Gas leaks in the United States are certainly exploding: In fact, a serious gas leak occurs every 40 hours and over 120 people have died as a result in recent years.
Many American homes rely on gas for heating, and gas-powered stoves are still prevalent in older models. If you have a gas line, it is important to know how it works and what red flags to watch out for.
Have you ever wondered how to identify gas leaking in or around your residence? Here are some of the main signs of a gas leak and what to do if it happens to you.
A gas leak occurs when gas escapes from a container, usually a pipe, and causes unintended consequences. Since gas leaks usually happen quickly, you need to take action as soon as you know what is happening.
Some of the most common places for gas leaks to happen include gas pipes, gas appliances, and gas lines. However, the majority of gas leaks are a result of gas appliances, like stoves.
Propane leaks are extremely dangerous, and if you suspect you have one, you should vacate the building immediately. You should contact local emergency authorities and also the propane supplier to notify them of the leak.
You will smell a rotten egg scent or sulfur if there is a propane leak. Manufacturers use this to make leaks easily identifiable so you can handle the situation accordingly.
When you have a propane leak, there is a risk that the gas could catch fire. Do not turn on any light switches and turn off open flames to avoid accidents.
You should then check the propane tank for signs of a gas leak. You can apply a special solution to reveal leaks, then try opening the cylinder valve on the tank. Bubbles will form if there is a leak.
Depending on how severe the leak is, you may be able to get back into your home after a few minutes. Emergency services personnel or your utility company may be able to give you guidance on how long to stay away from the residence.
Carbon monoxide leaks can be some of the most deadly because carbon monoxide gas is both colorless and odorless. This means that if you have a leak, you may not even know about it until it is too late.
If you have a carbon monoxide leak in your home, it can be extremely toxic and even deadly. The best way to tell that you have this type of leak is by installing a carbon monoxide detector.
Check the carbon monoxide detector regularly and make sure that it still works. Most models will give you an alert if the battery is low so you can put in a fresh one.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in a matter of minutes or hours, so once you figure out there is a leak, it is best to get all people and pets out of the house. If you have time, open your windows to bring in fresh air with oxygen.
Natural gas is by far the most common type of gas used in American homes. Although it is generally safe to use, you should still be on the lookout for signs of a gas leak from the natural gas lines on your property.
You should look at your natural gas appliances regularly to make sure that they work properly. These can include your stove, water heater, or clothes dryer.
Similar to propane, manufacturers of natural gas put odor in the gas so you will be able to tell if there is a leak. If you smell sulfur or rotten eggs, you need to get out of the house now.
Many homes come equipped with a way for you to turn off the natural gas yourself. If you suspect a gas leak, it is best to turn it off so you do not allow more gas to come into your house.
If there is a natural gas leak, call your emergency natural gas department, or emergency services. Get out of the house quickly while the problem is resolved.
Most importantly, before you start any construction or projects that involve digging on your property, call local authorities so you do not hit gas lines when you dig. It could cause major damage if you accidentally strike a natural gas line.
Although gas leaking can cause many different symptoms in your home, there are some telltale signs to look out for. If you see any of these, you should assume there is a gas leak in your house and take appropriate action.
Normally, your pilot flame color should be a bright blue. This shows that it is working properly. Gas appliances that have pilot flames include gas stoves, water heaters, furnaces, and gas fireplaces.
If your pilot light goes out for any appliance, it could be a sign that you have a gas leak somewhere else, and the gas isn’t getting to it properly.
A yellow or orange pilot light is a sign that you have a carbon monoxide leak. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, this is a good indicator and you should pay attention to it.
Propane gas and natural gas give off a sulfur smell, or rotten eggs when there is a gas leak. This is to alert you that there is a gas leak so you can take action.
If you have an older grill, you may get a brief scent of sulfur when you turn it on if it has been a long time. However, a strong scent is a red flag, especially on a newer grill.
A gas leak in a pipe within your home may produce a hissing sound. If your appliance is off and you hear hissing, then it is a good indicator that you have gas leaking.
Once you hear the hissing sound, turn off your gas valve immediately. This will prevent the gas from flooding into your residence further.
Are you taking proper care of your plants, but you see them wilting and browning? This is a sign that gas could be infiltrating your home and your plants are not getting enough oxygen.
Even patches of dead grass or smaller plant leaves outside of your home can still indicate a gas leak.
If you notice your energy bill going up, make sure to check your gas usage. If your gas usage is relatively the same but your bill shows differently, you may have a small gas leak.
The gas bleeding out constantly over a period of time can add a significant amount to your energy bill. Once you get the gas leak repaired, you should see a reduction in your bill.
One of the easiest signs of a gas leak to identify is feeling ill or having physical symptoms. If you, household members, or pets start to show symptoms of illness, you may have a gas leak.
Some of the most obvious signs include:
If you have any of these symptoms and you have a gas leak, go to the hospital or contact health professionals as soon as possible. Even if you get away from the gas leak, the symptoms could be dangerous to your health.
If you suspect a gas leak, the best plan of action is to evacuate your home as soon as possible. This is especially important if you do not know how long you have been exposed or what type of gas is leaking into the residence.
Even if you do not think the gas leak is damaging, it is better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes the gas does not have a smell, so you may not know the extent of the toxic damage until it is too late.
Immediately contact your utility company to file a report of the leak. They will likely send out a representative to check on your gas lie and ensure it works properly.
You should also be proactive when it comes to detecting a gas leak. Regularly check the gas lines and gas appliances in your home so that you have less risk of a leak.
When you get your plumbing inspected, make sure the plumbing company pays special attention to the gas system so you can avoid problems in the future.
You should not have to live in fear of dealing with a gas leak in your home. With this guide, you can take precautions and know what to do if disaster strikes.
Want to make sure that your property is in the best shape possible? Take a look around our site or contact us today to schedule an appointment for all of your plumbing needs.