May 09 How Can I Tell If I Have A Gas Leak In My Home?
You know that natural gas leaks are dangerous because they can cause explosions, and you probably understand the significant health risks that carbon monoxide poisoning can pose. You’re even fully aware that several deaths and hundreds of injuries are attributed to these issues each year. But many people mistakenly think that natural gas and carbon monoxide are either the same toxic gas or that the average smoke or carbon monoxide alarm will go off in the event of a natural gas leak, when neither of these things are true.
So if you can’t rely on the alarms in your home to tell you about a natural gas leak, then how can you actually determine if one’s happening in your home? What are the telltale warning signs of a natural gas leak and how can you catch these leaks early? Finding a gas leak early allows you to call your gas company or local emergency plumber to have the issue quickly resolved. Here we point out some of the warning signs to help you identify when you have a natural gas leak in your home.
You Can Smell Gas
Natural gas is normally odorless. But gas that is delivered for use in homes has an obvious ‘rotten egg’ or sulphur smell added to aid easy detection in the case of a leak. If you smell this in your home without cause, it’s best to vacate the building, switch off the gas main if possible, and call your emergency plumber to help locate the source of the leak.
You Hear Hissing
When natural gas escapes from a faulty or broken pipe it will often make a hissing sound as it rushes through the opening. A hissing sound can be a good indicator of a natural gas leak, especially in the early stages. The louder the hiss, the bigger the leak, so if you hear anything that could indicate a natural gas leak, seek emergency assistance as soon as possible.
You Start To Feel Ill
Even if the above indications of a natural gas leak escape the attention of your other senses, your body will feel the effects of that leak after a while. If you experience a sudden bad headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and drowsiness it could be a sign of a natural gas leak.* If the symptoms resolve when outside in fresh air, this is a clearer sign of a leak indoors. Be sure to leave the building immediately and seek professional help if you even suspect a natural gas leak due to feeling short of breath or ill while inside.
You See Bubbles or Plant Movement
A natural gas leak may also occur outside the home, where they are often harder to detect because it’s harder to smell or hear gas outside. You may notice gas leaks outdoors because you see plants moving and being blown about when there’s no wind. There may be bubbling under water, such as in your pool, the gutter, or large puddles on your lawn; alternately, these normally sodden areas may suddenly have a patch of dry ground in the middle of them. You may also notice that plants die in the area around a gas leak, or a small flame is lit floating above the ground. If you notice any of these signs of an outdoor gas leak, it is essential to call your gas company or professional plumber immediately.
Your Gas Appliances Don’t Function Normally
Gas appliances functioning abnormally can be another sign of a natural gas leak. Normally, your gas appliance should have a strong blue pilot light, and crisp blue operating flame. If the flame is orange or yellow, or your pilot light keeps going out, it could be a sign of a leak.
Noticing the signs of a natural gas leak early can help to identify the source of the leak, and save your appliances, home, and even your life. If in doubt, call your local emergency plumber for a professional gas check, and gas pipe repair and replacement when necessary.
* Note that the symptoms of natural gas poisoning and carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar, and it takes less exposure to carbon monoxide to fall ill. Because of this, and because carbon monoxide is both odorless and colorless, it is important that you go outside at the first symptoms of illness even if you don’t see indicators of natural gas leak. http://ipcblog.org/2009/12/15/know-the-difference-between-carbon-monoxide-and-natural-gas/