues with their natural gas fed pool heater boilers. The district has pools at a number of their schools.
The pools are heated to keep a constant temperature of 80° Fahrenheit to ensure people could swim all year round. They were experiencing alarms due to low gas pressure at their larger boilers which heat the pool water. MBS was tasked to find out why this was happening and engineer a design to rectify the problem. After a site visit, MBS engineers realized the gas regulator, which is a safety device that controls the amount of gas pressure from a higher pressure down to a lower pressure, was installed in the wrong location and the entire gas system was designed improperly.
MBS engineers knew from experience that because these boilers require such a high demand of natural gas on a consistent basis, the single gas regulator in place could not keep up and supply the pressure needed for proper operation. If the issue were not caught, it could have led to damage to the expensive boilers as well as a revolving problem with alarms and time spent servicing the boilers.
MBS’s solution involved installing individual gas regulators at each boiler, to provide better control. This way each boiler operates independently. MBS performed the work in one day in order to avoid downtime for the pool and the regular users of the pool. They have not experienced issues since.
MBS is now evaluating pool heater boilers at each of their other campuses and seeing the same design error and is proposing a similar solution to the problem.
There was also the issue of a manual shut-off valve being installed high in the air, towards the ceiling as pictured. This creates a situation that if the gas needed to be turned off in an emergency, a technician would have to spend time finding a ladder, setting up the ladder, climbing up to the shut-off valve and turning it off. In a gas emergency, this is precious time wasted and could result in a catastrophe. MBS was able to install new shut-off valves to a level that is easily accessed at each appliance.
Cathodic Protection (CP) is one of the most effective ways to prevent corrosion of natural gas pipes. Metals, especially galvanized steel, corrode in the presence of oxygen, water, and other impurities such as sulfur. This protective measure is used in many applications including pipelines and ships.
Equipment operating in harsh environments benefit the most from cathodic protection. The two most common applications of CP are for buried pipeline systems and vessels as well as offshore platforms where minerals like sulfur and salt will corrode metal.
How Cathodic Protection Works
There are two methods of cathodic protection: Galvanic and Impressed Current. The process entails protecting a metal surface (such as a pipe) using another metal that is more reactive. This “sacrificial” metal undergoes oxidation rather than the operating equipment. Galvanized metals (steel) corrode when oxidation occurs due to harsh environmental factors like salt and sulfur.
Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) is a more economical method of CP for situations when underground pipelines are long or offshore equipment is very large. ICCP simply supplies the metal with electrons from an external source, making it resist corrosion.
What to keep in mind
The effectiveness of CP depends on the comprehensiveness of the installation. Seek an experience specialty contractor. Inadequate designs may not maximize the amount of current reaching the protected component. CP designs should consider the environmental conditions and monitor stray currents that may interfere with the system. These interfering currents could be due to the environment or neighboring components.
Although cathodic protection is an effective way to protect your steel pipes from corrosion, you can’t simply set it and forget it; the CP equipment must be monitored and maintained in order to be effective and reliable. MBS Engineering offers tailored maintenance programs designed specifically for your facility’s needs, no matter how complex your project.
What is a gas pressure regulator? These devices are commonly found in homes and commercial properties. We use regulators routinely to maintain our daily lives. For instance, in your home, you may be familiar with pressure regulators on your gas barbecue grill to regulate propane, inside your home to aid in heating your furnace and regulate natural gases. When driving your car, there’s a regulator to maintain your fuel. Pressure regulators are also widely used in medical and dental equipment to regulate oxygen and anesthesia gases.
There are a lot of uses for pressure regulators, and in each example it provides the same function. Pressure regulators reduce a supply of pressure to a lower outlet pressure and work to maintain this outlet pressure despite fluctuations in the inlet pressure. The reduction of the inlet pressure to a lower outlet pressure is the key characteristic of pressure regulators.
As it pertains to natural gas, a pressure regulator is a valve that automatically cuts off the flow of gas when it reaches a certain pressure. The prime function of the regulator is to put exactly as much gas into the piping system as the load device takes out to prevent damage to the equipment and tools. Without these devices, pressure could become too great for the equipment to operate properly and the pipes could rupture.
Regulators must conversely match the flow of gas through the regulator to the demand for gas placed upon the system, in conjunction with maintaining the system pressure, keeping it within acceptable amounts.
There are three main elements to a pressure regulator system:
For additional resources and information on pressure regulators and natural gas, contact the professionals of MBS Engineering. MBS Engineering has the experience, knowledge and skills to become your go-to company for all natural gas-related needs, including gas leak detection, service and repairs, seismic gas shutoff valve installations, microturbine energy solutions and more. If you have questions about your natural gas systems, contact MBS today.
When it comes to using natural gas, most businesses simply use it—without thinking about it. Often it isn’t until there’s a problem that your company will call someone like MBS for help. But from no hot water to the unmistakable smell of a gas leak, many problems with natural gas can be prevented. How? Through proper bi-annual inspections of your gas pipelines.
About Gas Pipelines
Gas pipelines are a valuable resource in California. And not too long ago, natural gas pipelines were still being made of galvanized steel. But while that wasn’t a problem at the times, pipelines made of galvanized steel aren’t built to last. They’re sensitive to the elements and prone to rust and leaking. Only able to last about twenty five to thirty years, these pipes need to be replaced by more modern piping technology.
