My gas heat is not working! It might be a prank!

Home Inspector with Trace Inspections, LLC TN #17

OK, it is the first cool snap of the year and you go to turn the heat on and you wait and wait and wait.  It does nothing and your first thought is that the system is broken.  So what should you do?

Well if you only have gas heat and an electric water heater (like I do) the first thing you want to do is to go and take a look at the gas meter to see if it has been turned off!  I know, you are thinking that this only happens if you do not pay your bill.  Well, normally that it true, but it could have also been turned off by one of your neighbors kids....  Yep, it is the prank that never grows old unless you are on the receiving end.  If you know for sure the gas is on then call a qualified HVAC contractor!

Looking at the gas meter:

Your gas meter will most likely be on one side of your home, it is usually a silver or gray looking box with a couple of pipes coming out of it.  Looks for the pipe that is coming out of the ground and going to the meter. You should see a valve that is used to turn on and off the gas in the pipe.  It should have one part that turns (you need a wrench) and one part that is fixed to the pipe.  Both parts will have a hole that is used by the utility company to lock the meter off.  If the two holes are in alignment then the gas has been turned off!  NOTE:  If it has a lock on the meter, you need to pay your bill!

What to do if it the gas has been turned off?

I would recommend calling the gas utility and tell them that somebody has turned the gas off to your home.  Most if not all will respond with a service technician as quick as they can.  They will turn on the gas and purge the system of air.  Purging the system of air is the most difficult thing and one reason that I recommend calling the gas company.

Hope this might help if your heat is not heating!  Oh, and if you do find that you are the victim of a this prank then you might want to tell your neighbors.  I have heard of one HVAC service company getting 19 service calls for one street in a subdivision in my area!


Comments (2)

Hercel Spears
Advanced Realty Education HomeSmart Realty - Tempe, AZ

As times change so do the pranks.  Could have been worse. In the old days, (when I was a kid on a ranch) the outhouse would get moved back a couple of feet, or run a wire from a coil to the real metal door handle on the screen door.  Snakes in the bedroll was another favorite.  I guess we have tamed down some over the years.

Oct 06, 2010 04:11 AM
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Dang home inspector's kids must have been listening to Dad and taking advantage of their knowledge.

Around here, some of the main electrical disconnects are also outside and subject to being tunred on by vandals/pranksters.

A picture of a gas meter would add knowledge to your blog, Scott.



Nov 20, 2010 07:30 AM