How To Tell If Your Gas Stove Is Leaking
Gas leaks are very serious and can cause health issues, fire, and even explosions if they go undetected. Because gas is odorless and colorless, utility companies across the globe add an artificial smell to it, so users are alerted to any leaks.
That said, slow leaks may not produce a discernible odor. You might not realize you have a leak until it’s too late.
Here, we review different signs you can look for to determine if your gas stove is leaking. We also go over the various causes of leaks, the symptoms you might experience from gas poisoning, and what to do if you discover a leak.
Follow this guide and equip yourself with the knowledge to always stay safe in your home.
7 Signs of a Gas Stove Leak
Most householders rely on smelling gas to indicate a leak, but some leaks are so slow or small that there won’t be a pronounced sign. Here are some of the most common indicators of a leak.
1. Smelling Gas
You may have a leak if you smell gas around or near the appliance when it is not in use, and all the burners are off.
This odor smells unpleasant. Even though gas is naturally odor-free, all utility companies add an odorant for safety reasons. In fact, it’s the law, and the government requires utility providers to add this chemical, called “mercaptan.”
The smell is very distinctive and similar to the odor of rotten eggs, so it’s pretty unmistakable.
2. A Change in the Color of the Flame
If the flame is a yellow/orange color when you cook, this can indicate a slow leak. The flame should be a bold, blue color. It’s why in all forms of advertising, utility companies use a blue flame to represent how the flame should look.
3. Failing Pilot Light
A pilot light that sputters or keeps going out can indicate an inadequate or inconsistent supply, which can suggest a leak somewhere in the feed.
4. House Plants that Wither
House plants that stop thriving and then die in the same room as the stove without any explanation warrant checking out your appliance. Unexplained plant death can indicate an escape or leak.
5. High Gas Bill
If you find your gas bill is higher than usual without another explanation, such as increased usage of appliances in the home, then this is a point to investigate further.
6. Hissing Sound
Sometimes, gas escape is audible, and you can hear a quiet hissing sound near the stove or the connections.
7. Tell-tale Soot Marks
Black soot marks on the exterior of the stove that appear without cause can result from a slow leak.
What Causes a Gas Stove to Leak?
Using an installer who is not correctly licensed or qualified can put your family at risk. Licensed technicians will know how to fit the pipe running from the gas meter to your stove correctly according to industry standards.
Damage or Deterioration
Over time, the seals and pipework to appliances can deteriorate and become more vulnerable to leaks, particularly if the appliance is old. Regular servicing will ensure that your stove and its fittings and supply are safe and leakproof.
Moving the stove out for servicing and repair can compromise fittings. The risk is why it is essential to use a registered and licensed engineer.
Physical Symptoms You May Experience When There’s a Gas Leak
A slow gas leak undetected in your home can produce physical symptoms.
Gas appliances produce an odorless and colorless gas called Carbon monoxide, produced by burning fuel. Although an artificial scent is added to natural gas to help detect leaks, this doesn’t transfer during the combustion process.
Carbon monoxide will make people and animals very sick and can be lethal. You can identify its presence by installing battery-operated detectors in the home.
However, carbon monoxide detectors won’t detect a gas leak. There are separate detectors for this, although you can buy combined smart home devices that offer both functions.
You may associate some of the listed symptoms with being in a particular room, which can help isolate the cause. Symptoms typically include some or all of the following:
Headaches can have many triggers, but if you are experiencing headaches when you don’t usually suffer from them or more headaches than usual, then a gas leak is a possible cause.
A slow escape of gas can make people feel slightly sick when there is no other underlying health condition.
This pain can be a tightness in the chest or a feeling of discomfort or compression. Any chest pain always needs prompt investigation.
Shortness of Breath
Feeling breathless or not being able to catch your breath can be a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A fuzziness or drowsiness, similar to how you feel when you can’t wake up, is a significant sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ringing in the Ears
This sensation is sometimes also called Tinnitus.
Runny eyes with the absence of other conditions like pollen irritation or hay fever can be a response to toxins in the air.
What To Do If Your Gas Stove Is Leaking
The first thing to do is to call for emergency help, but only do this when you have vacated the property. Take any pets with you.
Do not touch light switches or any other appliances, even if it means leaving things on as a stray spark is enough to cause ignition.
If there is time and it is safe, open the windows and leave doors open to help disperse any gas built up. If the odor is powerful, utility companies recommend that you leave doors and windows closed.
If you know where the gas point is and how to turn it off, close off the supply at the meter, but only if it is safe. On the house side of the meter, there is a shutoff valve on the pipe before it reaches the first gas appliance in the property.
Typically, this is a small lever that sits parallel to the pipe to indicate that it is open. To turn it off, just turn the lever 90-degrees so that it is perpendicular to the pipe.
Your gas stove may also have another shut-off level at the appliance itself to make repair and service easier.
Call for emergency help but from the outside of the property. Electronic devices like your cell phone and even traditional phone lines can cause ignition because of the current they carry.
Gas companies take leaks very seriously and will attend promptly. A serious leak will require the evacuation of adjacent homes. You will not be able to re-enter the property until it has been made safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Normal to Smell Gas Near a Stove?
Sometimes, there can be a slight residual odor when you first light the stove, but this should be faint and transient and not linger. There will not be the characteristic pungent smell of rotten eggs.
Slow leaks can produce such a small amount of gas that you can become immune to the smell. The risk is why it is crucial to have your gas appliances checked regularly.
Gas leaks are serious and can threaten your home and the health and wellbeing of its occupants. Always have gas appliances in the house checked regularly by an appropriately licensed installer.
If you have bought a new house, this should be one of the first things that you do. Install gas detectors in your home and become gas aware. Find out where you can shut off the gas at the meter in an emergency. Always report any suspected leaks promptly.