How to Check for a Natural Gas Leak

Many homes and businesses use natural gas for heating, to warm our water, and cook food. With appliances running on natural gas, leaks may sometimes happen and repairs may be needed. 

Find out how to check for gas leaks and what symptoms to watch out for if you think that you are experiencing a natural gas leak in your home.

Checking for Gas Leak Symptoms

Natural gas leakage can be potentially harmful. Knowing and recognizing the symptoms of a gas leak is an important part of correcting the issue and keeping your family safe.

You may notice the following if you have a gas leak in your home:

  • Smell of Sulfur
    Natural gas is odorless so utility companies add a chemical called mercaptan to help detect a leak.

    If you think that there is a natural gas leak in your home, look out for the smell of rotten eggs or sulfur. 
  • Hissing Sound
    Depending on where you have a leak, you may also hear a faint whistling or hissing sound coming from your gas line.
  • Bubbles Forming in Suspected Area
    A reliable DIY way of confirming if you have a leak is rubbing a mixture of soap and water on the suspected area where the leak is.

    Gas escaping would cause bubbles to appear, signaling that you most likely have a gas leak. 
  • Dust Blown Around in Suspected Area
    Another way to tell if you have a gas leak is to note if dust or debris is being blown around the area of your gas line due to a leak.
  • Natural Gas Detector
    The sure fire way of detecting if there is a gas leak in your home is to purchase a gas detector. These handy devices will alert you if it detects methane (natural gas) or propane gas in the air.

Gas Leak Health Concerns

Natural gas is considered an asphyxiant and when it leaks out into the air in an enclosed space, it displaces oxygen. The lack of oxygen may cause hypoxia.

If you or your family feel sudden and unexplained symptoms, there may be a gas leak in your home.

Physical Symptoms

Look out for the following physical symptoms of a natural gas leak:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Headaches
  • Depression or other mood changes
  • Nausea

High levels of natural gas in the air has caused death in some pets. Pet owners should take care to note any changes in mood and behavior from their pets. Look out for signs of:

  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is released into the air if natural gas burns incompletely. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to similar symptoms as those caused by natural gas leakage in the air.

As carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Chest pain
  • Vision problems
  • Bright red lips and skin turning pink

What to Do In the Event of a Gas Leak?

Make sure that any electrical appliances are turned off, make sure pilot lights are turned off, and leave the house immediately. When you are in a safe location, call the emergency number of your provider so that repairs can be initiated as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the leak, it may also be appropriate to call 911.

Take note of the symptoms you and your family may be exhibiting and go to a hospital emergency room to receive treatment immediately.

 

Wait until a certified inspector notifies you that it is safe to head back inside your home. Certified inspectors will check for other leaks and inspect the gas line to make sure there aren’t any additional faults that can cause further damage later on.

Gas Leak Prevention

You and your family can prevent natural gas leaks by taking the following steps:

  • Regular Inspections
    Inspections should be scheduled every year to make sure gas burning appliances and pipes are in good working condition.
  • Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    These detectors will alert you if it senses carbon monoxide in the air.
  • Keep a Fire Extinguisher On Site
    Keep a fire extinguisher in your home so you can act quickly in case of an emergency situation.

As natural gas leakage can lead to asphyxiation, it is imperative that it is detected early and repaired immediately. 


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