Story starts yesterday, when I was using flexi-place to work at home before Daddy's doctor appointment. My heating/AC service company was scheduled to come Friday for a routine system check, but called yesterday, caught me at home because of the flexi-place, and asked if the tech could come immediately as he was in the area. I decided there was enough time before we had to leave for Emory, and agreed.
He came and headed for the crawlspace to check the furnace, but quickly came in to report he'd smelled gas. After some checking he found a small leak at the valve for the hot water heater. Some discussion ensued, and I finally agreed to him replacing the valve and the line which ran from the furnace to the hot water heater for a probably somewhat exorbitant charge. However, there was no time to get another opinion or bid and the prospect of no hot water was not attractive, especially with my father staying with me. It being time for the doctor's appointment, I left him to it. When we got back he was still at it, but eventually finished up and left.
I had a restless night with a stuffy nose (allergies, I hope, and not a cold), then left this morning with my father to drive him home. Got to Moultrie, had lunch at Applebee's, took Daddy and luggage home, then drove back to Atlanta. I came in and went in the study to check email, and messed around until nearly 6:30 when I finally wandered into my bedroom at the end of the house over the crawlspace....and smelled something. My nose was still unreliable, so I went next door and got sister-in-law, who said "Gas". Called Peachtree Service Company, explained the problem, and they promised to send someone. Half an hour later (spent sitting next door, after opening up the crawlspace and a door and windows in the house, and shutting off the furnace), I called to ask for an update on when the tech would be here.
"There are still 3 calls ahead of you, so it will be a while."
"Excuse me, do you understand that there's a GAS LEAK in my house, probably caused by your work yesterday?"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but that's what the dispatcher tells me. Do you want me to read you the instruction sheet for what to do if you have a gas leak?"
I refused the instructions (having already done the critical steps, and s-i-l confirmed that the smell was almost undetectable after the crawlspace had been open for 30 minutes), hung up, and called Atlanta Gas Light, the old "gas company". In these days of deregulated gas marketing in Georgia, consumers often don't have any direct contact with The Gas Company, but that's still who you call with an emergency. AGL took the address and promised to have someone there in 30 minutes to an hour. And in 40 minutes, this extremely nice AGL guy showed up and promptly found the leak at the shutoff valve. The assumption is that the Peachtree Service guy didn't tighten it completely yesterday when he turned the gas back on after replacing the line.
Helpful AGL guy then shut off the pilot light to the hot water heater and checked for any other leaks, warned me that the main shutoff valve would need replacing before too long (but not in the next day or month--just start thinking about it), discussed some of the issues with tankless water heaters when I said I might be replacing the HW heater with one, told me to get a jacket for the HW heater in the meantime for energy efficiency, and finally drove off into the night to go help the next person. No charge. OK, I'm sure that the emergency service is supported through some sort of levy on my gas bill, but there was no direct bill for him crawling around under my house after 8 PM on a very chilly night (for Atlanta), making sure my system is safe. I wish I'd thought to offer him some cookies as a small thank you, in addition to all the verbal thanks I showered on him.
After he left I cancelled the call with Peachtree Service. It was almost 9 PM. I originally called them at 6:30. They said, "Thank you for calling Peachtree Service Experts, and have a nice evening."