In the U.S., about half of all homes use natural gas for heating, cooking, and drying clothes, according to the Energy Industries Association. This energy source is safe if your appliances are properly installed and maintained. If not, there’s a risk of gas leaks that can lead to deadly explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s therefore very important to know the gas leak detection methods that can save your home and your life.
If you suspect a gas leak, here are ways to inspect your home for the source of such potential trouble:
You are essentially smelling for mercaptan, an additive gas companies use to make natural gas detectable. Otherwise, it does not have an odor of its own. The smell is similar to that of sulfur. As soon as you detect this odor, leave your home; then call 911 and contact your gas company or NexGen right away to have your gas line turned off. A technician will then find the source of the problem and fix it.
When the burner in a gas stove turns on, the flame should be blue. An orange or red flame is an indication of a gas leak. It means gas is present and is consuming oxygen. This same gas is likely elsewhere and putting your entire family in danger.
Whistling or hissing sounds mean there’s a serious gas leak. It’s important to note the source of the noise. If an air conditioner is hissing, a damaged valve, refrigerant line, or compressor may be to blame. Upon hearing evidence of a gas line leak, evacuate your home and call for help immediately.
Outdoor gas lines can leak too. If so, you may not notice any issues in your home, except for gas-using appliances not working right. Check near gas lines for hissing sounds, bubbling water (if there’s a puddle, pond, creek, or river), or patches of dead grass or vegetation. Also, look for blowing dirt or leaves around a pipeline. If you see flames rising from the ground or something above the ground burning, that’s a sure sign of trouble.
Mix a teaspoon of dish detergent into a cup of water and apply the solution to where you think the leak may be. Gas leaks often occur at connection and junction points. If gas is escaping, then you will see bubbles in the liquid you place on the surface.
Gas leak detectors are designed to find propane, natural gas, methane, and other combustible gases in the air. There are portable, extension, and plug-in types. Portable units can help find the source of a leak, while fixed devices can be installed in, for example, the kitchen for constant monitoring.
No matter what, don’t go back into the building to open the doors and windows. If gas is present, smoking, operating a vehicle or power tools/equipment, or using lighters, outlets, switches, and even doorbells or phones (including cellular) can put you in danger. Elevators, appliances, garage door openers, lamps, and other electrical devices should not be used. Never try to restart the pilot light.
The only thing you should do is get outside and call 911 or your local gas utility/repair company; do not go back inside until a technician or inspector gives the all-clear.
If you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, you may experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, headache, eye or throat irritation, nausea, or reduced appetite. Changes in mood, such as depression or irritability, can occur as well. You may also notice ringing in your ears or frequent nosebleeds if carbon monoxide is present.
Our technicians have the training, expertise, and equipment to detect and locate gas leaks. Available 24/7, we can quickly make repairs and stop the leak, often using non-invasive techniques. To request help from our leak detection and repair professionals, call 833-729-9735 now.