According the American Gas Association, over 177 million Americans use natural gas in their homes. It is used for a lot of products in the home from furnaces to clothes dryers. Chances are you have at least one appliance that runs on natural gas. We have all heard the dangers of a gas leak, but do you know how to know if there is one and how to respond?
5 Natural Gas Safety Tips
When used correctly, natural gas is safe. It is an efficient power source and is one of the cleanest fossil fuel. However, when there is a leak, it can cause potential fire and breathing in the gas can cause natural gas poisoning. Here are 5 safety tips to keep you, your family, and your home safe.
1. Learn how to recognize signs of a natural gas leak
A classic hint that there is a gas leak is the smell of rotten eggs. But there are other signs to be aware of. Hissing sounds, air bubbles in standing water outdoors, dying plants, symptoms of gas poisoning and high gas usage can all suggest a natural gas leak. If you detect any of the signs of a leak in your house, contact 911 immediately.
2. Inspect devices and appliances on a regular basis
Checking all devices and appliances that use gas can help prevent and find possible gas leaks. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to know what to check for and how to safely use the appliance. A lot of gas using appliances has a pilot light. The pilot light flame should be small and blue with a yellow tip. If you suspect that something is wrong, contact your appliance’s manufacturer.
3. Keep small children away from sources of natural gas
Always make sure to keep small children away from stoves, heaters, and other sources of natural gas. It is important to teach children how to recognize the rotten egg smell and teach them how to respond.
4. Install detectors in your home
While the smell test is a great way to spot a natural gas leak, slow leaks may not produce enough gas for the smell to be detective. Even a large leak may be missed by someone with a poor sense of smell. While the smell test is helpful, it should not be relied on. We recommend that homeowner install a natural gas detector to warn them.
5. Know how to shut off gas in your home
Every home that uses natural gas has a gas shutoff valve. It is usually found outside the house. Make sure that everyone in the home knows where this is and how to use it. Turning off the gas can prevent more gas from escaping and reduce the risk of damage.
However, even with the gas turned off, do not return the home if there is a leak. Call 911 and wait for help.
What to Do If You Have a Natural Gas Leak
Evacuate the premises. Everyone in the home should leave the building immediately. Meet at a pre-chosen safe place. This limits your exposure to the gas. It also puts distance between you and the home in case the gas leak catches fire.
Open the doors and windows. On your way out of the home, open all doors and windows. This allows the gas to vent outdoors.
Call for help. As soon as everyone is outside and a safe distance from the home, call 911 help.
What NOT to Do When You Suspect a Leak
Do not search for the source of the leak. When you look for the cause of a gas leak, it exposes you to the gas more. Leave leak detection to the experts.
Do not try to repair the leak on your own. Always contact a professional. Attempting a do-it-yourself repair without a professional can be very dangerous.
Do not use electronics inside the house. This includes cell phones, telephones, light switches or electronic devices with batteries. Any use of electricity can trigger a spark that may ignite the leaked natural gas.
Do not use matches or lighters. Avoid any open flames, which can ignite natural gas. Explosions caused by the ignition of accumulated natural gas can level a home.
At Restoration Authority, we put safety and our customers first. Follow these tips to keep you, your family, and your home safe!