Gas Stove

How to Detect a Gas Leak

Worried you might miss the signs of this possible household hazard? There is nothing more terrifying than the potential of a leak causing health problems in your house.

In reality, gas is a safe, convenient option that powers a high percentage of all American homes. However, a leak can cause various irritating reactions, and, at worst, it can be fatal.

The risks are why it’s crucial that you prepare in advance for your safety. Being safe means knowing the signs and what to do when faced with a problem.

With just a little preparation and know-how, you can rest easy knowing that you are prepared to identify, detect, and prevent a leak in your home. Read on to find out more!

Signs and Symptoms of a Gas Leak

Natural gas makes up a large proportion of energy usage in American homes—a little over 42% of residential properties, in fact! Still, the average person often has no idea what to do if they suspect a gas leak. Know the signs before time, and save yourself the stress later.

Smell Gas

Everyone recognizes the smell of gas, and most of us know what it means. That sulfuric, rotten egg smell is actually an additive called mercaptan, designed to attract your attention by standing out.

If you detect this smell, there’s a good chance you have a gas leak, and you might even get an idea about what room or what part of the room it is in, such as the kitchen or boiler room.

Hissing Sound

A gas leak has a distinctive hiss, sometimes referred to as a roar. If you hear this sound for a prolonged period, check all your gas lines to locate the source.

If it comes from a pipe or a valve, you got a gas leak! However, be cautious and verify that it is not coming from another kind of appliance or something else in your home.

Visual Signs

Gas is invisible, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs around that point to a gas leak. It might not be easy to spot around your kitchen or bedroom, but it will become more apparent in outdoor environments.

You may have a gas leak if you see unusual signatures of dead vegetation, dirt that has blown up from deep underground, or unexplained bubbling in water.

Symptoms

Person Experiencing Nausea

Even if you detect none of these signs, a reaction might tell you that a gas leak does exist, whether in your home or outdoors. The symptoms of exposure to natural gas include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with concentration
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Suffocation

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait to locate the leak yourself—seek emergency medical services right away.

How To Check for a Gas Leak

If you have a leak in your home, you may be able to resolve the issue yourself. Follow these steps below:

Tools

Specialized tools are the best defense to know if you have a gas leak. There are many appliances on the market designed specifically to know with scientific certainty what you can only suspect yourself.

Check at your local hardware store for gas leak detectors. These tools come in many forms, such as plug-in or portable, and cover various needs.

Check Your Appliances

You want to ensure that all your appliances work as they should. A healthy gas output should produce a bright blue flame, meaning there is enough oxygen in the air.

If your flame is red or not producing gas, it could mean the oxygen levels are too low because of a disruption in the line or a leak.

Soap and Water Test

There is one tried and true method to help you locate a leak. This trick is not as precise as scientific testing or some specially designed tools, but it is the best method to get a good idea about the general location of the leak.

Create a solution of a small amount of soap and water and apply it to your connections and valves using a spray bottle. If you have a leak, tiny bubbles will appear inside the solution.

Request a Professional Inspection

If you are worried about a potential hazard in your home or can’t find the leak, contact an experienced plumber. These professionals bring their expert knowledge to ensure your home’s safety.

Plumbers use air pressure tests to determine the integrity of your pipes, and it is the surest way of figuring out the location and severity of your issue.

How to Prevent Gas Leaks

Ensuring that you don’t run into problems can be easy if you commit yourself to just a bit of preparation and maintenance.

Start by checking the area where your appliances are placed, ensuring that the site has adequate ventilation.

Perform checks a few times a year of your appliances for leaks and consider purchasing a gas leak or carbon monoxide detector.

Will a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect Gas Leaks?

The short answer is no. These detectors detect only hazardous levels of carbon monoxide in your house. The devices are essential to prevent you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. For gas leaks, we suggest a specially designed gas leak detector.

However, a carbon monoxide detector is the best defense against hazardous air in your home, which is a serious problem. More than just your gas appliances, there are many ways that your air could be secretly unsafe, and purchasing a monoxide detector is your best defense to protect yourself and your family.

Call a Professional

Being prepared and knowing the signs is a great first step, but you may want a professional look to ensure your home is safe.

Ready to talk to a pro? For home restoration jobs that require expert know-how, look no further than All Dry USA! Bringing ten years of experience to the table, we are ready to take on the jobs in your home that have you scratching your head.

Ben Suiskind
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