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What's That Smell? Could It Be A Gas Leak?

December 27, 2012 | Blog

Natural gas is a nontoxic but extremely flammable substance often used in furnaces, water heaters, stoves and other appliances. A natural gas leak can put you, your family and your home in danger of an explosion or fire. Here are some ways to detect a gas leak and procedures to follow if gas is present in your home:

  • Smell: Natural gas companies add odor-causing chemicals to natural gas to make it easy to smell. A common chemical used for this purpose is mercaptan, which gives natural gas an unmistakable rotten-egg odor. Be alert for this odor in your home; if it isn’t caused by actual rotten eggs or something containing sulfur, you likely have a gas leak that will require emergency action.
  • Sound: A gas leak can emit hissing sounds as gas escapes a pipeline, loose connection or damaged fitting. If you hear unusual sounds, especially near any gas-burning appliances or HVAC equipment, be wary of a possible gas leak.
  • Sight: Look for visual cues that a gas leak may be happening. Visibly damaged pipes or fittings could produce a leak. Blown dust or water bubbles near a gas line could mean a leak. An outdoor gas leak can kill plants, so if you’ve noticed areas of dead grass or other vegetation, a leak may be causing it.

If there is a gas leak in your home, take emergency actions immediately.

  • Turn off all open flames or sources of sparks that could cause gas to ignite.
  • If possible, shut off the source of the leak or the main gas lines coming into your home.
  • Avoid turning on lights or making phone calls, as these activities could create a spark.
  • Immediately leave the building. Make sure everyone is accounted for or helped to evacuate the premises, especially very young, very old or physically impaired occupants.
  • Once you are safely away, call your utility company for assistance in finding and stopping the gas leak.

At CCAC, Inc., we are Constantly Concerned About Customers in Corpus Christi and along the Coastal Bend, particularly when it comes to their safety. Contact us today for more information on detecting gas leaks and what to do if you notice a leak in your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about gas leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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