The most obvious gas leak sign is the rotten-egg sulfur smell. If you smell rotten eggs, get everyone out of the building and call 911.
That rotten-egg smell is actually an odorizer known as “Mercaptan”. Utility companies use it so we can smell a gas leak and take immediate action.
According to the American Gas Association, if you smell rotten eggs avoid causing a spark which could cause the gas to explode. Do NOT:
- light a match or smoke
- turn appliances or lights on or off
- use a flashlight
- start a car
- use a telephone
Instead, exit the building immediately. Once you’re out of the building, call 911, then the gas utility — in Fallbrook, Oceanside, Bonsall and Vista call SDG&E at 800-611-7343 and follow their directions.
Slow Gas Leaks are Subtler – Sometimes Easy to Ignore
Slower gas leaks though can be sneaky. You may even mistake them for a virus. And if you don’t notice the signs of a leak and get it fixed early, you jeopardize your family’s health and safety.
Signs of a gas leak in your home may be subtle. You may think you have a virus. Or you may even grow accustomed to symptoms over time and miss the warning signs.
Gas Leak Symptoms that Impact Your Health
Here are some health symptoms of a gas leak:
- Eyes and throat irritated
- Breathing problems
- Pale skin
- Loss of appetite
- Nose bleeds
Of course many of these are also symptoms of other health problems. Some are signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Children and Pets Show Symptoms Earlier and Faster
Children and pets are like canaries in a coal mine. They come down with the health problems sooner and more severely because they’re smaller. Of course they can’t tell you how they’re feeling.
Watch for babies fretting, not eating, turning pale or vomiting.
Small pets become more lethargic or vomit.
Watch for These Other Gas Leak Signs Unrelated to Health
- Is your gas bill higher for no identifiable reason?
- Do you hear a hissing sound when you’re near a gas appliance?
- Have you noticed house plants dying when you’ve cared for them as usual?
- Are flames on your gas stove orange or yellow?
- Look at the fittings and connections on gas appliances. Are they corroded?
If Our Sense of Smell is Diminished, We May Not Smell the Odorizer Warning Smell From a Gas Leak
Often as we age, our sense of smell is not as acute. That leaves us particularly at risk.
How Gas Leaks Can Cause Explosions
When gas leaks it mixes with air. In colder months when we have windows tightly closed, we create a confined space. As gas escapes, it pushes the air and creates pressure. If something causes a spark inside that pressure, it ignites the gas causing an explosion.
Main Causes of Gas Leaks in Homes
Older homes usually are more susceptible to gas leaks. That’s because they usually have older corroded pipes and fittings. Newer homes, built in the past twenty years, use newer PE materials that are not subject to corrosion.
Even in newer homes, however, the newer pipes may not have been installed properly. Or fittings to appliances may not have become corroded or not expertly installed. Find out more about the causes of gas leaks here.
Whatever the cause, if we use natural gas or propane gas appliances, none of our homes are totally immune to potential gas leaks.
Call Us to Inspect and if Necessary to Repair or Replace Your Gas Line
It’s not wise to try to repair a gas line leak yourself, even if you’re a die-hard do-it-yourselfer. The risk isn’t worth it. Plumbers go through specialized training specific to gas lines. We’re experts at gas line installation, inspection and repair. Call us!
We are locally owned and operated. Guarantee your satisfaction. Plus we’re the most affordable, high-quality plumbing business in the area. Click here to read other reasons to call us.