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You may have seen recent news accounts regarding certain flexible gas connectors that pose a safety hazard.

Flexible gas connectors are used to bring gas from supply pipes to appliances such as stoves,dryers and room heaters.  They are made of corrugated metal tubing - newer models being fabricated from stainless steel or from brass that has been coated with plastic.  Most older connectors, however, were made from uncoated brass.

Some of the uncoated brass connectors have a serious flaw in the way they were made.  Solder was used to braze, or join, the flexible brass tubing to the end pieces.   Over time, the brazing can fail, causing a serious gas leak.  This could lead to an explosion or fire.

To our knowledge, brazed uncoated brass connectors have not been made since 1976, but we still find many of them in use.  The older these connectors get, the greater the possibility of failure.

It is very difficult to see whether a flexible connector has been brazed.  So don’t take a chance.  If you have an uncoated brass connector in your home, it should be replaced with either a new stainless steel connector or a new plastic-coated brass connector.  

In fact, it is a good practice to replace any flexible gas connector which is more than 10 years old. This is because flexible connectors are not meant to last a lifetime.  Older units can wear out from too much moving, bending or from corrosion.

If you can, check your flexible connector without moving the appliance attached to it.  If you cannot make this check without moving the appliance, we recommend that you have a service contractor inspect the connector for you.  Moving the appliance could strain the connector, possibly causing a gas leak.  So, if your appliance must be moved it is best to have a professional
on hand to do it.  There are many servicemen in the area who may be able to check your connectors and replace them, if necessary.

If a replacement is needed, make sure the new connector is certified by the American Gas Association (AGA) and conforms to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z21.24.

And remember, if you think you have a gas leak in your home - from a flexible connector or from any other source - call Salem City Hall at 618-548-2222 or the Salem Police Department during weekends and holidays at 548-2232, or in an emergency, “911”.

If the odor of gas is strong, leave immediately and make the call from a neighbor’s phone or a pay phone.  On the way out, open windows and doors and alert others to leave.  Take care not to operate appliances or turn light switches on or off.