When it comes to home DIY repairs, there are some tasks that are best left to professionals. One of these is working on a gas line because this is a dangerous job, and you need formal training to work with gas safely. But, can you recognize the signs of a gas leak in your home? And, if you do need a gas line repair, how is it fixed? In this article, we will answer these two questions and more as we examine five facts about gas line leaks and repairs.
- Identifying a Gas Leak
There are four ways to identify a gas leak. They are smell, sound, appearance, and feeling. If you get the chance to open some windows and the door on the way out, take it. Fresh air will help to dissipate the gas and lower the risk of an explosion. If you notice any of the following four signs of a gas leak, you must get everyone out of the home immediately and contact your local certified plumber.
- Smell: Natural gas doesn’t have an odor, but during the gas production process, the smell of sulfur is added to make it easier to detect by smell. So, if you can detect a strong odor of rotten eggs, it’s likely that you have a gas leak in your home. Don’t worry too much about whether you would notice this odor; it is very easy to detect on purpose, and you will smell it.
- Sound: When natural gas is escaping from a line, you may hear a faint hissing noise. Another sound that you may hear is a banging or clanging from inside the gas line as the pressure changes. If you hear these types of noises and you cannot easily identify the cause, you may have a gas leak,
- Appearance: This is the most subtle of the three identifying signs of a gas leak because you cannot see the gas. But, the release of gas can alter the area around the leak, and you may notice extra condensation on windows near the leak. If you have any plants located near a leaking gas line, they may be wilting or dying.
- Feeling: If you experience bouts of unexplained nausea, fatigue, light-headedness, or headaches, you may have a gas leak. Even if the release of gas is very low, this can be confirmed with an increase in your gas utility bill that cannot be explained.
Again, if you suspect that you have a gas leak, be cautious, turn off the gas line near the meter, get everyone out, ventilate if possible and call a professional local plumbing company for help. They can inspect your gas line, repair the leak and make your home safe.
2. A Gas Leak Misdiagnosis Can Occur
This is rare, but it can occur. You may call out a company to inspect a possible gas leak, and they find nothing. But, you must trust your own senses, and if any of the four signs mentioned above are still present, the company may have missed the leak. If you’re not sure, you can always contact a different company and ask them for a second opinion. In some cases, headaches or nausea could be caused by carbon monoxide poisoning or poor indoor air quality, and further investigation is needed.
3. A Failed Gas Line Repair is Possible
Again, this is uncommon if you choose a local certified plumber to work on a gas leak in your home. But, sometimes mistakes are made during the repair, and after the plumber has left, you may notice the signs of a gas leak have returned. Perhaps the rotten egg odor dissipates for a while only to get worse later. It’s important to trust your instincts and ask the plumber to return to check the repair. While you wait, get everyone out of the home, turn off the gas and avoid striking matches or using electronic devices. Avoid attempting a DIY repair because it’s easy to make a mistake that can cause further damage.
4. Natural Gas is Highly Flammable
If you suspect that you have a natural gas leak in your home, you must avoid striking a match or allowing any kind of electronic ignition that could cause a spark. Natural gas is extremely flammable, and exposure to any kind of flame is a major source of housefires in our nation. Some typical activities that could ignite natural gas include: smoking cigarettes and cigars, using a flashlight, operating a garage door opener, switching on a light or a lamp. In fact, even using your smartphone in or near your home could be risky if you have a gas leak because it can generate a static charge. Take care to avoid using anything that could cause a spark or flame that would ignite the gas and make the problem far more dangerous. Again, it’s important to get everyone out of the home and far enough away before using the phone to call a local certified plumber for help.
5. Avoiding a Gas Leak Repair is Dangerous
Although this may seem obvious, there are some people that ignore a gas leak. Avoiding a gas leak repair will waste money because your gas utility bill will rise as the gas escapes. But, this is a secondary concern when you consider the consequences of a possible house fire or explosion. Like many other aspects of home repair, a gas leak will not get better if left alone, and over time it’s likely to get worse. Some people with DIY skills will be tempted to save money by fixing the gas leak themselves, but this is a bad idea. In many cases, a gas leak has been made worse and serious damage and injury have been caused in this way. It’s vitally important to hire a local certified professional plumber to locate and fix the gas leak.
If you suspect that you have a gas leak in your home, contact your local certified plumbing company for expert help and advice today.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.