Your natural gas lines are responsible for keeping your house warm and cosy during the cold months. It’s the same fuel that allows you to operate the other devices in your house, such as the water heater, furnace, and gas stove, among others.
Unfortunately, gas pipes are also subject to wear and tear, which leads to leaks and other dangerous results. These emergencies need to be attended immediately by licensed experts or a qualified plumbing company that provides gas plumber general services.
But still, knowing what to do in case of such incidents and being aware of the different pre-emptive procedures are also essential to prevent disasters from happening before your gas technician arrives.
Here are some guidelines that can help in lessening or avoiding the risks of a damaged gas pipe:
Watch Out for the Signs of a Gas Pipe Emergency
Natural gas is typically colourless, which makes it difficult to detect. However, with vigilance and early detection are your key ingredients in preventing disasters from happening. There are simple ways that can help you determine if you have a gas pipe emergency in your area. These methods require nothing more than your senses, and these are:
Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Not only is natural gas colourless, but it is also odourless. Fortunately for consumers, utility companies have added a compound called mercaptan. It is a chemical which gives natural gas an unpleasant smell, and which helps alert homeowners that they have a possible gas pipe emergency.
In cases like these, carbon monoxide, a by-product of unburnt gas, is released into the air. It can cause physiological ailments and can be fatal if inhaled in large doses. You cannot detect carbon monoxide with any of your senses. You can, however, use devices like a carbon monoxide detector.
Listen for Hissing Sounds
If you are standing near a gas pipeline or fixture and you heard a hissing sound, chances are there could be a gas leak. In case you run across a hissing gas line, conduct proper safe gas pipe emergency procedures. Inform other members of the household so they, too, can perform safety guidelines.
Look for Bubbles
The easiest way to detect a possible gas leak is to use soapy water. Apply the solution onto the pipe. Typically, bubbles would form in the area where the leak is located. This method is ideal if you have suspected a leak but is unsure where it is coming from.
Dead Plants and Soil Patches
Natural gas lines are situated underground. Similar to blocked sewage pipes, you can’t see a broken gas line unless you dig it up. You can only tell if you have a gas pipe emergency if there are dead, wilted patches on your yard or garden. Additionally, if your garden plants started to die for no reason, you may want to consider the possibility that you have a gas pipe emergency.
Symptoms of Gas Inhalation
Even though natural gas is odourless, it doesn’t mean that it is not harmful to the body. Over the years, several consumers have fallen victims to unintentional non-fire gas inhalation. In the US alone, hundreds of people have died in 2019. You’ll be wise to confirm if you have a gas pipe emergency in case you experienced any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Eye or throat irritation
- Chest pain
- Ringing in the ear
- Loss of appetite
Pets may also suffer from gas inhalation. The symptoms that your pets would feel may be different than the ones that you will experience. Nevertheless, this issue should be addressed immediately. In the case of gas inhalation, your pets may experience signs ranging from disorientation and lethargy to difficulty breathing, red eyes, and even vomiting.
How to Prevent Gas Leaks
Though you may now know what to do in case of a gas pipe emergency, prevention is still a better option. If you are keen on keeping you and your family safe from the potential risks of natural gas exposure, take note of these preventive procedures, which are:
Conduct Regular Appliance Checks
Having a proactive approach toward gas leak prevention is the ideal attitude to keep you and your loved ones safe all the time. For that matter, always check your gas appliances on a frequent basis. Examine your equipment for signs of wear and tear. Contact a professional gas fitter if you are unsure how to perform these procedures.
Not everyone has a good sense of smell and not all leaks are detectable by the senses. In instances like these, it is ideal that you install a natural gas or carbon monoxide detector. These devices will help you determine your safety all the time.
Keep Children Away from Gas Appliances and Fixtures
If you have small children at home, teach them not to play near gas-operated equipment, such as heaters, stoves, and ovens, among others. You may also educate them on how to spot or identify a potential gas leak with the help of their senses and know what to do during a gas pipe emergency. In this way, they also develop a sense of awareness that will aid in keeping themselves safe all the time.