Gas Leaks: Don’t Rely on Your Nose Alone

February 24, 2020

Ask virtually any general contractor, professional chef, or homeowner and they’ll say they prefer natural gas over electric any day. After all, gas stoves and gas dryers perform so much better than their electric counterparts.

When natural gas is installed and used the way it’s meant to be, it’s not only safe but it’s extremely convenient. But natural gas can leak when it’s ignored or not noticed in the first place. In fact, gas leaks can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, fatalities, and explosions. Why? Because, natural gas is highly flammable and when there’s a gas leak, it increases the risk of a fire or explosion.

When You Suspect a Gas Leak

If you suspect a gas leak, the last thing you want to do is ignore your gut instinct. Instead, have everyone in the home, including pets, evacuate the house and call 911, the utility company’s emergency phone number, and the local fire department. But before you can suspect a leak, the question is, do you know the warning signs of a gas leak in a home?

Here are the warning signs:

  • You notice a foul odor that smells like rotten eggs or sulfur in the home
  • You hear a whistling or hissing sound near a gas line
  • You see a cloud of dust or a white cloud near a gas line
  • You notice bubbles in the water
  • You notice that the gas pipe is damaged
  • You observe that the houseplants are dead

Also, if your gas bill is higher than usual, this could be a sign that gas is escaping from the appliances or the gas lines going into the house.

Do NOT rely on just your nose to detect a natural gas leak. Even though utility companies add a distinctive odor to gas that smells like rotten eggs, not everyone can smell gas leaks, especially when they have a diminished sense of smell, when they’re experiencing odor fatigue (the inability to notice an odor after being exposed to it for a long time), when they have a cold or allergies that affect their sense of smell, when they use alcohol or tobacco, when they use certain medications, when the odor is hidden by other odors in the home, or when pipe and soil conditions have made the odor fade.

To learn about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, check out this article from Medical News Today. If you suspect that you have a natural gas leak, please contact Winters® Home Services to schedule a service call with a professional plumber.