A natural gas leak can be very dangerous if not handled correctly in a timely manner. Natural gas is a convenient, inexpensive, and abundant source of energy. Pure natural gas, and it’s additive (mercaptan) are both non-toxic. On the other hand, if leaked, this gas can displace oxygen in a room leading to asphyxiation. Fortunately, if installed and used correctly, natural gas is the safest and cleanest fuel to use.
Gas leaks occur when there is some type of damage or stress to the pipe. For example, aging fittings, or being disturbed by owners or others. Aged fittings can be due to corrosion, which is mainly caused by exposure to sunlight or moisture. The line can also be disturbed by people in many ways. For example, a move, building on to the house, or an electrician, plumber, or air conditioning worker disturbing it.
Unfortunately, sometimes this is an inevitable occurrence. Because of that, it’s important to know what steps to take to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Natural Gas Leak in House
Natural gas is used for gas ranges, fireplaces, heaters, and other appliances by over 65 million people in the US. There is no question as to why it is so popular, it is the cleanest fuel to use and extremely efficient. Although, it can cause potential harm if not contained properly.
How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak
- Notice an abnormal smell of rotten eggs or sulfur
- Hear a faint whistling/hissing sound near the gas line
- Look for a large number of dead insects or a dead spot on an otherwise green grassy area
What Does a Gas Leak Smell Like?
In its natural state, natural gas is odorless. Because of that, an odorant called mercaptan is added to make leak detection easier. Mercaptan is completely harmless but just adds a smell similar to rotten eggs or sulfur.
This frequently allows people to detect a natural gas leak before it can cause physical damage. If you think you are smelling something similar to rotten eggs, first check to see if your kids have taken out the trash. If that isn’t the cause of the smell, then follow these next steps.
Steps to Take to Stay Safe
- Avoid ignition sources by not operating switches, unplugging anything, or using your telephone
- Get everyone out of the house!
- If you can safely go to the outside meter, turn off the gas
- Move a safe distance away from the home
- Once you are clear of the area, you can now use your phone to call 911
Gas Line Repair | Which Option is Best for Me?
When a gas line is leaking, it is important to act promptly, whether the leak is large or small. There are two options when it comes to repairing, do it yourself, or hire a professional. Which is best for you?
Your first impulse may be to fix it yourself and save money in the process. You’re pretty handy too, so why not fix it? To start, you go to Google and see that you will need a methane detector. That is something that will take valuable time to get, time that you don’t have to waste.
Next, you will read you should mix dish soap and water. Then, put it on the pipe fitting to see if it bubbles. Bubbles mean there is a leak. Well great, you may have found the leak! However, the website doesn’t tell you that dish soap will corrode the metal pipe overtime.
Now it’s time to turn the gas off, detach the line, replace the fittings, and reassemble the pipe. To get new fittings, you will need to go to your local hardware store or plumbing outlet. Only use compatible, approved fittings. For example, do not use galvanized, copper or plastic. Once you get approved fittings for natural gas, don’t forget the Teflon tape for gas pipe or pipe dope.
You go to check again for a leak. See that when you tightened, the gas line back together, it caused a new leak. You may also have another leak because of how much you have been working on the gas pipes. And not to mention your metal is also corroding. Well, so much for a cheaper faster solution to fixing the leak!
To sum up, we do not recommend this option of repairing your gas leak! Natural gas leaks can be extremely dangerous, and the best option is to call an expert who is licensed, insured, and has years of experience.
Hire a Professional
Natural gas is extremely safe and efficient when installed and used correctly. Make sure it’s going to be installed correctly the first time, by checking reviews and hiring a reputable company. Leave it to a specialist who will take the corrective action in ensuring your safety.
So, once again, if this unfortunate event does occur, make sure to contact a specialist immediately. Make sure they are licensed and insured in your jurisdiction and can pull a permit if needed. The Gas Connection has been licensed and insured along the Front Range for the last 39 years. They have installed or provided service for over 300,000 satisfied customers.
We will have a certified expert at your home the same day. They will detect where the leak is and repair it quickly and efficiently. Then, they will ensure that the natural gas lines are safer than before!
While your local plumber may be able to do this job, they specialize in water, not gas piping. A handyman might be able to fix the leak. However, they may have to make multiple trips to the hardware store in an attempt to complete the job. In addition, they would most likely not be licensed to do so, which would put more liability on you. At The Gas Connection, we specialize in gas piping and fix hundreds of gas leaks a year! Leave it to the experts who assume the liability of ensuring your home is safe for you and your family.