CALL BEFORE YOU DIG 1.866.313.3030

GENERAL INQUIRIES 1.877.836.7427

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Natural Gas Safety

Natural gas is colourless, odourless, and non-poisonous. To keep you and your family safe, a rotten egg smell is added to natural gas so any leaks can be easily identified. Heritage Gas provides a toll-free, 24/7 emergency telephone service for customers and the public. The number is 1-866-313-3030.
 
Call Heritage Gas immediately if you:

  • Smell gas (inside or outside).
  • Hear blowing gas.
  • Have a broken gas pipe or meter.
  • Suspect carbon monoxide in your home or business.
  • Have a loss of gas supply.

What to do if you smell natural gas?

If you smell natural gas inside your home or business:

  • Call Heritage Gas immediately at 1-866-313-3030.
  • Open doors and windows for ventilation.

If the smell of natural gas gets stronger or is accompanied by a hissing sound:

  • Leave the building immediately, leave doors and windows open.
  • Once you are a safe distance away from your property, call Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030.

If you smell natural gas outside your home or business:

  • Call Heritage Gas immediately at 1-866-313-3030.
  • Stay clear of the area. If inside, keep your doors and windows closed.
  • Do not use open flames.

If you suspect you are near a gas leak:

  • Do not use a landline telephone – leave the area before calling Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030.
  • Do not turn on any electrical or appliance switches (i.e. light switches).
  • Do not start any vehicles.
  • Do not smoke or use lighters.

Click here for more information on what to do if you smell gas.

Natural Gas Safety Videos

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Who We Are

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Nature of Natural Gas

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Committed to You

 

 

 

 

 


Call Before You Dig – 1-866-313-3030

Natural gas pipelines are buried underground, so it’s easy to forget that gas is flowing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 
Each year, underground infrastructure such as natural gas lines, are jeopardized or damaged because of the failure to take a simple but important safety step before starting an excavation project.
 
Heritage Gas and other underground utilities are encouraging homeowners and contractors to ‘Call Before You Dig’ for locates to identify physical assets underground. Doing so can prevent injuries, avoid property damage and reduce the inconvenience of outages.
 
Heritage Gas would like to remind everyone to use safe digging practices and to always Call Before You Dig prior to starting any outdoor excavation.
 
One free, easy call gets natural gas lines marked out in your work area and helps you:

  • Protect your employees.
  • Protect the public.
  • Avoid the cost of repairing underground lines.

Are you:

Planning landscaping or construction? Installing a new fence, porch, or any temporary structure? Building an addition to your home? If you are, then call Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030 and within 48 hours, we will locate any natural gas lines on or around your property. This is a free service provided by Heritage Gas to ensure your safety at all times.
 

Heritage Gas’ Natural Gas Line Locates:

  • Expire after 14 days
    • During construction season, we are continually installing new mains and services.
    • Please phone 1-866-313-3030 to have your locate request renewed.
  • Good ONLY for the work area indicated on the locate.
    • The work area you have indicated will be clearly marked.
    • If your work area changes, please phone 1-866-313-3030 for a new locate.
  • Good ONLY for the type of work indicated on the locate form.
     

    Note: Calling for locates before undertaking any excavation work is a legal requirement of:

    • Nova Scotia Occupational Health & Safety Regulations.
    • Nova Scotia Pipeline Regulations.
    Damaging underground natural gas pipelines can have serious consequences, such as:

    • Personal injury.
    • Potential legal action.
    • Expensive repair costs.
    • Interruption of gas service to you and others.

    Call Before You Dig Videos

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    Call Before You Dig

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    The Call Before You Dig Process

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    Digging Near Natural Gas Lines

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    Emergency Situations

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Click here for tips on how to dig safely around our natural gas lines.


    Natural Gas 101

    Properties of Natural Gas

    • Colourless – you cannot see natural gas.
    • Odourless – you cannot smell natural gas. A rotten egg smell (Mercaptan) is added so it can easily be detected.
    • Non-toxic & non-corrosive – natural gas is not poisonous.
    • Natural gas is lighter than air – it will rise and dissipate in the event of a leak. On the other hand, propane is heavier than air – it will settle and pool near the ground in the event of a leak.
    • The main component of natural gas is methane (CH4).
    • The Natural Gas Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can be found here.

    Carbon Monoxide

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is also a colourless, odourless gas. However, CO can be extremely poisonous. CO is produced by the improper combustion of burning fuels – including wood, heating oil, propane, natural gas, and many others.

