How Homeowners Can Identify and Deal With Gas Leaks
Every August, America celebrates National Wellness Month. It’s a time for people all over the country to practice self-care, manage stress, and establish healthy habits – all to improve physical and mental well-being. Naturally, a big part of wellness is raising awareness about avoiding everyday health risks and stressors.
With that in mind, this article will cover one major threat to homeowners’ health and peace of mind: natural gas leaks. While natural gas is generally a safe and relatively clean form of energy, a gas leak can risk poisoning, fires, and property damage. So here are a few vital tips to help homeowners detect and respond to gas leaks and how to protect against them in the first place.
Gas Leak Signs To Watch Out For
Since the natural gas used for energy is virtually odorless and invisible, gas suppliers use chemical additives to give it an odor that’s hard to miss – typically a sulfur or rotten egg smell. This unpleasant gas leak smell is perhaps the most obvious clue about a leak. But other signs aren’t quite as easy to pick up on – faint hissing sounds from gas appliances or gas lines, dead or sickly indoor plants, and unusually high gas bills can all indicate a gas leak.
Exposure to a gas leak can also cause physical symptoms (in both humans and pets), as natural gas is toxic. These include:
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
Many of these symptoms can be caused by other factors, but if they seem to go away upon exiting the house or moving to a different room, there’s a good chance they result from gas or carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Safe Way To Respond To a Gas Leak
Suppose homeowners notice any signs of a gas leak. In that case, they should immediately get everyone out of the house and call a professional, be it the gas company, local fire department, or a qualified gas plumber – or all of the above. If possible and expedient, homeowners can leave the doors open to vent the gas and turn off the gas using the home’s main gas shutoff valve.
However, homeowners must not use any sort of electrical devices, fire sources, or even light switches in the process of evacuating the home. Any kind of small spark or electrical arc can ignite natural gas, so getting outside before even using a cell phone to call in qualified help is vital. And if the home’s gas shutoff valve is inside and can’t be reached without turning on lights or lingering indoors for any length, it’s best to leave it on and simply leave the front door open to help ventilate the home.
Homeowners can then hole up safely away from the house and wait for help. Of course, anyone experiencing any physical gas leak symptoms should receive medical care as soon as possible, especially if their symptoms are severe.
Professional Gas Leak Solutions & Prevention
Homeowners should never attempt to find or repair gas leaks themselves, as doing so can be extremely dangerous. Certified gas fitters and gas leak repair technicians have the training, experience, and special instruments that allow them to detect and repair leaks with minimal risk to themselves or the home.
Sometimes, the solution to an existing gas leak may be as simple as tightening up a pipe fitting. In others, it may involve replacing corroded gas lines, sealing pipes internally with epoxy, or replacing faulty components in gas-burning appliances. Regardless, gas leak detection and repair are always best left to the pros.
But homeowners can give themselves peace of mind by installing a gas leak detector. These can detect various combustible gasses, and some models also detect carbon monoxide (whereas CO detectors on their own will not pick up gas leaks). This is a great early warning system, but it’s also a good idea to schedule an annual gas line inspection and maintenance visit with a qualified professional to help prevent gas leaks altogether!
About Daniels Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC
The Daniels Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC experts have been serving Albuquerque with pride since 2010. Their friendly, licensed, and insured technicians always put the safety and comfort of every customer first and leave every home better than they found it. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and 24/7 emergency service, so don’t hesitate to call Daniels for gas leak detection and repair in Albuquerque, NM!