How Do You Detect a Gas Leak?

gas stove burner

The Benefits of Natural Gas

Natural gas is one of our best fuel resources. It is clean and one of the best methods of heating our homes, for bathing, and for cooking. It comes from under the surface of the earth, generated from millions of year old fossils. Yet, it can be dangerous, which is why gas leak detection is important. 

What happens if there is a gas leak?

Because natural gas is dangerous, to provide your family protection, learn the cause of gas leaks, hot to prevent gas leaks, and most important, have in-home gas leak detection equipment. If you discover or suspect a gas leak, evacuate the house. Then call 911 and the gas company. Finally, call a licensed plumber that works with gas lines to repair or replace the problem appliance or pipe. 

If you don’t have any gas leak detection equipment in your home, some indication that there may be a gas leak would be: 

A Rotten Egg Odor

“What does gas smell like?” Like the kids missed one Easter egg you hid behind the couch. Yup, leaking natural gas smells like rotting eggs because of the Mercaptan that natural gas suppliers add to the raw product. This is a chemical that creates a noticeable odor, so when you smell rotting eggs and you know you haven’t hidden any eggs lately, evacuate your home immediately.

Dead or Dying Houseplants

An undetected natural gas leak will consume the oxygen in your home, depriving your house plants, and your family, of the oxygen they need. In short time, you’ll notice your plants are looking poor and dying. Next to a rotting egg odor, dying or dead plants are a great form of natural gas leak detection. 

Fatigue and Sickness

Just as a natural gas leak detection includes dying or dead houseplants, your family can begin having showing symptoms of a natural gas leak. If anyone in your family has sudden fatigue, nausea, weakness, headaches, or feel like they are suffocating, call 911 and advise the operator you may have gas poisoning exposure. 

Dead Bushes, Grass and Shrubs 

For natural gas to get to your home, there are pipes running under your lawn. When there is a break or crack in those lines, you’ll notice your bushes, grass, and shrubs are dying. Just as your indoor house plants need air, so do outdoor growths. 

Skin Irritations

Any individuals in your home that have a sudden issue with skin irritations may be showing a symptom of hidden gas from behind a wall or in the ceiling. Those skin irritations can appear as blisters, a rash, or numbness. The carbon monoxide poisoning from a natural gas leak can cause discoloration of the skin too. 

Discolored Flames

Gas appliances should have a blue flame when turned on, and if the flame is yellow, it is usually an indication of poor ventilation with the appliance. Call a professional plumber for natural gas leak detection and repair. 

What should I do if I smell gas?

Quickly check all the burners on your stove. If any were left on, open up all the windows and give it time to air out. If there are no burners on, evacuate the premises immediately and call 911 from a safe location. Then call the gas company and a professional plumber that works with gas lines. 

Do not open furnace doors or the pilot light cover on the water heater or other gas appliances. The air could cause an explosion. Do not turn on anything electrical to assure there isn’t any spark, and again, evacuate the premises immediately. 

What is a gas leak detector?

Gas leak detection equipment is designed to detect a leak of one of the following gases: 

  • Natural gas leaks
  • Propane gas leaks
  • Carbon monoxide leaks

So, you may be asking how a gas leak detector works? Considering the dangers of a gas leak to your family, gas leak detection equipment is a must for every home using gas. A gas leak detector monitors the different gas levels in the surrounding air. They are usually battery operated and when gas leaks are detected, they sound loud beeps that can’t be missed, much like a smoke alarm.

Will a carbon monoxide detector detect a gas leak? 

No, a natural gas leak can’t be detected by a carbon monoxide detector. CO (carbon monoxide) is a toxic gas that is created when fuel burns and when the oxygen level is low. A natural gas leak is methane and requires different gas leak detection equipment. 

close-up of gas valve

In Closing 

Got a gas leak – who do you call? Well, it isn’t Ghostbusters! So – do plumbers fix gas leaks? Yes, you will need to call a professional plumber that is licensed for gas line repairs and installation. Not all plumbers are experienced at gas leak detection and repair, so confirm they offer gas leak detection and gas line repair services.