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How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak

How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak

Natural gas is the third largest source of energy and almost every home in the United States uses natural gas. As the cleanest burning fossil fuel, it is environmentally friendly. The biggest users of natural gas includes industry, electric utilities, and residential homes.

In the home, we use natural gas for stove tops and ovens, fireplaces, outdoor lighting, grilling, heating and of course, heating water.

Though the natural gas industry has had an excellent safety record, it is still important that everyone in the community knows what to do in the event of a natural gas leak.

  • Smell: If you smell a distinctive “rotten egg” odor, you may have a gas leak.
  • Listen: Do you hear any unusual hissing sounds near gas appliances, or blowing near a gas line?
  • Look: Keep an eye out for blowing dirt, bubbling ponds, dry spots in otherwise moist areas, or dead plants that are surrounded by live green vegetation, as any of these may be signs of a gas leak.

Will I always smell the ‘odor' of a gas leak?

Usually, people will be able to smell the distinctive rotten egg-like odor of leaking gas, however, when someone is continuously exposed to mercaptan, the odorant added to natural gas, they can become desensitized to its smell. That said, if you smell a leak, don’t wait! Leave the premises immediately, call 911, and your local gas provider.

Additionally, if you suffer from recurrent ailments which affect the olfactory senses such as frequent colds, rhinitis, allergies, or sinus infections, you may have a diminished ability to detect a gas leak.

Smoking, pungent chemicals, or strong cooking odors can also mask the odor of mercaptan. If a medical condition prevents you from smelling natural gas, be sure to listen and look for any telltale signs of a leak.

If you suspect a gas leak, DO NOT smoke or light a match, candle or flame. DO NOT turn any electrical devices on or off, and do not use any device or start an engine, including a phone, which could cause a spark.

Whatever you do, don’t try to control the leak or repair a damaged pipe or meter on your own. Instead, call on a plumbing professional. For gas leak detection and repairs in Austin, call Excalibur Plumbing today!

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