A Safety Guide For Natural Gas In The Home

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Gas is a common way to fuel appliances in the home. It's typically delivered safely from a municipal source via gas lines. Although natural gas is typically safe, sometimes a leak can occur. The following guide can help you understand why and what to do in the event of a leak.

Which appliances typically use gas?

Natural gas can be used to fuel many of the appliances in your home. In most suburban and urban homes, gas is used primarily for the furnace, hot water heater, and possibly the stove and oven. In some homes, especially in more rural areas, appliances like dryers and refrigerators may also run off of gas. It's important to know what systems and appliances in your home are hooked up to the gas line so you can stay alert to any problems.

Why do leaks typically occur?

Leaks can occur for a variety of reasons, but one of the most likely culprits is simply aging lines that have begun to develop damage. It only takes a small pinprick hole for a leak to occur. Issues with connecting valves, pinches in the line, and too much pressure in the lines can also lead to leaks. If you have recently had a new gas appliance installed, issues with the installation or an improperly sealed valve may result in a leak.

What are the signs of a gas leak?

Natural gas is typically odorless and colorless, but the gas piped into homes is treated so that it will produce the unpleasant odor of rotting eggs. If you smell this odor, particularly if it is strong or accompanied by a hissing noise, then you may have a gas leak in progress. Natural gas in the air can also cause houseplants to start wilting very quickly, so if your plants are suffering and you aren't sure why, a gas leak could be the culprit.

How does one handle a leak?

If you suspect a gas leak, your first task is to evacuate the home immediately. Do not flip any light switches or operate any electrical items in the house, and wait until you are out of the house before using your cell phone. Depending on the amount of gas built up in the house, even a small spark from an electrical item could ignite the air and cause an explosion. If it is safe to access, turn off the gas line to the house to stop the flow. Then, call a gas service to come and fix the leak.

Contact a gas line leak detection service immediately if you suspect a gas leak in your home.

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