Vector image of a city during an earthquake
Written by Columbia HVAC

What is an Earthquake Shut-Off Valve?

An earthquake shut-off valve can keep your home safe from gas leaks in the event an earthquake. The valve senses shaking and automatically and restricts the flow of gas into your home. Licensed contractors install the valve at the juncture between your gas supply and your home’s pipes. You can think of it as a silent gatekeeper, guarding your home in the event of an emergency.

Since an estimated 50% of earthquake fires are caused by gas leaks, stopping the flow of gas in the event of an earthquake emergency is critical. Powerful earthquakes can loosen, dislodge, and even break gas pipes – resulting in potential leaks. Leaking gas can easily become trapped and build up. Because it is highly flammable, trapped gas can easily ignite, explode, and burn. The Great San Francisco Fire of 1906, which razed much of the city, was caused by gas leaks triggered by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake.

Earthquake Shut-Off Valve Technology

The technology of an earthquake shut-off valve is surprisingly simple. The valve itself is a small, brightly colored box that is easily visible. Inside the box, a metal ball sits on a ring above the passage that the gas travels through on its way into your home. During a seismic event, shaking dislodges the metal ball from its perch, and it tumbles into the passage, blocking gas flow. No gas will get into your home until the valve is manually reset by a licensed contractor who returns the metal ball to its original position.

Valve Installation in Your Home

Installing the valve is an easy procedure. A licensed contractor will temporarily shut off the gas supply to your home in order to safely disconnect the gas meter from your pipes. To attach the valve, the contractor may have to rotate or remove a small portion of pipe. He or she will then reconnect the gas and test the value to make sure it functions properly.

Part & Labor Pricing – with a discount!

Columbia Heating & Cooling provides and installs the Northridge Valve 2000— an automatic earthquake shut-off value named after the 1993 earthquake in Northridge, California. The full price for the part and installation is $399. For a limited time, Columbia is offering a FREE Northridge Valve 2000 with any all-new system install! This top-of-the-line valve stops gas flow during a seismic event of 5.2 or greater on the Richter Scale and comes with a thirty-year warranty for a full thirty years of peace of mind. Contact us today to snag your discount!