Natural gas does an excellent job of keeping us warm and helping us cook, but it is important to keep in mind that it is a highly flammable material. Even a small natural gas leak could put your family at risk of a home fire or explosion.
Here is a look at some of the signs that could indicate your gas furnace is experiencing a leak and requires immediate attention.
The Smell of Rotten Eggs
Natural gas is naturally colorless and odorless, so many gas suppliers add a chemical to natural gas so it has a more noticeable odor. This allows people to better detect gas leaks in their early stages before they become a major problem.
If you notice an odor in your home that is akin to that of rotten eggs or sulfur, you should leave the house immediately and call a plumber for help. While some older gas grills may give off a small amount of this odor when they are first turned on, most of the more modern energy-efficient grills should not produce any type of odor.
If there is a large gas leak in an appliance or pipe, you may hear hissing sounds coming from it, even when the appliance is not in use. It is a good idea to check your appliances and pipes on a regular basis and listen for hissing noises.
Dead Grass or Bushes in Your Yard
If you notice any dying or dead plants outside your home in a concentrated area despite taking good care of your plants, it could be a sign of a natural gas leak. Although there are many reasons that plants do not thrive, the presence of natural gas can stop the roots of a plant from properly absorbing oxygen, which leads to wilting. This can also lead to yellowish patches of grass.
Unhealthy House Plants
It is not just poor plant health outside of your home that should be a cause for concern; unhealthy or dead house plants could indicate that there is an undetected gas leak in the home that is starving your plants of the oxygen they need to breathe.
Gas Usage That Is Higher Than Expected
If the amount of natural gas your household uses has risen unexpectedly or you are noticing your bills becoming increasingly higher despite usage remaining constant, it could indicate there is a natural gas leak. Although you will see seasonal increases in your natural gas usage if you have a gas furnace, any unexplained rise could be the result of an undetected leak somewhere within or around the home.
Physical Symptoms of Natural Gas Poisoning
Some of the more noticeable symptoms of exposure to light natural gas leaks include dizziness, nausea, irregular breathing, fatigue, and headaches. In cases where there is a high level of natural gas exposure, you might notice severe headaches, loss of concentration, loss of consciousness, nausea, memory problems, or fatigue. In severe cases, a natural gas leak can cause suffocation.
If you think that you or your family members could be experiencing symptoms of a natural gas leak, you should immediately contact a health-care professional and a plumber.
Air Bubbles Outside the Home
One sign of a natural gas leak outside is the presence of bubbles in standing water, such as puddles or mud in your yard. This may indicate that natural gas is leaking in underground piping outside of your home and is dispersing through the soil and into the air that surrounds it.
Your Pilot Flame Is No Longer Blue
The pilot light in a furnace should always burn blue. If the flame turns to a yellow or orange shade, it could indicate that the unit is producing carbon monoxide gas.
What Should You Do if You Suspect a Gas Leak in Your Home?
A gas leak is very serious, and it is important to act immediately if you suspect your home is experiencing one. The first course of action is evacuating the home, bringing your pets with you, and leaving all of the doors open when you exit the home.
Next, you should call the authorities for immediate help. Your local fire department, the emergency hotline of your utility company, and 911 are all appropriate parties to contact. However, it is important not to make this phone call from inside the home as it could ignite the gas.
After a certified inspector has located the gas leak and repaired it, you will have to wait until you have received official notification that it is safe to return to the home. Once that happens, you should air the home out before returning and install proper monitoring systems to detect future problems.
Reach Out to the Washington, D.C. Metro Area Gas Line Services Professionals
If your home has recently experienced a gas leak or you would like to have your lines inspected, reach out to the Washington, D.C. metro area licensed professionals at O’Connor Plumbing to find out more about our gas line services.