Any home with combustion-powered appliances is at risk for a gas leak. Fortunately, there are many signs that gas is leaking, so learn to spot them and know when to take action. Following are some tips for detecting and dealing with gas leaks.
Why Gas Leaks Are Dangerous
The natural gas that enters your home to fuel your furnace, water heater or range is mostly made up of methane. Odorless and tasteless, it has a sulfur-smelling substance added to it so that you can detect its presence. Although not poisonous in itself, natural gas is dangerous because it can cause suffocation in high concentrations. It’s also highly combustible and can explode in high concentrations.
Signs Your Home Has a Gas Leak
The best way to detect a gas leak is by the rotten-egg smell of the additive. Hissing around gas pipe fittings and connections is another telltale sign. Some people apply soapy water around the suspected leak to see if it bubbles — a sign of leaking gas.
Other signs include:
- Open flame from a gas pipe or appliance, ignited by a pilot light or electrical spark
- Discolored or dead vegetation, indicating an underground leak
- Dirt or dust bubbling up from under soil, also indicating a leaking pipe
Detectors are available that will alert you to the presence of gas in your home’s air.
What to Do About a Gas Leak
If you believe gas is leaking at a dangerous level in your home, clear everyone out, including pets. Inform your gas utility company, and if no one is available to come right away, call the fire department. Emergency personnel are generally trained to deal with gas leaks.
Do not turn on lights or any electronic devices. Don’t use cell phones. Don’t smoke, strike a match or use an open flame. Don’t start a vehicle if it’s near an area in which gas may be present.
For more information on gas leaks, contact us at Arpi’s Industries. We’ve served the Calgary area for more than 50 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about gas leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.
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