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About Natural Gas Leaks

About Natural Gas Leaks
12th December 2012

Because it burns clean and is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other fuels, natural gas is commonly used in appliances and heating systems. Like everything in your home, parts in the appliances, furnace and water heater that run on natural gas can become worn out, leading to problems. When wear and tear results in a gas leak in your home or outside, the problem can be both costly and dangerous.

Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

In its raw state, natural gas is colourless and odourless. To help you detect a leak, gas companies use an additive that gives the gas a pungent odour. While people describe the scent differently, many compare it to the smell of rotten eggs or sulphur.

When you detect the scent of natural gas, you can look for additional signs of a leak in the affected area. Sources of gas leaks can include natural gas-powered stove, ovens, furnaces, hot water heaters, barbecues and fireplaces. Your gas meter can also leak natural gas. If you have a natural gas leak, you may notice the following around the affected appliance:

  • Dirt, dust or particles blowing
  • A sustained, constant hissing sound
  • Puddles on the ground that are bubbling
  • Dead landscaping or landscaping that fails to thrive
  • Discoloured landscaping

What to Do if You Have a Natural Gas Leak

If the smell of natural gas is very strong or you see or hear signs of a leak, leave the area and call for help. Sydney Emergency Plumbing has 24-hour emergency service available every day of the year to assist you with gas leak emergencies. If you live in a condominium building or a residential area where your home is close to your neighbours’ homes, you may also want to notify them of your potential leak. It's important that you keep people and pets away from the affected area until help arrives.

Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not turn on lights or use any outlets near the affected area.
  • Do not use a land line or cellular phone near the leak site.
  • Do not use item that contains batteries, such as a flash light, near the leak site.
  • Do not use any type of vehicle or machinery near the site if it is outdoors.

What to Do if You Suspect a Natural Gas Leak

Sometimes, a gas leak is very minor and more difficult to detect. You may only notice an odour occasionally, or it may be very faint in these instances. If you're unsure whether or not you have a gas leak, you can perform a simple test.

- Switch off all of your natural gas-powered appliances at the control point or pilot light. - Check your gas meter and record the level before you go to bed. - The next morning, check the meter again.

A change in the meter indicates a minor gas leak and means you should contact us for help with leak detection and repair.

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