Gas is a safe and clean fossil fuel, and millions of homes across the country use natural gas or liquid petroleum (LP) to power their stoves, furnaces, water heaters, ovens and other appliances. But gas is also highly combustible, which means gas leaks can be very dangerous. Read more to learn what signs to look out for, how to prevent a gas leak and what to do if there is a gas leak.
How to Detect a Gas Leak in Your Home
There are several common signs of a gas leak inside a house, including:
- A rotten egg smell: Gas is naturally odorless and colorless, but for safety purposes, utility companies add a component called mercaptan that gives gas a distinct smell similar to that of rotten eggs. This scent is one of the most obvious signs of a gas leak.
- A hissing noise: Another hard-to-miss sign of a gas leak is a hissing sound from the gas line. In fact, this hissing sound usually indicates a substantial gas leak that needs to be addressed immediately.
- High gas bills: If you don’t see or smell gas but you notice that your gas bills are unusually high, it could be a sign of a gas leak.
- Dead plants: If plants inside your home or around your gas line are inexplicably dying, it could indicate a gas leak. Exposure to excessive amounts of natural gas prevents plants from getting oxygen, which causes them to die quickly.
- Health effects: Natural gas leaks can cause health effects such as flu-like symptoms, dizziness and shortness of breath. If there’s no other explanation for the symptoms or these issues disappear when you’re not in the house and reappear when you return, it could mean there’s a gas leak.
How to Prevent a Gas Leak
Gas leaks typically occur due to low-grade pipe fittings and poorly maintained or fitted appliances, from which gas can easily escape. If you invest in high-quality appliances and fittings and regularly check and clean your appliances, you can help to prevent a gas leak. Replacing old fittings and valves will also help to ensure that gas will not leak.
It’s also a good idea to have your HVAC and boiler/furnace systems regularly serviced by professionals who can quickly identify and fix any problems.
Fixing a Gas Leak in Your Home
If you’ve detected a gas leak in your home, the first thing you should do is get outside. Breathing in too much gas can deprive your body of oxygen and lead to asphyxia. Because gas is highly combustible, there’s also a risk of explosion. Once you’re far enough away from your house, call your gas company to check for leaks. Because gas leaks can be so dangerous, it’s essential that you call a professional right away rather than trying to fix the problem yourself.
At Dick Ray Master Plumber, we can provide inspections, maintenance and repair of your gas lines to make sure you’re safe from leaks. Schedule an appointment with us today for these services and more.