Gas leaks pose severe dangers to our homes and communities. Knowing the signs of a gas leak and what steps to take in gas emergencies can minimise your exposure to serious hazards, such as experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning. With this knowledge, you can confidently know measures to take if you suspect a natural gas leak.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the key warning signs that indicate a gas leak and arm you with practical safety tips to keep your home and loved ones safe.
Signs of Natural Gas Leaks
The following are the most common signs you’re experiencing a gas leak within your home or business:
In Australia, gas companies add an odorant called ‘mercaptan’ to natural gas and propane to help people ‘smell gas’ and detect leaks. Mercaptan gives the gas a distinctive smell, often described as similar to sulphur. This pungent odour is an early warning system for gas leaks in homes and businesses.
It could indicate a gas leak if you detect a smell similar to rotten eggs in your home or around gas appliances. Remember that natural gas and propane are both odourless and colourless in their natural state, so the smell of mercaptan is an essential safety feature.
Hissing or whistling sounds
You can also recognise a gas leak by listening out for any unusual sounds, such as hissing or whistling noises. These sounds may occur when gas escapes from a damaged pipe, a loose connection, or a malfunctioning gas appliance.
Becoming familiar with the regular sounds of your appliances, such as your gas heater or gas stove and piping system, can see you quickly identify any irregularities. At the very least, you may be able to direct the plumber to the problem sooner, rather than having them review the entire gas distribution network.
Dead or dying plants
Observing the health of plants near gas lines or appliances can help you identify a gas leak.
Plants find breathing difficult when natural gas or propane leaks into the soil because it displaces oxygen. As a result, plants in the affected area may wither, die, or exhibit signs of poor health.
Visible gas pipe damage
Visible damage to gas pipes can indicate a potential leak. While you can’t always review the piping put forward by your gas distributor, regularly inspecting the gas pipework and connections in your home or business for signs of damage can help ensure the safety of everyone inside.
Bubbles in water
If you see bubbles in standing water near a gas line, it indicates that gas is escaping and causing the water to bubble and requires quick action by a licensed gas fitter.
Unusual behaviour in pets
Animals can often detect leaking gas before humans. Animals have a heightened sense of smell and are likely to begin acting unusually if there is a leak. If this is so for your animal, it’s worth checking for an issue.
Safety Tips When Suspecting a Gas Leak
When suspecting a gas leak, prioritising safety is crucial to protect yourself, your family, and your property. Following these essential safety tips can minimise risks and address the situation promptly and effectively:
- Install gas detectors: Gas detectors, like carbon monoxide detectors, can provide an early warning of a leak. Have a licensed gas fitter install the detectors in key areas around your home, such as gas appliances and bedrooms.
- Regularly inspect and maintain gas appliances: Any gas appliance, such as your stove, fire, and water heater, should be inspected and maintained regularly for leak prevention.
- Know the location of your gas shut-off valve: Familiarise yourself and your family with the location of your home’s gas shut-off valve so you can quickly turn off the gas metre outlet in case of a leak.
- Educate your family: Teach your family about the signs of leaking gas and what to do if they suspect and prevent a gas leak.
- Keep combustible materials away from gas appliances: For gas safety, store flammable materials, such as cleaning supplies and paper products, away from gas appliances like the gas heater to reduce fire risk.
What to Do When You Suspect a Gas Leak
Immediate action is essential to ensure the safety of everyone present when experiencing leakage of your gas supply and appliances. We recommend you take the following steps:
- Evacuate immediately: If you smell gas inside and suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to locate the source of the leak or fix it yourself, as this is best left in the hands of a licensed gas fitter. These leaks can quickly lead to a gas fire, explosions, and serious health hazards.
- Don’t use electrical appliances: Do not use any electrical equipment, such as light switches, telephones, or appliances, as they could spark and ignite the gas.
- Extinguish naked flames: Put out any naked flame, such as candles or pilot lights, as flames are ignition sources.
- Do not start your car: If the location of your car is near the affected area, do not start it. The ignition could cause a spark and ignite the gas.
- Call for help: Once you are safely away from the suspected leak, call your local gas company or emergency services to report the leakage. They will send professionals to assess and repair the issue.
- Wait for the all-clear: Do not re-enter the affected area until you receive the all-clear from the gas company or emergency responders. They will ensure the area is safe before allowing you to return.
Call Canberra Plumbing & Drains to Prevent Gas Leaks
Leaking gas is a serious hazard that can lead to fires, explosions, and health risks. Knowing the signs of a gas leak, following safety tips, and understanding what to do in case of an issue can help protect you and your family from these dangers.
Our crew can help you stay vigilant by regularly inspecting and maintaining your gas appliances, and educating your family members about the risks and how to respond. We have a solid reputation for maintaining our customers’ gas supply and ensuring their gas metres and appliances are in excellent working order.
If you want to know more about how we can help keep your home and family safe from a gas outage or leaking gas, contact us and make an appointment with our crew.