Natural gas, which is commonly used to power many home appliance, is colorless and odorless in its natural state. In order to increase the chances of leak detection, a smell is added to it that smells similar to rotten cabbage or rotten eggs. Whenever you smell this smell, it is important that you act quickly. When natural gas leaks, it can cause many health problems from inhalation, as well as fires and explosions.
If you have gas appliances in your home, you may want to have a natural gas detector installed. Carbon monoxide is a completely different kind of gas, so this type of detector will not tell you if there is a natural gas leak.
Although we are educating you about the dangerous of natural gas, natural gas emergencies are very uncommon and the natural gas has a strong record of safe usage.
If a gas line is broken or damaged while digging outside, follow these steps, starting with calling the gas company immediately. Some of the warning signs of a damaged pipeline include a hissing sound, dirt blowing, bubbles rising in still water, and a gas smell.
If you believe that you have a gas leak, follow these steps immediately:
- Extinguish any burning flames, including lit cigarettes, pilot lights and other open flames.
- In order to avoid electrical sparks, do not turn plug in any electrical items, flip any switches, or otherwise use any electrical appliances.
- If the leak is very small, take the time to open doors and windows. For large leaks, don’t take the extra time that this takes.
- Get all people and pets out of the house as quickly as possible.
- If possible, shut your gas off at the meter. This is located outside of your home. You can normally find the valve on a pipe to the left of the meter. Its handle should be a straight blade that can be turn on and off by using a crescent or pipe wrench. Turn this so that it is perpendicular to the pipe that it is on, and appears to be blocking the pipe. You may even want to keep a wrench near your meter for this purpose.
- After you are safely away from the leak, call 911 and your gas company.
- Do not go back into your home or turn the gas back on yourself. Your gas company will do everything necessary from this point on.
If you have been told by your gas company that you need to fix a gas pipe leak, you will need to have this done by a professional plumber. They will be able to fix the leak in your pipe so that your home is once again safe. The gas company will then be able to turn your gas back on.