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Excess Flow Valve Frequently Asked Questions

What is an excess flow valve?
How does an excess flow valve work?
Will an excess flow valve protect against all types of leaks?
Will an excess flow valve stop or reduce the flow of natural gas inside my home?
What should I do if I smell natural gas?
Why is Piedmont offering customers the option to install excess flow valves?
Who installs the excess flow valve?
Who pays for the installation of the excess flow valve?
How much does it cost to install an excess flow valve?
Can I spread out my payments in installments for the excess flow valve?
Can I add the cost of the excess flow valve to my bill?
Where does the excess flow valve get installed?
Can my plumber install the excess flow valve?
How do I know if an excess flow valve can be installed at my property?
How long will the excess flow valve last?
Can I take the excess flow valve with me if I move?
Will the installation of an excess flow valve affect my monthly bill?
Who should I contact to request an excess flow valve installation estimate?
How long do I have to decide whether or not I want to have an excess flow valve installed at my property?
Will my property and landscaping be disturbed during installation?
Will my gas supply be shut off during the installation?
How will the installation of an excess flow valve take place?
What should property owners do if a contractor or installer shows up with a backhoe and starts digging on their property without calling 811?


Q: What is an excess flow valve?
A: An excess flow valve is a mechanical safety device that may be installed on a natural gas service line, and is designed to automatically shut off the flow of natural gas in the service line in the event of a significant break, puncture or severance in the line.

Q: How does an excess flow valve work?
A: An excess flow valve operates similar to electrical circuit breakers that trip when the electricity current exceeds its limit. The excess flow valve is tripped by an excess flow of gas, causing a spring loaded device inside the valve to automatically restrict the flow of gas. The valve automatically resets or reopens when the excess flow of gas has ceased or service line gas pressure is significantly reduced.

Q: Will an excess flow valve protect against all types of leaks?
A: No. An excess flow valve does not protect against small leaks on the service line or gas meter or leaks beyond the meter assembly, such as those involving a customer’s house piping or customer appliance malfunction. It is designed to activate when the service line is significantly damaged due to excavation or other similar activities. Prevention of service line damage remains the best form of protection and all customers can place a free 811 call to have buried utilities marked before digging.

Q: Will an excess flow valve stop or reduce the flow of natural gas inside my home?
A: An excess flow valve is designed to allow normal operation of the service line. It will automatically restrict the flow of natural gas only when the service line has been significantly damaged and the flow of natural gas exceeds prescribed limits. An excess flow valve is not designed nor capable of restricting the flow of natural gas inside your home or structure in the event of damage to your house piping located downstream of the gas meter.

Q: What should I do if I smell natural gas?
A: Leave the area immediately and call 911 and Piedmont at 1.800.752.7504 (call from a neighbor’s house or from another location far from the smell of natural gas)
  • DO NOT use anything electrical that may create a spark; this includes cell   phones
  • DO NOT operate any light switches
  • DO NOT light a match
  • DO NOT attempt to locate the source of a leak
  • DO NOT attempt to stop a leak
  • DO NOT return to the area until Piedmont Natural Gas or the emergency services have declared the area safe
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Q: Why is Piedmont offering customers the option to install excess flow valves?
A: Federal regulations require that existing customers receive notice of their option to request the installation of an excess flow valve on qualifying service lines.

Q: Who installs the excess flow valve?
A: For qualifying service lines, Piedmont or one of its approved contractors will install the excess flow valve.

Q: Who pays for the installation of the excess flow valve?
A: The cost of installing an excess flow valve on an existing natural gas service line will be the sole responsibility of the customer requesting the installation.

Q: How much does it cost to install an excess flow valve?
A: The cost to install an excess flow valve varies depending on the location and difficulty of the installation; however, on average, the cost to install an excess flow valve on an eligible existing service line is estimated to be in excess of $1,000.

Q: Can I spread out my payments in installments for the excess flow valve?
A: No. A deposit in the full amount of the cost estimate will be required prior to the start of the excess flow valve installation work.

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Q: Can I add the cost of the excess flow valve to my bill?
A: No. The cost to install the excess flow valve must be billed separately and cannot be included on your normal monthly bill.

Q: Where does the excess flow valve get installed?
A: The excess flow valve is installed on the natural gas service line that runs underground between the gas main (usually located in or near the street, alley or utility right-of-way) and the gas meter on the customer’s property. Installation of an excess flow valve requires excavation near the natural gas main to expose the service line prior to installation. All areas excavated will be restored once installation is complete.

Q: Can my plumber install the excess flow valve?
A: No. Only Piedmont or its approved contractor can do the installation.

Q: How do I know if an excess flow valve can be installed at my property?
A: Piedmont will send out a representative to your property to determine if an excess flow valve can be installed. Due to operating characteristics and limitations in some instances, an excess flow valve cannot be installed. Each customer location will be evaluated upon request.

Q: How long will the excess flow valve last?
A: The device is designed to last the lifetime of the natural gas line. However, if your natural gas service line is replaced in connection with overall system maintenance activities, the excess flow valve will also be replaced.

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Q: Can I take the excess flow valve with me if I move?
A: No. Once installed, the excess flow valve becomes part of Piedmont’s natural gas distribution system and it cannot be removed.

Q: Will the installation of an excess flow valve affect my monthly bill?
A: No. Installing an excess flow valve will neither increase nor decrease a customer’s natural gas usage.

Q: Who should I contact to request an excess flow valve installation estimate?
A: Call Piedmont at 1-800-752-7504.

Q: How long do I have to decide whether or not I want to have an excess flow valve installed at my property?
A: You may request to have an excess flow valve installed at your expense at any time.

Q: Will my property and landscaping be disturbed during installation?
A: Installation of an excess flow valve requires digging so that the service line is exposed prior to installation. Piedmont or its contractor will restore property to its original condition, to the extent reasonably practicable, as part of the overall project cost.

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Q: Will my gas supply be shut off during the installation?
A: Yes. Installation of the excess flow valve will require us to temporarily shut off the gas supply to your property. As part of the installation process, your existing houseline piping must be retested and appliance pilots will be re-lit if your houseline piping and appliances are operating normally. If the houseline test fails or appliances do not pass inspection, you will be responsible for repairs before natural gas service can be fully restored.

Q: How will the installation of an excess flow valve take place?
A: Installation of the excess flow valve will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date, subject to approval from permitting authorities, payment arrangements, work crew scheduling and weather conditions. The length of time to install will vary based on the complexity of the installation.

Q: What should property owners do if a contractor or installer shows up with a backhoe and starts digging on their property without calling 811?
A: If someone has hired a contractor to do work that requires excavation, they should call 811 themselves or ask the contractor to do so before work begins. Property owners who see someone preparing to dig on their property and don’t see paint lines or flags marking the location of underground utilities, should tell the workers to STOP and call 811 before they dig.

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