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gas leak on lead pipework

Old lead gas pipe, found to be the cause of the gas leak

I was telephoned by a customer last week to adjust some pipework on their gas supply to two separate gas fires, where a leak had previously been found by an engineer from National Grid. There was a gas leak on lead pipework which had been connected to the copper feed to these two particular fires, so I had to refabricate the supply pipe and take the feed from another gas supply.

All pipework in this case was underneath the downstairs floor boards so it wasn’t the easiest job to actually work on but luckily there was a removable access panel in the downstairs toilet, which was actually the area that the customer had informed me that the gas smell was strongest.

Natural gas being supplied through lead pipework, whilst not illegal, is not acceptable under current gas regulations – it certainly shouldn’t be fitted on a new installation – but is still common place for many UK properties. Where possible these days, I would always try and remove, or bypass, all lead pipework, certainly where the main water supply is concerned, and then replace with its copper equivalent. Lead pipe, particularly that which has not been properly clipped and supported in place, is very vulnerable to movement and fatigue, and is therefore more at risk of weakening, and consequently leaking.

Whilst some very minor gas leaks are actually tolerated, provided they do not exceed a certain level, any gas leak where the smell of it can be physically sensed, is not acceptable and should therefore be treated as a matter of urgency. It’s a fairly simple procedure to ascertain whether a leak is present or not on any given installation, so if in doubt, just give me a call.

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