Gas Leaks: How to Find and Handle Them

Oct 18 2017

Discovering a gas leak in your home can be something both frightening and incredibly frustrating. No one wants to find that gas has been leaking in your home for both health and sanitary reasons. At Rapid Restoration, we want you to be prepared to handle gas leaks of all types, no matter how they occur. We have also included a downloadable quick guide to handling gas leaks, which we encourage you to print and hang somewhere easily referenced within your home.

What’s the Danger?

The simple answer is that gas leaks are highly flammable. Natural gas contains high amounts of methane, which is very flammable. In the event of a gas leak it is imperative that you don’t create any sparks or fire near the leak as it could cause the gas to explode.

Besides explosions, gas leaks can also have effects on the body. If you are only exposed to low levels of natural gas, you will not experience any effects. The only risk to your health from natural gas is if it’s inhaled in large amounts. If a natural gas leak has occurred and is severe, oxygen can be reduced, causing dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache, and irregular breathing. If you or your family members are experiencing any of these symptoms, but can’t smell anything, you should still check for a leak and call a plumber to fix it.

Determining if You Have a Gas Leak

The main type of gas leak that you will encounter is a natural gas leak. Natural gas is used for heating furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, pool and jacuzzi heaters, fireplaces, outdoor lights, clothes dryers, air conditioners, and stoves. Any of these can leak, so what’s the easiest way to tell if you’ve had a natural gas leak in your home?

It Stinks

You’ve probably heard that natural gas tends to smell like rotten eggs. This is because the gas companies add the smell as a warning. Rotten eggs is the most common smell, but it can also smell similar to skunk. Either way, the smell is generally bad and you can usually trace it back to the source.

What Causes A Gas Leak?

Gas leaks can be caused by a few things. Like we said above, natural gas is used in a few different places within your home and can leak from any of them. So if you come across the smell of rotten eggs or skunk, you’ve probably got a leak. With that being said, most gas leaks happen at the source of the gas to your home.

Gas leaks typically occur more often in older homes. This is because older homes used a different style of gas valve, called a lube valve or plug valve, which is no longer allowed in homes, and won’t pass inspection. Before you move into a new place, check if it uses this type of valve. If it does, consider getting it replaced.

If one of your appliances has leaked, it might be because the appliance is old and broken. To avoid this, you should get your home inspected every few years. Appliances’ gas supply valves can also be poorly fitted which allows gas to escape. You should have it fitted properly by a professional to ensure leaks don’t happen.

What To Do If You Have a Gas Leak

  • If it has just started, determine where the leak originated.
  • Ensure there are no sources of heat or flames near the leak.
  • Open windows and doors to allow the gas to escape.
  • Exit the building.
  • Call a professional to fix the leak

Hopefully you will never have to deal with a gas leak in your home. Get your home checked regularly to ensure you don’t have to fix this problem. We encourage you to download the above guide and place it somewhere easily accessed for future reference. If you do have a leak, make sure you call a professional to properly fix the leak and prevent future damage.

For any home damage, or if you have questions about repairs, please don’t hesitate to give Rapid Restoration a call at 612-294-0886.

Want to learn more about other maintenance tips? Check out our checklist on how to prepare your home for winter.

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