Natural gas is a popular fuel for home and water heating. Unfortunately, if you have natural gas appliances, there’s always a small risk of a gas leak—which could cause a fire or explosion if the leaked gas comes in contact with a spark. Breathing air with high concentrations of natural gas can also cause asphyxia and possibly death.
That’s why you need to take potential gas leaks very seriously. Learn what signs to watch out for and what to do if you discover your home has a gas leak.
Signs of a Natural Gas Leak
Rotten Egg Smell
While natural gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless, utility companies add a sulfur-like odor to the gas that enters your home so you have an effective way to detect a leak. If you smell rotten eggs with no apparent source, it could mean you have a gas leak.
Other Signs of Natural Gas Leak
You shouldn’t rely solely on your nose to detect a leak. You may have a diminished sense of smell, other odors could mask the rotten egg scent, or smelling the same odor for too long could desensitize you to it. Loss of odorant in the natural gas itself could also make it more difficult to sniff out.
That’s why you should watch for other signs of a natural gas leak:
- Hissing, roaring or whistling coming from a natural gas appliance
- Damaged fuel lines leading to a gas appliance
- Dead vegetation above the natural gas pipeline leading into your house
- Unusual water bubbling or soil movement on your property
- A natural gas pipeline is exposed after an earthquake, flood, fire or other disaster
What to Do If You Think Natural Gas is Leaking
If you smell rotten eggs or suspect a gas leak for another reason, follow these steps:
- Don’t do anything that could cause a spark. This includes flipping a light switch, unplugging electrical devices or using a phone (landline or cell).
- Put out anything currently burning. This includes snuffing out cigarettes and blowing out candles. Don’t light a match, stove, or cigarette lighter if you suspect a gas leak.
- Open windows and doors to let fresh air inside.
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter and keep it off until deemed safe to turn back on.
- Standing a safe distance away from your home, call 911 and your gas provider.
For more natural gas safety tips, contact UGI EnergyLink today.