A gas leak can be a serious safety hazard. After you’ve had a leak, authorities typically recommend that you open up your doors and windows and let the home air out. Typically, you’ll need to allow your home to air out for fifteen minutes to a few hours, but the exact timeframe depends on the severity of the leak and wind conditions in your area. We’ll explain this and the other things you should do after a gas leak below.
Call the Authorities
If your home has the symptoms of a gas leak, then it’s always best to call the authorities, which may include your fire department and your gas company, depending on your area. The professionals will be able to help you assess the severity of your leak and give you important safety information, like how to turn off the gas.
All people and pets should be evacuated from a home that has a gas leak. Even if you’ll be careful not to ignite the gas, inhaling it is not good for your health and, when the leak is large, can cause serious symptoms and even death. Gas has an especially strong effect on young children and pets, who will feel the effects of the gas leak faster.
Safely Open Windows and Doors
Once everyone is out of the home, open up the doors and windows to allow the gas to dissipate naturally. When you do, do not turn any lights on or off, start any electrical equipment, or do anything that could create a spark and light the gas.
If you have a fan or other ventilation system, it may not be wise to turn it on, even though it could theoretically help to move the gas out of the home. Still, turning it on may run the risk of igniting the gas. Your fire department, HVAC professional, or gas company can tell you whether it’s okay to turn on the fan.
Stop the Leak
Of course, it doesn’t matter how long you let your home ventilate if the leak doesn’t stop. Your HVAC professional can fix leaks caused by broken valves, breaks in the gas line, malfunctioning equipment, and other issues. It would be best if you didn’t attempt to re-enter your home until an HVAC professional has told you that the leak is fixed and that the gas has dissipated.
Let the Authorities Test Your Home
What if you stop smelling the gas? That doesn’t necessarily mean that the gas is gone. If you’ve been exposed to the gas for some time, then you could simply have gotten used to the smell. Only trust your nose if you’ve been in the fresh air for a long time and are stepping back into the house. Then, if you don’t smell any gas at all, you can be reasonably confident that it is gone.
On the other hand, it is safer to let the authorities test your home for gas and trust their judgement about when it is safe to re-enter your home.