Home & Garden Columns

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday September 08, 2006

Gas Shut-off Valve – Is It Worth It?  


An automatic gas shut-off valve is a mechanism that can be installed on the house side of your gas meter. 

It is designed to cut the flow of gas to your home in the event of an earthquake. In previous quakes in California, gas lines to appliances snapped, gas built up in the house, and the resulting fire destroyed many homes.  

There are plenty of people who have decided against having one installed, thinking that, if they smell gas after a serious quake, they can just turn off the gas themselves at the main shut-off valve near their meter. 

No problem—if you can guarantee somebody will be home at the time of the quake. However, if the quake hits when everyone’s at work, or on an outing, or just gone from home, you may regret not having one.  

It’s true that a moderate-sized quake can activate the valve, but the ones I’ve used are easy to re-set, and, in my opinion, the protection is worth the potential inconvenience.  



Larry Guillot is the owner of QuakePrepare, an earthquake consulting, securing and kit supply service. Contact him at 558-3299 or see www.quakeprepare.com to receive semi-monthly e-mails and safety reports.