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What are the Signs of a Gas Leak?

Gas leaks are a terrifying experience to consider, but knowing the warning signs can be life-saving. Even if you take excellent care of your home, gas leaks can still happen to anyone. In addition to installing and maintaining a carbon monoxide detector, here are some signs of a gas leak you'll want to know.

Is Natural Gas Safe in the Home?

In the right circumstances, natural gas can be a safe, reliable source of electricity. Despite being a greener option than other fossil fuels, natural gas produces some greenhouse gases during combustion. Check out gas vs. wood burning fireplaces or electric versus gas water heaters to see if gas is right for your home.

Natural gas, however, is flammable. Inhaling natural gas can cause natural gas poisoning and can cause fires in a house. It is critical to manage natural gas exposure with the same caution that is required for electricity, gasoline, and other potentially dangerous energy sources.

Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

  • Rotten Egg Smell. Gas companies infuse their supply with mercaptan, so homeowners can be alerted to a leak. Naturally odorless, gas leaks would be undetectable if it weren't for the foul smell the additive emits. Often compared to "rotten eggs," the smell of a gas leak is impossible to miss, and it's a clear sign that you need to evacuate the property and call your gas company immediately.

  • Feeling Sick. A gas leak will cause physical side-effects. Get out of the house immediately if you or your family members start to experience the following:
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Trouble breathing
    • Tiredness and drowsiness
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Dizziness
    • Ringing ears
    • Chest pain
  • Hearing a humming sound. It may be possible for large leaks of gas to cause hissing even when gas appliances or pipes are off. Regularly listen for hissing sounds on pipes and appliances.

  • Your home is surrounded by air bubbles. Underground pipes can also leak natural gas. When bubbles appear in standing water, such as puddles and mud, it could be that natural gas is dispersing into the air from the soil.

  • Plants that are dead or dying. If you take proper care of your plants, dead, dying or stunted indoor or outdoor plants could be a sign of a potential gas leak. Plant roots are unable to absorb oxygen in the presence of natural gas, which can cause them to wilt. In addition to smaller-than-normal leaves on trees, wilted plants, and yellow patches of grass, natural gas leaks can also result in wilted plants.

  • Gas usage exceeds normal levels. A natural gas leak can be detected by an increase in the amount of natural gas your home uses. The use of natural gas for heating is expected to increase during the winter when using a gas furnace, but unexplained increases could indicate that there is a leak in the house.

Not only can a gas leak be fatal, but gas is also flammable under certain conditions — and you should avoid touching any light switches because a spark can lead to a fire.

Contact Our Team & Your Gas Company Immediately

Therefore, if you ever suspect a gas leak, the best thing to do is leave your home as quickly as possible and contact your gas company as soon as you’re outside. Additionally, contact our team so we can find the leak, with your gas company, and help repair your gas line. Most importantly: do not try to shut off your gas valves, just get you and your family to safety.

And if you run into any problems with your home’s plumbing, heating or cooling, and prefer to forgo the DIY route, our technicians are here to help. Visit our website to learn more about the services that we offer here at Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. or call (865) 518-7008 to speak with a representative directly.