Most American houses have one or two natural gas-powered appliances that provide warm air or hot water. Natural gas is both safe and convenient when installed and utilized correctly. However, gas leaks can happen. These leaks can lead to physical symptoms in people and animals, and in some situations can be a driver for carbon monoxide poisoning.
It’s critical to understand the causes of leaks and how to prevent them to protect your family and friends from the hazardous symptoms of a gas leak.
What is a Natural Gas Leak?
When properly built and used, natural gas is both safe and convenient. When gas leaks do occur, however, people and animals are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Natural gas is also extremely flammable, therefore if there are any leaks, the risk of fire and explosion is greatly increased.
A gas leak can occur when the natural gas that flows through a gas line or any gas-burning appliance in your home springs a leak.
Common Uses for Natural Gas in Homes
Natural gas was used in 58 percent of households in 2015 and 44 percent of residential energy consumption in 2019, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Natural gas has been used to heat homes for centuries, but what other residential uses does natural gas offer today? We can use natural gas because of current technology and the overall affordability of natural gas pricing.
Here are some of the gas appliances in your home that help you save money on your energy bill:
- Heating and cooling
- Stoves and ovens
- Laundry dryers
- Barbeque Grills and Fire Pits
Causes of Natural Gas Leak
Being precautious in the case of a gas leak is critical. Keep a watchful eye out for these signs to prevent a gas leak.
- Poor Ventilation: Carbon monoxide can be emitted from appliances in your home. Typically, it’s appliances that generate a lot of heat. Make sure to regularly monitor carbon monoxide levels in your home.
- Pipe Corrosion: Poor piping or, just time can cause your pipes to be faulty. As a result, your pipes may begin to corrode and wear out. This can cause gas to slowly begin to seep into your home.
- Everyday Appliances: Over time the seals in appliances in your home start to wear out and corrode. These can easily cause gas leaks in your home.
Physical Gas Leak Symptoms
Early detection is crucial in the case of a gas leak. Pay attention to any potential physical signs and seek medical attention when necessary. Symptoms of a gas leak will become hazardous or fatal if the problem is not treated, regardless of your age or physical condition. You may notice these physical symptoms if there is a gas leak:
- Chest pains
- Loss of muscle control
- Breathing problems
- Red lips and pink skin
Gas Leak Signs in the Home
Depending on the size of the gas leak, you may or may not notice a smell or other physical signs. That’s why having a system in your home that can detect them even before you can help tremendously in keeping your home safe. However, you may notice these signs if there is a gas leak:
- Dead Houseplants: Plants that are dead, withered, and stunted inside or outside your home may indicate a natural gas leak.
- Hissing Sounds: Examine your pipes and appliances. Even if household appliances are switched off, gas leaks in pipes or appliances might cause hissing noises.
- Rotten Egg Smells: A natural gas leak will emit odors resembling sulfur or rotten egg. The stronger this smell, the more likely your home has sprung a leak.
- Air Bubbles outside Your Home: Outside the residence, natural gas leaks can occur in underground piping. If you notice bubbles in standing water, such as puddles or soil, natural gas may be dispersing through the ground and into the atmosphere.
What to Do if You Suspect a Leak
In the event that you suspect a gas leak has occurred in your home, these are the necessary steps you should take in order to avoid sickness and/or an explosion.
- Pay attention to your symptoms: Be aware of how you feel when leaving your house and returning. If a headache develops when you’re back in your home, this may be a sign of a natural gas leak.
- Open all doors and windows to air out your home: In the case of a natural gas leak, allowing the gas to vent outdoors is helpful
- Exit your home: If you are experiencing gas leak symptoms, the best thing to do is to evacuate your home. If you need to contact inspectors or your gas company, make sure to do this outside your home as the phone call can ignite the gas.
- Contact your gas company: Your gas company will give you further instructions on how to handle the natural gas leak and often will advise you to turn off the gas pilot light if a strong odor is noticed.
- Contact a certified inspector: Do not attempt to repair a fracture or hole in your gas line without the assistance of an HVAC specialist, as this can be even more dangerous.
What NOT to Do in the Case of a Gas Leak
If you see signs of a gas leak or suspect one, make sure you don’t try to do the following:
- Use a phone inside the home
- Look for the source of the leak
- Attempt to repair the leak
- Turn on any electrical switches, lights, or appliances on or off
- Use lighters, candles, matches, or other ignition sources
- Open your garage door
- Smoke, or make a spark/flame
- Keep doors and windows closed
- Allow the situation to go unreported
Ways to Prevent Gas Leak in Your Home
There are a few things you can do to help prevent a gas leak from happening in your home in the first place including:
- Purchasing carbon monoxide detectors: Installing a carbon monoxide detector near each bedroom in your home is the best method to avoid deadly gas leak symptoms. This device will make a loud noise if it detects carbon monoxide in the air. We recommend testing your carbon monoxide detectors 2 to 3 times a year to guarantee they are functioning properly.
- Following usage instructions for your appliances: We recommend reading the instructions that came with your appliances to ensure you are operating them correctly to avoid the severe symptoms of gas leaks. You might not want to use a gas space heater without opening the doors or windows in your room, for example. Additionally, consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine how frequently a tune-up or maintenance visit should be scheduled.
- Scheduling regular inspections: Hire a certified professional that can annually inspect your ventilation system, flues, chimney, and furnace. The inspector should be able to locate any gas leak symptoms that are occurring inside as well as outdoor pipelines.
Help Protect Your Home From Gas Leaks With SafeStreets
Take the first step in helping protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Listed below are the key reasons why SafeStreets provides the best technology with their Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
- SafeStreet’s detectors provide 24/7 monitoring and will notify you right when a gas leak is detected.
- SafeStreet’s detectors are also able to detect at the lowest level before you might suspect a leak.
- SafeStreet’s detectors are tamper-resistant. If a carbon monoxide detector is taken off its base or its battery levels are low, your control panel will alert you.
While a natural gas leak is rare, in the event they do happen, can be very harmful. Ensure that you have taken precautionary steps and contact a certified inspector immediately in case you notice signs of a gas leak in the home and experience physical symptoms.
A certified professional can help you make the right choice. Contact a SafeStreets professional today and receive a free quote.