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Gas safety

If you smell the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas in or around your home or business, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1. Then, report the leak to PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Signs of a natural gas leak


We add a distinctive, sulfur-like, rotten egg odor so you can detect even small amounts of natural gas. However, DO NOT rely only on your sense of smell to detect the presence of natural gas.


Pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.


Be aware of dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek, and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
What to do if you suspect a gas leak
  • 1

    Alert everyone nearby and leave the area immediately to an upwind location.
  • 2

    Do not use anything that could be a source of ignition, including cell phones, flashlights, light switches, matches or vehicles, until you are a safe distance away.
  • 3

    Call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Do not shut off the gas to your home unless you smell gas, hear it escaping, see a broken gas line or suspect a leak.

NOTE: If you shut off the gas, there may be a delay before PG&E can turn your service on. Once the gas is shut off at the meter, DO NOT turn it back on yourself. Always wait for a PG&E representative or another qualified professional to perform a safety inspection before gas service is restored and appliance pilot lights are lit.

How to turn off your gas

  1. Locate the main gas shutoff valve. Your main gas shutoff valve is normally located near your gas meter. The most common places are on the side or front of a building, a cabinet located inside a building or a cabinet meter outside a building.
  2. Have a wrench handy. Keep a 12- to 15-inch adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench or other suitable tool near your main shutoff valve so you don’t have to search for one in times of emergency.
  3. Give the valve a quarter turn. The valve is closed when the tang (the part of the valve you put the wrench on) is crosswise (perpendicular) to the pipe.

If your gas service is set up differently from the one described and you wish to know how to turn off your gas, please contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

NOTE: Once you have shut off the gas at the meter, do not try to turn it back on yourself. If the gas service shutoff valve is closed, PG&E or another qualified professional should perform a safety inspection before the gas service is restored and appliance pilots are relit.

  • The gas meter and gas shutoff valve are usually located on the side or front of the building or in the breezeway.

  • Cabinet meter: Sometimes the gas meter is in a cabinet inside the building. In this case, the gas shutoff valve may be located on a section of gas pipe next to the building outside or near the gas meter.

  • Multiple meters: If there are multiple gas meters for the building, there are individual gas shutoff valves for each unit near the gas meters, including a master valve for the entire building where the gas pipe comes out of the ground. Ask your facilities personnel or property manager to help locate the valve for your unit.

  • Appliance Gas Shutoff Valves:

    • Most gas appliances have a gas shutoff valve that lets you turn off gas for that appliance only.
    • To shut off the gas, rotate the valve a quarter turn.
    • If there is a gas leak, turning off the gas at the appliance’s shutoff valve may solve the problem.
  • Many older gas appliances and most water heaters have a small, continuously burning gas flame called a pilot light that ignites the main burner. Some newer models have electronic igniters.
  • Check for instructions inside the main burner compartment door and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight any pilot lights.
  • If you can’t relight the pilot light yourself, call a PG&E representative or another qualified professional for assistance.
  • If the pilot light is out, use the appliance gas shutoff valve to turn off the gas.
  • Always let gas disperse for five minutes before trying to relight an appliance pilot light.
  • When lighting match-lit burners or ovens, always light the match before turning on the gas. If the flame goes out, turn off the burner and let the gas disperse before relighting.