Ways to Detect a Gas Leak In the House

Ways to Detect a Gas Leak In the House

Appraisal and Home Inspection
By Alex Mikayelyan November 17, 2021

Around 300 gas leak explosions happen on an annual basis throughout the country. Modern gas leak detection and repair are quite advanced, so a small percentage of these accidents have been fatal. In many cases, however, the most they’ve done is scorch a room. But this does not mean that today’s gas leaks are any less dangerous than they were before. If not for its fumes, then for its explosive nature, gas leaks should always be taken very seriously. If you smell gas, you should immediately take action.

Luckily, despite this somewhat serious introduction, gas leaks are quite common and they rarely lead to any seriously dangerous situations, especially if you know what to and not to do. The more you know, the more of an informed homeowner you will be in possibly dangerous situations that involve gas leaks. So a good place to start is to know how to check for gas leaks in the first place. The last thing you want to do is to call in a plumber or utility services, only to find out that it was just some leftover eggs that had gone bad.

How to Check for Gas Leak in House

What to Do If You Smell Gas and Eggs Look Fresh

What to Do If You Smell Gas and Eggs Look Fresh

Speaking of eggs, one of the best ways on how to test for gas leaks in the house is with your nose. Now you might be a little hesitant about smelling for gas as you know that too much of it can be dangerous. But that is if you are stuck in a closed-off room that is completely filled with gas. In the case of a gas leak in an open, airy room, it’s not going to be very dangerous unless you let it spiral out of control.

If you smell something akin to rotten eggs and know for sure that all your produce is fresh, it may be a possible gas leak in your house. Your nose is a very powerful tool and your sense of smell has evolved through the ages to be able to spot tiny differences in the air quality. So chances are you will get a whiff of gas before it gets to dangerous levels. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should always have your nose in the air ready to sniff out a gas leak smell in the house. But it does mean that you should consider checking your piping the second that you smell something fishy, or eggy in this case.

Another very potent tool in your gas leak detection system arsenal is your hearing. If you have a gas smell in your house that you know cannot be any spoiled produce, then it is likely that there is also a little whistle or hissing noise that you should also be picking up from the source of the leak. Try to quiet the entire room and be on the lookout for any hissing noises.

If you can hear the whistle, then you found the cause of the gas leak. If not and you continue to smell gas, open the windows, air the room out, and consider contacting your gas leak plumber (or basically a plumber) and asking for their advice on how you should proceed. Chances are they may know the more vulnerable areas of your utility system and can give you pointers on exactly where to go. But these are your natural means of how to tell if you have a gas leak. There are far more advanced methods of how to detect a gas leak in your house.

How to Use a Gas Leak Detector

How to Use a Gas Leak Detector

Finally, in case you don’t want to rely on your senses to pick up on any gas leaks, your safest bet is a natural gas leak detector. These function similarly to smoke alarms and can pick up on any gas fumes in the air and go off, warning you about any leaks. Keep in mind that most carbon monoxide detectors cannot detect natural gas, so you will need a dedicated tool for that. The wall-mounted or placeable leak detectors can be installed in any room with access to a gas line, however, they will not point out exactly where the leak is coming from.

For this, you need a portable sniffer or gas leak tester. It has several levels of gas exposure on its display. The best gas detector for home safety should have a little nozzle attached to its side which you can move around and see if there are any spikes in the detector. The higher the level of the display, the closer you are to the source of the leak. Most of these detectors can also pick up propane, methane, and many other gases, and you can purchase them for around $30, so they are a very valuable tool to have at home. Advanced gas leak detection services are widely accessible, so you should have some form of it in your home for extra safety precautions.

What to Do If There Is a Gas Leak

Why You Should Always Call the Pros

Why You Should Always Call the Pros

This depends on the level of the gas leak. If you smell gas inside the house, find a tiny hole in one of the pipes, and the detector is showing low levels of gas throughout the air, then do try to air out the room, though this is still inadvisable and you should always call in the professionals. Even at low levels, natural gas can be quite dangerous. So, you need to have properly equipped and trained specialists to come in and inspect the premises before you can make your own verdict.

However, if the level of gas is high as you can either smell a lot of it, are experiencing physical symptoms like dizziness or difficulty of breathing, and the gas detector is going off, you and everyone else in the household should immediately leave the premises. In any kind of gas leak situation, you must contact the local utility or gas engineers to come in and take a look.

Even in the case of minor gas leak repair you should still be very careful and let the professionals handle it. Also, even if you are experienced in DIY or even gas leak repair, it is still not worth taking any chances. 

What NOT to Do If There Is a Gas Leak

What You Should Never Do If You Smell Gas

What You Should Never Do If You Smell Gas

Don’t ignore the smell or the sound of a gas leak. Imprudence can be quite dangerous in this case, so if you pick up on a scent or the sound of a gas leak, do not ignore it or put it off for later.

Do not light a match in any circumstances. This seems like somewhat of an obvious rule, but there are a lot of people who don’t know this and it ends up putting themselves in danger. Natural gas is extremely flammable and even a small amount of it can burn up, causing damage to not only your home but to the people inside. This also means not smoking, lighting any kind of flammable objects, or sparking anything electronic.

Why You Should Also Avoid Electrical Objects

Why You Should Also Avoid Electrical Objects

Also, avoid using your phone at all times while inside and even if standing close to the house. Do not turn any light switches on or off, as well as any appliances there are. In fact, avoid using anything that works on electricity. The spark inside the wiring could ignite the gas.

In the case of severe gas leakage, do not stop to any windows or doors. Your main objective is to evacuate everyone from the premises until professionals are on-site, have cleared out the gas, and repaired the leak. Stopping to aerate the home could be futile, as the gas leak would be too severe to aerate, and more importantly: it puts your health and wellbeing at risk. The key here is to not take any chances or play the hero. If the entire household has been evacuated and there is no one left inside, you should not be going in unless a professional gives you the green light.

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Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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