    To limit the risk of CO exposure:

    • Install CO alarms on every floor of your home or business.
    • Have your heating system, appliances, chimneys and vents inspected and serviced annually by a qualified technician, such as one of our Authorized Dealers.
    • Maintain good air supply and ventilation to all fuel-burning equipment.
    • Don’t run your vehicle inside an enclosed space (i.e. attached garage).
    • Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning in yourself or others.

    Symptoms of CO exposure:

    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Drowsiness or fatigue
    • Burning eyes
    • Unconsciousness
    • Confusion

    If you or someone else is experiencing any of these symptoms, remove individuals from the affected area and call 911.

    If your CO alarm sounds:

    • Open windows and doors to ventilate your home or business.
    • Verify if anyone has symptoms of CO exposure. If they do, leave the area immediately, call 911, and call Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030.
    • If you cannot determine the cause of the alarm, check the batteries in the detector, and check for fumes coming from a fuel-burning source (i.e. fireplace, wood stove, etc.).
    • If the alarm continues to sound but no one is experiencing any symptoms of CO exposure, open windows and doors, leave the area, and call Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030.

    What to do to prevent CO buildup in your home:

    • Install CO alarms on every floor of your home or business.
    • Have your heating system, appliances, chimneys and vents inspected and serviced annually by a qualified technician, such as one of our Authorized Dealers.
    • Make sure appliances are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local Fuels Safety regulations.
    • Never use portable, fuel-burning camping equipment such as a propane or butane stove inside an enclosed space.
    • Never use gas appliances to primarily heat your home, such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers.
    • Do not use gasoline-powered tools or engines indoors.
    • Never store anything near a gas appliance which may interfere with the appliance’s normal airflow.

    Customer Responsibilities

    Call Before You Dig

    Are you planning landscaping or construction? Installing a new fence, porch, or any temporary structure? Building an addition to your home? If you are, then call Heritage Gas at 1-866-313-3030 and within 48 hours, we will locate any natural gas lines on or around your property. This is a free service provided by Heritage Gas to ensure your safety at all times.
     

    Taking Care of your Natural Gas Meter

    Meter access

    Natural gas meters cannot be enclosed in a garage, inside a building, under decks/patios, or enclosed in any kind of construction apparatus that makes the meter inaccessible to Heritage Gas employees or emergency responders.

    Meter protection

    Any natural gas meter located in vehicle-accessible areas, such as on or along a wall adjacent to a road, driveway, or parking area, must be adequately protected by bollards, concrete barriers, or other suitable protection. Bollards are steel posts that are installed in the ground and filled with concrete, thereby preventing the meter from being struck and/or damaged by a vehicle.

    If your property conditions have changed since our natural gas meter was installed and you think you require bollard protection placement or design, please contact us at 1-866-313-3030.

    During the winter

    It is important to properly protect your natural gas meter, piping, and appliance vents from snow/ice buildup. Doing so helps prevent the following:

    • Interruption of your natural gas supply.
    • Substandard appliance performance.
    • The development of a hazardous situation.

    Important Guidelines:

    • Maintain a clear path to your gas meter and ensure your pressure regulator, gas piping, and appliance vents are free of snow/ice.
    • Do not use sharp objects, heavy force, or hot water to remove snow/ice buildup from your gas meter, piping, or vents.
    • Gently clear snow/ice from your meter using a broom or soft brush.
    • Ensure snow removal contractors know the location of your gas meter, piping, and appliance vents.
    • Prevent water from dripping on your gas meter and appliance vents by repairing leaky seams in eaves, troughs, or downspouts.

    If you suspect a problem or need assistance removing snow/ice buildup, please call us at 1-866-313-3030.

    Click here for winter safety tips.

    Appliance safety

    Operation of appliances

    All natural gas-fired equipment must:

    • Be installed by a technician that is licensed and certified through the Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Workforce Development – Fuels Safety Division, such as one of our Authorized Dealers.
    • Have an installation permit.
    • Have a visible, green tag – signed by the licensed installation technician.
    • All natural gas appliances must be certified for use with gas and should carry the logo of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or another Canadian certification. These logos can be found on the rating plate of your natural gas appliance.
    • Regular inspection of your appliances by a licensed heating contractor helps detect any deterioration of your equipment. Contact your heating contractor to arrange for regular inspections and maintenance of your natural gas appliance(s).
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    Emergency shut off

    If an emergency occurs, you can shut off gas flow to your appliances. Each gas appliance has a shut-off valve where the appliance piping connects to the gas line. If you are comfortable doing so, shut off the appliance valve and contact us at 1-866-313-3030.

