There are many reasons why you need to be aware of the signs of a gas leak in your home or business. Although gas explosions are now extremely rare, there are other implications that exposure to gas can cause.
In this post, we outline the different dangers of gas leaks and provide you with a number of tips to help you detect the early signs of a leak as soon as possible.
The size of the potential threat will depend greatly on the size of the leak.
If you have a larger size gas leak in your property, and there is a spark; due to the highly combustible nature of natural gas, this could cause an explosion or fire, both of which have the potential to lead to injury or even death. For the record, a spark doesn’t just have to come from a fire or lighter; it could be from a TV, a light switch or even simply just hanging up the phone.
In terms of having a small gas leak in your property, it is highly unlikely that this will cause an explosion or fire, but it is possible. However, there is a range of potential health issues that can arise from exposure to gas, regardless of whether the leak is large or small. We’ll cover the potential health risks of gas leaks in the next section.
Most people believe that exposure to a small amount of gas is relatively harmless, but this is just not true. If inhaled, natural gas is toxic in nature. Exposure to just a small amount can cause a person to feel sick and incur headaches. If exposure occurs over a prolonged period of time, even to just a small amount, the symptoms can become more severe.
When everything is working as it should, natural gas is safe for use in a home or business. However, if an issue arises where the gas is not burning off correctly, then there is a risk of carbon monoxide emissions, which, as most people are aware of, can be very dangerous. Just like with gas itself, a low level of exposure will cause headaches and sickness; but it can also cause tiredness, dizziness, an upset stomach, issues with vision and more. Where carbon monoxide is concerned, any prolonged exposure can be deadly.
For these reasons, if you have any concerns over a potential leak in your home, then you need to get out straight away and call for assistance from a qualified expert who can help with gas leak detection services.
There are three main forms of signals of a gas leak you can watch out for. Some you can smell, some you can see, and others you might hear. Here’s a quick overview of each.
Any leak will result in the air rushing out, and this will create some form of disturbance around the exact location of the leak.
So, if you happen to notice any dirt or debris being blown around in a place or space where there is no breeze naturally, this could be a tell-tale sign of a leak. Even small things like a curtain moving or the rustling of paper near to a pipe could indicate something isn’t right.
If a gas pipeline runs underneath a body of water, then you might also start to see bubbles appearing in the water. This may happen in water that is external to your property as well, such as landscaping features or ponds, for instance. Any bubbles in standing water that cannot otherwise be explained could mean there is a gas leak that needs to be taken care of.
On its own, natural gas doesn’t actually smell of anything. There is a chemical that is called mercaptan that is purposely added to gas to make you aware of a leak. It is this chemical that gives gas a smell that is similar to rotten eggs.
The smell associated with gas is often the easiest way to detect a gas leak; if you smell it, you need to leave your property immediately and call an expert local gas engineer for urgent assistance.
The source of the leak, along with the type of damage that may have been caused, might actually result in there being a noise. In some cases, this presents as a hissing sound, just like air blowing through a space. This same hissing sound can also come from appliances that are connected to the natural gas line, washers, dryers, and gas stoves are all common sources of this tell-tall hissing sound.
If you suspect there is a leak in your home or property, or you smell gas anywhere, then you need to exit immediately and call for help. If you belie the leak is minor and there isn’t a strong smell of gas in your property, you might want to turn off the pilot and/or open the windows on your way out to help prevent a build-up of gas.
An expert gas engineer can help you with a leak detection service to help you find the source of the leak, and if possible, they can also help you fix the faulty pipes.
Make sure you get a fully registered gas safety expert from Ember Plumbing and Gas.