In 2019, we burned over 31 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the United States.
Gas is an effective, affordable, and relatively safe energy source for heating and cooking food, but it’s not without its risks. Gas leaks hold severe health and safety implications, causing catastrophic fires and even death from inhalation.
So, if you’re one of the 13% of US households that enjoy the convenience of gas, you need to know how to check for gas leaks before it’s too late.
How to Check for Gas Leaks Using Your Senses
Although gas leaks are invisible to the naked eye, there are ways you can spot them by paying attention to your surroundings.
If you can hear a whistling or hissing sound near your gas line, you could have a leak. Check your air conditioner first though, sometimes a damaged compressor or leaking valve is the culprit.
Most natural gas companies add a substance called mercaptan to their products. This additive has a distinct rotten-egg-smell that’s hard to miss.
If you pick up a whiff of sulfur in your home, it’s time to look for the source or get in touch with a plumber. You should never attempt to DIY gas line repair.
Pay Attention When Lighting Your Stove Top
When you turn on a gas burner on your stove it should give off a blue flame. That means there’s plenty of oxygen available for the gas to burn.
If you notice that the stovetop’s emitting red or orange flames, there’s an oxygen shortage in your home.
This is a sure sign of a gas leak somewhere. Turn off your burner and get professional help immediately.
Perform the Soapy Water Test
Sometimes the simplest tried-and-tested methods work best when it comes to household issues. So, if you suspect a gas leak in a pipe connection or juncture, this simple test will confirm your suspicions.
Simply mix a solution of one teaspoon of dish detergent with one cup of water. Apply some of this mix to the suspected leak and watch how it reacts.
If the liquid forms bubbles, it’s a sure sign you’ve got gas escaping at that point.
Symptoms of a Gas Leak
If a gas leak goes undetected for a long time, you and your family might develop symptoms associated with oxygen deprivation.
These include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems, fatigue, and irritation of the throat and eyes. If things reach this point, it’s important to vacate your home immediately and take your pets with you.
Call for expert help and don’t return to your home before they give you the all-clear.
Enjoy the Convenience Without the Risks
Gas emissions often go undetected until it’s too late. So, now that you know how to check for gas leaks, it’s important that you do so regularly.
For extra safety, you can also install a carbon monoxide gas detector in your home to keep tabs on rising levels of poisonous vapors.
Be sure to check in with us often for the latest tips on keeping your home safe, sanitary, and looking at its best.