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    Natural gas-fired equipment in the kitchen

    • Flammable items such as paper towels, clothing, electrical cords, and curtains should be kept away from gas range burners.
    • Make a point to teach children not to turn on gas range knobs.
    • Clean your stove top regularly to keep grease from building up and creating a fire hazard.
    • Store an all-purpose (ABC) fire extinguisher in a handy location. If you do need to use it, aim for the base of the fire.
    • If the gas flame goes out on your range, turn the burner off, wait a few minutes for gas to dissipate, and then re-light the burner.

    Furnaces, boilers, and water heaters

    • Taking care of your natural gas-fired equipment is important.
    • Have a licensed professional inspect your heating equipment annually to help maximize its life and performance.
    • Clean or replace your filter regularly, or after periods of heavy usage (i.e. after the winter heating season).
    • Do not store combustible materials – such as paints, solvents, or gasoline – in the same room or near your heating equipment.
    • Do not store flammable materials – such as mops, brooms, laundry, or newspapers – near your heating equipment.

    Venting gas appliances

    • For your safety, operate appliances in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • By law, gas and electric clothes dryers must be vented to the outside. This prevents moisture and lint accumulation which may cause a fire hazard.
    • Check your vent or chimney to ensure they are clear of debris, tight, and not blocked.
    • If you smell any natural gas odour (rotten egg smell), contact us immediately at 1-866-313-3030.

    Distribution Safety and Reliability

    Emergency Response

    Heritage Gas has trained technicians on-call, 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Please call 1-866-313-3030 to report an emergency.
     

    Damage Prevention

    Locate requests

    Each year Heritage Gas responds to over 10,000 locate requests per year. And this number grows each year thanks to the contractor community ensuring they Call Before you Dig.

    Public awareness

    Heritage Gas is continually working on promoting public awareness and education about the safe use of natural gas and the safety measures required when working around the natural gas distribution system.
     
    We are committed to communicating and educating homeowners, customers and stakeholders to continually promote safe digging practices. Some of these initiatives include Natural Gas Awareness Bulletins, natural gas training, radio/print advertising, and sponsorship of trade shows & local events.
     
    The Latest Natural Gas Awareness Bulletin can be found here.

    Contractor training

    Heritage Gas offers Contractor training sessions (free of charge) which provide information on the following topics:

    • Introduction to natural gas.
    • Natural gas pipelines and facilities.
    • Call Before You Dig process.
    • Emergency situations.

    If you would like more information on any of the items above, or would like to request a training session for your employees, please contact Chris MacAulay at (902) 466-1678.

    Safe and Reliable Distribution System Initiatives

    We are committed to the safety of the communities in which we serve and are working everyday to maintain a safe & reliable distribution system throughout Nova Scotia.
     
    By regularly monitoring and inspecting our networks of gas pipelines, we are able to identify and address concerns before they become a problem.
     

    Leak surveys

    On a regular basis, a leak survey is completed on all of our pipelines. Operation Technicians will walk, or in some remote locations, slowly drive along all of our underground pipelines using leak detection equipment and visually inspect ground conditions for any indications of a leak in our pipeline system.

    Cathodic protection

    All metallic structures, above-ground facilities, and underground facilities are coated and have cathodic protection systems in place during the life of the system. We provide cathodic protection using sacrificial galvanic magnesium anodes on all steel pipelines and copper tracer wire on all of our polyethylene pipeline systems.
     
    We complete regular cathodic protection tests throughout our system to ensure there is sufficient protection at all times on our entire system.

    Meter sampling program

    We only use Measurement Canada approved natural gas meters. The Electricity and Gas Inspection Act states that any equipment used for measuring gas consumption must meet stringent requirements.
     
    Each of our meters must be verified and sealed before they can be installed. In-service meters are periodically checked by Measurement Canada or by an accredited organization to ensure their accuracy is maintained. Gas meters are subject to mandatory inspection frequencies through a sampling program.
     
    If you suspect there may be an issue with the accuracy of your natural gas meter, please contact us at 1-866-313-3030.

    Odourization

    Mercaptan is a sulfur-based odourant which has a rotten egg/skunk smell and is added in small quantities to natural gas to provide an early warning sign in the event of a leak. Every week, Heritage Gas performs and records odorant intensity tests at various locations throughout its distribution system to make sure gas is readily detectable by a person with a normal sense of smell.

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