my uncle recently installed a new gas hot water heater.
A day later, I notice a slight odor coming from the furnace room - this
smell was probably there from the start, but no one noticed it. Told
him about it. He went in and sniffed around and said he knows what
natural gas smells like, and didn't smell anything. We did a leak test,
and sure enough there is a small leak at the valve. This particular
valve is old. On one side there is a bolt/screw, if not tightened
enough, it leaks. He tightened it. We did another leak test, and no
bubbles this time, and the smell has gone away.
I went in the next day, and smelled around. Near the gas supply to the
heater (inside the outer door) I smelled something, but didn't know if
it was metal or gas. I did a leak test on all the connections again and
saw no bubbles. Is it normal for there to be an odor in that area? Is
it the metal I am smelling? He thought the previous leak was just the
metal smell, but it was actually gas. Don't know what to do.. all
connections pass the water/soap test. The smell is not detectable
anywhere except within a few inches of where the gas line connects to
the heater. If there is a leak, it's probably very small. Could it be
within the heater, too, where a leak test is not possible? How much gas
would need to be released to cause an explosion? If I installed a gas
detector, would it sound if any gas were present, even tiny amounts?
Also, the valve itself makes contact with the hot water heater, due to
the way the gas pipe is installed. It comes down from the ceiling
diagnally and doesn't quite clear the heater. Is that a code violation?
There is clearly some pressure on the valve.
At this point I am considering calling the city to inspect the
installation and check for leaks. I know he would not be happy about
it, but I am a bit concerned. What should I do?