I have a small cupboard in basement I store paint etc. In house has oil heat but getting a sort of gas smell after bumping the pipe feels loose like it was just back filled with gravel . Old home built in 30s I don't have a gas meter electric appliances.

  • 1
    Any chance the house used to have gas service before it was switched to all-electric? An all-electric home built in the 30s is a bit unusual, so it would not surprise me. If that's the case, the pipe probably just runs to where the meter used to be, and is also capped off there.
    – Nate S.
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 0:28
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    Have you contacted your gas company? That loose gravel backfill sounds like a ready-made gas migration path for a gas leak outside to get inside... Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 2:27
  • Fwiw, natural gas is odorless. Mercaptan is typically added to natural gas for this exact purpose. Natural gas is lighter than air so it should float up and disperse in the event of a small leak. Mercaptan is heavier than air so you will smell the odor long after the gas has dispersed. On the other hand if you're on propane then propane is heavier than air and it can pool near the ground around the water heater flames and cause a not-so-nice situation.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


That looks like a gas line or black iron pipe.

The shutoff valve is typical of gas it may be loose below

I would use caution if you smell gas it could be leaking.

If you have a gas service it could be for a heater that was planned and not used or one that was removed. A soapy water solution dribbled on the threads and valve to check for leaks is a good idea. Gas lines are low pressure and easily sealed.

If you don’t feel comfortable checking it gas companies will usually check for you. They do not want bad things to happen.

  • "Gas lines are low pressure and easily sealed" - True they are low pressure, but finding leaks can be a big pain if it involves tearing up floors to find the joints in the pipework, etc. The usual (cheaper and quicker) fix is just to disconnect the original pipe from the meter supply and run a new pipe.
    – alephzero
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 13:46

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