Gas Leaks and Safety Tips
Gas is odorless, colorless, and non-toxic for normal detection. It is also highly flammable, and in most cases, people can’t even trace the exact source of a leak. These factors make gas leaks particularly lethal. In rare cases, explosions have occurred as a result of gas leaks, and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 300 people per year die from natural gas poisoning. Ultimately, it is very important to detect and repair them as soon as possible, if not prevent them outright.
Signs of a gas leak
Although it can be hard to smell a gas leak, there are a couple of things to look out for. Perhaps the easiest sign to discover is a blowing or hissing sound. Other signs include dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area, and bubbles in wet or flooded areas. You may see flames if the leak has ignited. Leaks from transmission pipelines in particular might have all of the aforementioned signs.
Reaction to a dangerous situation
If you can confirm that there is indeed a gas leak, your reaction must be immediate. Extinguish any flames you see, and open the doors to let out the leaked gas. Do not unplug or plug in any electrical appliances, operate any electrical devices, or turn on or off any light switches in the house; such actions can cause a spark that ignites a gas fire. Instead, soon as you perform the aforementioned tasks, quickly leave the premises. Call your gas company or dial 9-1-1 from your mobile phone to get the problem fixed. Make sure you stay outside until a gas company professional has arrived and inspected the house, made the necessary repairs and declared that your house is safe for re-entry. During that time, do not smoke or light any matches near the area.
Prevention of gas leaks
The idiom “Prevention is better than cure” is applicable to gas leaks. To prevent them from ever occurring, make sure that your gas appliances are properly installed and vented. Also, make sure that they are routinely and reasonably cleaned and maintained. That way, they will continue to work properly. If you are not as savvy with gas appliance maintenance as you think, relying on gas company professionals for annual inspections is greatly recommended. Keep all combustible materials away from gas appliancesincluding furnaces and water heatersto reduce the chances of igniting a fire. For extra peace of mind, you can go to your local home improvement store and pick up a residential gas detector. This device is particularly recommended for people with a diminished sense of smell or well-advanced years.
If you suspect a gas leak in your home, make sure to call a professional as soon as possible. If you suspect any leak in your house, Birmingham Plumbing and Drainworks can come in at any time of the day or any day of the week.