What is an Earthquake Valve?  – Handyman tips


While professionals in gas plumbing services will have certainly heard of (and probably worked with) one of these devices, most in the general public have probably never even heard of it before. But if you live in a region that is prone to earthquakes, like southern California, then this is definitely a device to be familiar with.

gas earthquake valve

But what exactly is this device? How does it work? And why is it so important to have installed at my property if I live in a region prone to earthquakes? Well, in this article, we answer these questions and more to help you learn more about the importance of these seemingly simple, yet very effective, safety devices. In the event of an earthquake, a safety shut-off valve could be the difference in protecting your property and those you love.

What Exactly is an Earthquake Valve?

Earthquakes are one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. In fact, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), there are just about 20,000 earthquakes that are detected each year throughout the world. While many are such a small magnitude that you could hardly even notice them, others can cause significant destruction to your property and even threaten people’s lives. So, what is one way to protect your home or office in such an event? Install an earthquake valve? Also known as an earthquake activate gas shut-off valve, this small device is fitted onto the gas line. If there is an earthquake with a magnitude that is 5.2 or higher, the trigger mechanism of this device is then activated. This action will automatically shut off the flow of gas into your home or office and prevent an explosion.

This small, yet very important, device can function in such a way to keep your building, and everyone and all your things inside of it, safe in the event of a seismic event or other similar emergencies. When an earthquake hits, this can easily break or bust a gas line and cause severe structural damage. Shutting off the flow of gas following an earthquake can dramatically reduce the risk of a gas leak or explosion.

What are the Benefits of Installing an Earthquake Valve?

As you can probably see by now, it’s pretty valuable to have one of these devices installed at your home or commercial property if you live in an area that gets earthquakes. But in addition to this safety measure, there are additional reasons why one might want to consider installing an earthquake shut-off valve.

Here are a few more benefits to have a team of professionals come to your property and effectively install an earthquake valve:

  1. Property protection from an earthquake: a gas leak or explosion can cause significant damage to your home and threaten the health and safety of anyone who is inside. Installing an earthquake valve is the most effective, and in many cases also the most cost-effective, method you can use to eliminate these threats and keep those you care about safe and secure.
  2. Save money in the big picture: can an earthquake valve really save you money? At first, this claim seems a bit odd. But if you look at the big picture, it makes a lot more sense as to how it works. While the initial will of course come with some upfront costs, the installation can end up saving you big. How? Reducing your earthquake insurance cost from month to month can really add up over the years. On top of that, by preventing an explosion or leak, you’ll save by preventing repairs for the structural damage than can occur.
  3. Eliminate risk of human error: in the event of an earthquake or another type of major emergency, you could fail to act quickly enough. You may also fail to remember to manually shut off your gas line before evacuation. This is an easy mistake in the midst of an emergency. Having an earthquake valve installed will automatically eliminate this problem and protect you from the risk of human error.

earthquake valve

How Does an Earthquake Valve Work?

Now that you can see why these devices are so important, let’s take a deeper dive to learn how they actually work. In the beginning, the valve will be installed directly by a gas company or technician downstream of the property owner’s gas line. It’s easy to identify if you’ve had one properly installed on your line as these valves are usually a bright red color that starkly stands out from the rest of your line.

A core part of the earthquake valve is a sensor. This sensor is located right under the diaphragm of the valve and by the impulse line. In the event of an earthquake, the incoming pressure is picked up by this sensor and then when a certain threshold is crossed, the diaphragm then lifts up and pushes on a spring. When the spring then releases, the latch of the valve will pop and release. This simple action then automatically closes the gas line. This effectively shuts off the supply of gas to the building. The mechanism itself may sound and appear pretty straightforward, but it’s incredibly effective at keeping your property safe in the event of an earthquake.

Conclusion – What is an Earthquake Valve?

Without a doubt, an earthquake is one of the most terrifying and dangerous natural disasters to strike one’s home or office. Earthquakes can lead to serious structural damage. As a result, this can quickly break gas likes that cause gas leaks, fires, or even sudden explosions. To effectively protect your property, it’s all about being prepared. Installing an earthquake valve at your home or office is a critical first step. These devices can sense an earthquake and then automatically shut off the gas entering your building. This simple device can quickly protect your property and even more importantly those you love.


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