It’s important to know that natural gas is different from smoke carbon monoxide. While smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are a critical part of protecting your home and family, they will not detect a natural gas leak; you’ll need a natural gas detector for that. However, carbon monoxide detectors can alert you when your appliances improperly burn natural gas.
That said, when you’re using natural gas in your home, being able to detect the signs and symptoms of a natural gas leak can potentially save your life. Since the smell of certain gases can sometimes be undetectable, learning everything you can to protect yourself, your home and your family from dangerous natural gas leaks is critical.
What is a Natural Gas Leak?
Natural gases are derived from fossil fuels, a mostly methane-based fuel source found deep in the layers of the earth. Natural gases are lighter than air and in a confined space like your home, they can become highly-concentrated and cause asphyxiation or even death.
Adding to the danger, a natural gas leak can be combustible in the presence of an open flame or another source of ignition, potentially resulting in an uncontrollable fire. Learning to detect a natural gas leak is a critical component of your home safety.
How to Detect a Natural Gas Leak
Because natural gases are sometimes colorless and odorless, early detection can be difficult. However, there are some signs that you can look for to detect a potential problem, including:
- Damaged gas pipes
- Dead houseplants
- The smell of eggs or sulfur
- Hissing or whistling sound
- Seeing a white cloud or dust
What to Do if You Detect a Natural Gas Leak in Your Home
If you believe there is a gas leak in your home, depending on its severity, you should evacuate your family and pets and call your gas company and have them turn the gas off. They will also work with you on the process of turning it back on. You should never do this yourself.
Having the gas company, police, fire department, and other emergency numbers readily available should be a part of your home fire safety plan.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those experienced in a natural gas leak – dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nosebleed, fatigue and breathing difficulty, among others. At high levels, carbon monoxide leaks can be deadly. Monitored carbon monoxide detectors can alert you of dangerous levels. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, leave immediately and call 911. For information on protecting your home with monitored carbon monoxide detectors, contact us.