I had a fun day with the gas company yesterday. My wife smelled a faint wiff of gas by the water heater in the home we just bought this past July. The home is older than I am, but the water heater is about 5 years old. We called the gas company who we have had great experience with before. They have done bubble tests, tightened up fittings, and gone on their way at no cost. This time was different. He bubble tested most, but not all fittings, and then got out his electronic sniffer. He said there was gas leaking from the com port of the gas control valve, disconnected the water heater, plugged the gas line and red tagged it. He told me this happens all the time. He told me the manufacturer is going to tell me this is normal, and even a brand new water heater and valve would fail the test that he did, and that there is no fix for it. That is exactly what happened. Now I have no hot water and even if I replace the valve, the gas company is apparently going to still sniff gas there and not let me hook back up.

I have been referred to an ANSI standard that says leaking 200 in3 per hour is allowable and safe, and a Honeywell reference that says these electric sniffers can detect gas at less than 5 in3 per hour. What can I do besides run a new circuit and buy an electric water heater?

Aside from this he also told me there is no record of any inspections being done on my gas plumbing and he needed to take the meter (I just bought the house, remember). They have been reading the meter for how many decades, but yesterday, it was illegal? Fortunately a call to the county turned up an inspection from 2014 before he drove off with the meter.