23 Jan Health Symptoms of a Gas Leak in your Home
Many homes use natural gas for heat, hot water, and other home appliances. Natural gas is necessary for the function of many homes, but it can become dangerous if it leaks into your home. The health effects of a natural gas leak can be unnoticed at first, but may severely impact your health over time. Here we look at the symptoms to watch out for when it comes to natural gas leaks.
Do you Have a Natural Gas Leak?
Natural gas has no smell, which means a small leak can be almost impossible to detect. Detection is even more challenging because natural gas can leak without any other apparent signs. A leak often makes no sound, and there may not be any visible sign of damage (as leaks can happen from a tiny hole).
Utility companies do add a chemical, called mercaptan, to natural gas to help you detect it if it is leaking into your home. Mercaptan is a harmless gas with a smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. The scent helps to reveal that there is a gas leak, however, if the leak is very small you may not notice any change in smell. Instead, you may slowly develop health symptoms that warn of a problem.
The Dangers of Natural Gas Leaks
If you have a natural gas leak in your home, you could experience the following health symptoms:
These symptoms, when caused by a natural gas leak, will go away quickly once you leave the house and begin breathing clean air. If you suddenly experience any of these symptoms, get yourself, other people, and pets out of the house quickly to protect against more severe health effects. If you’ve noticed these symptoms appearing subtly over sometime, it’s worthwhile having a plumber visit your home to check for gas leaks, while also following up with your doctor.
Another Concern – Carbon Monoxide
While you might most often be concerned about the risk of natural gas leaks in your home, carbon monoxide leaks are another significant concern. Carbon monoxide inhalation can cause severe health symptoms and even death when exposure is high enough.
Carbon monoxide is typically produced by the burning of natural gas and other petroleum products, especially when the burning is incomplete. In a home, carbon monoxide is not usually a problem when there is adequate ventilation. However, if there is a problem with the ventilation (such as a blockage or crack in the vent), the gas can seep back into the living areas of the home. This can then cause severe health problems and even death.
If you have a carbon monoxide leak, the health symptoms will usually be worse and longer lasting:
Nausea and dizziness
Chest or stomach pains
Loss of muscle control
Loss of consciousness
Like natural gas, carbon monoxide is naturally odorless. Unlike natural gas, a carbon monoxide gas leak does not include any rotten egg smell. If you or someone else in your house experiences any of the above symptoms, have everyone leave the house immediately and seek medical attention. A qualified plumber can also check your home for carbon monoxide, and advise on how to minimize the risk of exposure to this dangerous gas.
Because natural gas and carbon monoxide leaks are so dangerous to your safety and the safety of your home, you should have your systems regularly inspected by a professional plumber. Advanced Plumbing and Rooter can review and maintain your gas system to ensure optimum safety, health and wellbeing for your home and family.