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Ways to Detect a Gas Leak in Your Home

August 12 / 2021

Ways to Detect a Gas Leak in Your Home

There are many sources of energy, including fossil fuels. Among the fossil fuels, natural gas is probably the “cleanest” and is colorless and odorless in its natural state. This does not mean natural gas is safe, though. In fact, over 500 people in the United States die of unintentional poisoning because of natural gas leaks every year. Fortunately, even though natural gas is colorless and odorless in its natural state, there are ways to detect gas leaks in your home. Rooter Hero Plumbing of Phoenix is happy to help with professional service as well as articles like this one. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns, or if you would like to hire a qualified plumbers.

What Is Natural Gas and How Does It Leak?

Natural gas is a fossil fuel composed of four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. It is colorless and odorless in its natural state and produces carbon dioxide, water vapor, and small amounts of nitrogen oxides when it burns. However, when the mixture of fuel and oxygen is out of balance, carbon monoxide may be produced. As you may know, carbon monoxide is a deadly poison.

Natural gas is delivered to appliances in tens of millions of households in the United States through specially built gas lines. The outer material of these pipes wears away over time and small hairline fractures allow gas to leak out. The natural gas in the pipes can also seep out through loose connections. Naturally, gas leaks are more likely to happen with old gas lines.

Dangers of Natural Gas Leaks

The ideal remnants of burned natural gas are carbon dioxide, water vapor, and small amounts of nitrogen oxides. These are non-toxic for the most part, but imbalances can cause more serious risks.
When the mixture of fuel and oxygen is out of balance, for example, carbon monoxide may be produced. This gas is extremely poisonous and accidentally kills over 500 people in the United States every year. Leaks can also cause dizziness and asphyxiation. The gas can also kill vegetation and plants.

Natural gas is also extremely combustible, meaning it is flammable. A spark, even an electrical spark, can ignite a natural gas leak. This is why we recommend you evacuate your building as soon as you suspect a gas leak. An explosion can erupt at any moment!

Detecting Natural Gas Leaks

Though natural gas is odorless and colorless, most natural gas companies put an additive called mercaptan to give the gas a distinct smell. This odor usually smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. So, raise the red flag if you get a whiff of these odors.

You can also detect leaks by listening for whistling or hissing noise coming from gas lines. Granted, this hissing sound can be coming from your air conditioner’s refrigerant line, leaking valve, or compressor.

Your best bet for detecting gas leaks is with a gas detector, however. There are many carbon monoxide detectors and other detectors available on the market.

Call A Plumber

If you suspect a leak, then we recommend you evacuate the building and call your natural gas company before calling Rooter Hero Plumbing to request a dispatch to your location. We are always ready to help.