Gas leaks are a relatively common occurrence. While some exterior leaks may go unnoticed for a period of time, all gas leaks have the ability to become extremely dangerous. If you ever suspect that you may have a gas leak due to something you see, hear, or smell, then you should immediately evacuate the area and call 911.
How Dangerous Is a Gas Leak?
In an enclosed space, even a minor gas leak can be dangerous. Natural gas contains carbon monoxide, which isn’t safe for humans or animals to inhale. The gas essentially replaces oxygen, depriving our bodies of oxygenated blood. Being exposed to higher concentrations of carbon monoxide for any length of time can result in an emergency situation.
In addition to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, natural gas is highly flammable. A single spark has the potential to start a sudden and lively fire. This is a risk with outdoor and indoor leaks, but indoor leaks are a larger risk. Enclosed spaces simply allow the gas to become more concentrated.
Identifying a Gas Leak
It’s common knowledge that “rotten egg” smell was added to natural gas as a safety measure. What you might not know was that it was added in response to the tragic explosion of a Texas school in 1937. Ever since, people can count on the tell-tale smell to let them know when they have a natural gas leak. Unfortunately, it isn’t always a full-proof system.
If your sense of smell is impaired in any way, then you need to know the other key ways of identifying a gas leak. There are four other indicators that point to a gas leak that don’t require your sense of smell.
- Look for broken pipes or partially turned stove top knobs.
- Look for an exceedingly dry patch of grass if you suspect an exterior leak.
- Listen for hissing or whistling sounds.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector.
Any of these indicate that you may have a gas leak. Even if you’re unsure, it is always better to evacuate the area. Don’t flip any light switches. Don’t use anything that can cause a spark.
Once you are in a safe place, you may call your local gas company and 911. The proper authorities will make sure the area is safe, and then you’ll be free to call in your local plumbing contractor in Highland Park to complete repairs.
Preventing Gas Leaks
There are two ways to prevent gas leaks: regular inspections and regular replacement. Your pipes are built to withstand a lot, but they aren’t permanent. Like everything else in your home, they wear down over time.
Having an inspection once per year or so is a great way to stay apprised of how your pipes are doing. With any luck, your pipes will get a clean bill of health, and you won’t have to worry about them for a while longer.
While most of your inspections will go by without incident, others won’t. Those inspections are the only way to catch damage before you experience a leak. If your inspector finds specific areas of damage or recommends a total pipe replacement, then it’s in your best interest to follow through with those recommendations.
The good news is that New Generation Plumbing offers gas repiping services in Highland Park. Their certified staff will start with a complete inspection to check for other leaks or areas in need of repair. Once they’re done repiping everything that needs replacement, you can sleep easy knowing that your gas lines are in tip-top shape.