Natural Gas is a clean, safe, and efficient source of energy used to power furnaces, clothing dryers, stoves, and other appliances in your home. Natural gas is produced from decomposed plants and animals buried under the surface of the earth. Over millions of years, heat and pressure combine to alter the decomposed matter and create gas, oil, and coal. Using natural gas to power your home is a cost-effective option but gas can be dangerous. Knowing how to detect gas leaks and how to appropriately respond to gas leaks may save your life. Gas leaks can create fires and explosions within your home. Inhaling natural gas can lead to negative physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and prolonged exposure may result in loss of consciousness or death by suffocation.
5 Signs of a Gas Leak
- One of the first indicators of a gas leak is smelling an odor similar to the scent of rotten eggs. Gas, in its natural state, is odorless but gas companies add odorants to the gas to make it more easily detectable if a leak occurs.
- Another symptom of a possible gas leak is hearing a hissing sound from your furnace or gas-powered appliances. This hissing sound may be present even after the appliances are turned off. This is caused when gas escapes through loose fittings or small holes in your pipes.
- Dead or dying houseplants, when they are properly cared for, may indicate a gas leak. When plants are exposed to natural gas the plant’s roots cannot absorb oxygen. This lack of oxygen leads to wilting leaves, yellowing plants, and eventually, if exposure is over a long period of time, to the death of the plant.
- Outside of your home, you can find clues you may have a problem with your gas line. A gas leak from underground pipes will cause standing water near the leak to bubble up as the gas rises from the ground into the air. Underground pipes are susceptible to leaking since utility companies are failing to replace old and fragile gas mains.
- When summer arrives and you are running your air conditioning, heating your swimming pool, and barbequing daily, you expect your utility bill to increase. However, when there are unexpected increases in your utility bill it may be a sign you have an undetected gas leak.
Responding to a Gas Leak
Knowing the signs of a gas leak are important but knowing how to respond appropriately could save your life and the lives of your family. If you suspect a gas leak the first step is to interrupt your gas supply by closing your shutoff valve. Do not wait until there is a gas emergency to locate your shutoff valve but learn in advance of its location. Do not use a flashlight, candle, or match to aid your search as a spark could ignite the gas causing a deadly explosion. Instead, everyone in the home should be aware of where the valve is located and how to shut it off, going as far as to keep an adjustable wrench nearby for a quick response time. Every second counts when you are responding to a gas leak. Installing individual shutoff valves at each appliance is also a smart idea.
After shutting off the gas source immediately leave your home opening doors and windows on your way out. This allows for the gas to dissipate into the outside air, thus reducing the chance of a fire breaking out or an explosion. Call 911 and your gas company to report the leak. Do not use your cell phone in the home to make this call since the static electricity can create a spark and ignite the gas. Do not return to your home until a qualified inspector determines it is safe to return.
Before You Dig
Natural gas leaks can inadvertently be caused by unaware homeowners who may be digging in their yards. It is imperative to call your gas company three or more days before digging to allow them to locate and mark your gas line as well as other hidden utilities. This will prevent you from damaging underground utilities and help keep you safe.
Natural gas is an efficient choice for keeping your home comfortable and safe. Following these early detection tips and knowing how to properly respond to gas emergencies can mean the difference between life and death for you and your family. Think you have a gas leak in Orange County? We are the gas line plumber who can identify your gas leaks and get them fixed immediately! Contact us today for any of your gas leak or gas line needs!