Why natural gas?
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels that powers industries and heats more than half of all American homes.
North America has a natural gas delivery system that includes nearly two million miles of natural gas transmission pipeline. This system has an outstanding safety record. It is operated and maintained in accordance with strict federal and state regulatory requirements.
Detecting a natural gas leak
Natural gas doesn’t have an odor. To help you detect a leak, we protect customers by adding an odorant to our natural gas, called mercaptan, which smells like rotting eggs or an unpleasant skunk smell.
Since natural gas is odorless, you still can’t rely on your sense of smell alone to detect its presence. Use your other senses to detect a potential leak:
- Sight: Natural gas may blow dirt, make bubbles, kill vegetation, or create an area of frost on the ground in warm weather if it leaks from an underground pipe.
- Sound: Natural gas can make a quiet hiss or a loud roar.
Hazards of a natural gas leak
- Fire or explosion: Natural gas is extremely flammable and is easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames.
- Health: Although natural gas isn’t fatal if inhaled, there can still be symptoms of a prolonged exposure, such as headache, dizziness, loss of coordination, irritation, drowsiness or unconsciousness.
Steps to take if you detect a leak
- Do not attempt to locate the leak. Leave the area immediately and don’t touch anything that could cause a spark.
- Call MidAmerican Energy at 800-595-5325 and dial 911 from another location at a safe distance. MidAmerican Energy will investigate the situation at no cost.
- Do not re-enter the area until you’ve been advised that it is safe.
Before you dig…
By law, you must dial 811 at least two full working days before you dig for any reason on your property.
Any time you plan to dig on your property, either as part of a construction job or a homeowner project, you must call 811 to have utilities located. It’s a free service and helps keep you and your family safe.
MidAmerican Energy locators will come out and mark MidAmerican Energy-owned underground gas and electric facilities and other underground utilities within two full business days of your call. Customers must contact a plumbing and heating dealer or a qualified private contractor to locate customer-owned gas piping. Preserve location marks and flags until the project is complete to avoid potential injury.
Natural gas inside your home
Furnaces, water heaters, ranges and gas fireplaces are examples of appliances that may use natural gas lines in your home.
Keep your home safe from a natural gas leak by:
- Having regular inspections and maintenance performed.
- Keeping areas around appliances clean and clear of obstructions.
- Never storing flammable liquids near gas appliances.
- Contacting a qualified plumbing and heating contractor to check gas connectors.
- Always place end caps on pipes after removing gas appliances – don’t rely on a valve alone.
Natural gas outside your home
- Gas meters: If you notice obstructions around the meter, like ice build-up, or if you will be completing work that may require relocation of gas meters, notify us at 888-427-5632.
- Gas lines, customer-owned: Pipes that run to a natural gas grill or outbuilding and pipes that connect your meter to your furnace or water heater won’t be marked by us. We do not maintain customer-owned gas piping. You must contact a qualified plumber or private contractor to locate customer-owned gas piping.
- Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST): CSST is piping that may have been installed if your home or business was built after 1990. If CSST has been used at your home or business, contact a licensed electrician for confirmation that a bonding device was installed to the ground.
We go above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of our natural gas distribution pipeline and transmission facilities, ensuring that the public, our employees and the environment is protected at all times. Learn more about MidAmerican Energy’s integrity management programs.