Extending The Life of Your Pipelines
Do you have more modern natural gas pipelines? Even they need to be inspected for safety bi-annually. That’s because through the use of regular inspections and service, your business will not only save money on repairs and maintenance. The life of your equipment could be extended while your energy bills will fall lower. By engaging MBS Engineering to provide regular inspections and evaluations of plant and equipment, you can save money on repairs because your equipment will be properly monitored and preventative maintenance will be conducted before expensive problems arise.
Our aim is to enable our client’s mechanical systems to operate reliably at all times. And MBS offers tailored maintenance programs that are designed specifically for each client. We are a specialty contractor who can safely tackle the most complex problems and provide effective solutions. Ready to schedule your bi-annual inspection? Contact the experts at MBS now.
Natural gas is a clean and safe energy solution. At MBS, we’re big proponents of natural gas use. But we also believe that to keep this fossil fuel safe, proper maintenance of gas lines, valves and regulators is a must. Many universities in California don’t realize that their natural gas lines require ongoing bi-annual inspections. Older lines may even require replacement as corroded pipes can lead to unwanted gas leaks. So whether it has been some time since you had your lines inspected, or you suspect a gas leak on your campus, it’s time to take action.
Local utility companies can’t do repairs on private property in California. Many universities are stunned to learn this when they suspect a gas leak. So while your local gas company may be able to confirm your gas leak suspicions on your campus, they can’t help you fix it. But at MBS Engineering, we're available 24/7 to respond to your university’s concerns about gas leaks. All of our trucks are fully outfitted, allowing our teams to work comfortably and efficiently day or night—so we can help you keep your students safe, no matter what time it is. If you suspect a gas leak at your university, you should immediately stop what you’re doing and call your local gas company or MBS Engineering for an inspection. You may be advised to call the fire department. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
Seismic Valves are essential to protecting your business from gas fires in the event of an earthquake. In high risk earthquake zones like California, seismic shut-off valves are not a luxury, they are a necessity.Earthquake damages compounded by gas line explosions are so prevalent that natural gas contributes to one of every four fires after an earthquake. Because the danger from gas lines during earthquakes is so considerable, MBS Engineering has installed thousands of seismic gas valves in countless facilities throughout Northern and Southern California.
Many companies in California have maintenance plans that include manual shut-off valves. However, in the event of a sudden earthquake, these valves are hard to get to and usually can’t be reached in time by your staff. Even small, nearly undetectable earthquakes can result in natural gas leaks and damage to gas piping. Installing shut off valves will significantly decrease the chance of a ﬁre or explosion and prevent damage to structures.
What exactly are Seismic Gas Shut Off Valves? Earthquake valves, or seismic shut-off valves, are used as a safety device to shut off natural gas lines in the event of an earthquake. They are usually installed on the exterior of a residence or business in order to stop gas ﬂow when an earthquake of significant magnitude occurs. Seismic shut off valves are extremely sensitive to seismic activity and instantly stop the flow of gas from entering your facility when severe shaking occurs, keeping you and your business safe from earthquake-related disasters.
Bi-annual gas line inspections along with seismic valves can help protect your business against the danger of deadly gas leaks caused by earthquakes. MBS Engineering has installed over 100,000 seismic valves, so we have the experience, knowledge and skills to become your go-to company for all natural gas-related needs including gas leak detection, repairs, seismic gas shutoff valve installations, new construction, microturbine energy solutions and more. Want to learn more about protecting your business from earthquake related disasters? Give us a call, we’d love to share our knowledge with you.
In 2017, MBS Engineering installed over 1,000 seismic valves for facilities like hospitals, schools, and big box stores. But why is that important information for your company? Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves are essential to protecting your business from gas fires in the event of an earthquake. Often red in color, these valves are used as a safety device. Their role is to shut off natural gas lines in the event of an earthquake—something many facility managers can’t get to quickly enough in the event of an earthquake.
Every California business know that earthquakes are possible. Many have maintenance plans in place in the event an earthquake occurs. Yet many business owners don’t account for how sudden earthquakes occur. In many cases, manual shut-off valves often can’t be reached in time by your staff. Even small earthquakes nearly undetectable by us can result in a natural gas leak—and that can create problems for your facility. But having your natural gas lines inspected bi-annually by the experts at MBSEngineering plus having seismic valves in place can help protect your facility against the danger of deadly gas leaks caused by earthquakes both small and large.
Seismic Gas Shut-Off Valves are usually installed on the exterior of your facility. Our experts ensure the proper size and fit so your facility remains as safe as possible from gas leaks in the event of an earthquake. Seismic valves will stop gas ﬂow when an earthquake of significant magnitude occurs and decrease the chances of a ﬁre or explosion. Since our beginning, MBS Engineering has installed over 100,000 seismic valves in California.
So the next time you find yourself wondering how to make your facility safer in the event of earthquakes, turn to MBS Engineering. We have the experience, knowledge and skills to become your go-to company for all natural gas-related needs, including gas leak detection, repairs, seismic gas shutoff valve installations, new construction, microturbine energy solutions and more. We’d love to talk to you about your facility’s needs.