Anyone with a furnace, fireplace, or water heater that uses natural gas should know how to tell if they have a natural gas leak in the house. While these appliances have many safety features and only properly licensed professionals can work on them, nothing is perfectly safe. Natural gas leaks do still happen. Most are mild and don’t cause explosions, fires, or major health effects. You can keep any potential natural gas leak in your home from becoming serious by identifying it early on and taking steps to protect yourself. Here’s how to tell if you have a natural gas leak.
You Smell the Gas
Natural gas is naturally odorless, but manufacturers add a bit of mercaptan to gas. This substance has a putrid smell that is often compared to rotten eggs or sulfur. If you haven’t smelled natural gas before, you should consider if any sudden and strong odors in your home could be from natural gas. What if you don’t have a sense of smell or have a bad cold? There are other ways to tell if you have a natural gas leak.
If you have houseplants near your appliances, and those houseplants are mysteriously dying, it may be a sign that you have a natural gas leak. The gas displaces the carbon monoxide in the air, which plants use to breathe the way that we use oxygen. When they can’t get enough carbon dioxide, the plants begin to die.
Discolored Pilot Light
The quality of the color of the flame in your furnace or other gas-fueled appliance can tell you a lot about the safety of the appliance. The flames should be blue and strong. If it is yellow or orange and looks weak, then it could be that the flame isn’t getting enough gas. One reason the flame may not be getting enough gas is that there is a gas leak somewhere. However, there are other causes for a discolored pilot light, so you should read out to the professionals if you spot this problem.
There are also health symptoms of a natural gas leak that you may notice if you can’t smell the gas. These can be minor symptoms if you’ve been exposed to a small amount of gas for a short time, or they may be very serious and even life-threatening if you have been exposed to a lot of gas or any gas for a long enough period of time.
Here are some of the possible ways your health may be affected if you are exposed to natural gas:
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Muscle paralysis
- Loss of consciousness
Prevent Natural Gas Leaks
There are several steps you can take to prevent natural gas leaks in your home and keep your family safe:
- Regular maintenance: Every appliance you have that uses natural gas should be maintained yearly to prevent breakdowns and leaks.
- Professional installation: Only licensed professionals should attempt to install gas appliances or change your gas lines.
- Carbon monoxide detectors: They won’t prevent leaks, but they can help you catch leaks before they become major safety issues.
If you’re concerned about a potential natural gas leak in your home, reach out to us today. We provide gas line repair and replacement in Concord and throughout Contra Costa, so help is never far away.