When it comes to heating your home and powering appliances, natural gas is a popular choice. In fact, natural gas use is on the rise, it accounts for nearly 21% of global fuel usage. It is readily available, versatile, affordable, reliable, and considered one of the safest sources of energy. With that being said, it does not come completely risk free. As with any combustible element there are inherent risks, such as fire, explosions, and respiratory issues. To protect your home from gas leaks, prevention is the best defense. This includes proper procedures and having protective measures in place.
Recognize the Signs of a Gas Leak
One of the most important you can do to protect your home from gas leaks is to familiarize yourself with the signs of a gas leak. A gas leak can be a bit tricky to detect. Typically, natural gas is odorless. In many instances, a sulfur smell is added to help alert the presence of a gas leak. So, one of the first signs to recognize is the smell of rotten eggs. You may also notice a hissing sound or white dust cloud at the leak location.
Another sign to look out for is dead plants. A natural gas leak can disperse oxygen and suffocate a plant’s roots. So if you notice dead houseplants, dead patches of grass, or dead shrubs and plants around the yard, it could be an indication of a gas leak. And one of the most tell tale signs of a gas leak is a higher than usual gas bill.
Side Effects of a Gas Leak
While natural gas is considered one of the safety energy sources, it is not completely risk free. It should go without saying, since it is a combustible fuel, that it still poses the risk of fire or explosion. In addition, to fire long term exposure can also cause significant health problems. Some side effects of exposure include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
It is important to note that exposure to a gas leak can affect all living things in your home, including your pets. So, if you notice your pets acting lethargic and sick, they may be affected by a gas leak.
What to do If You Suspect A Gas Leak
If you suspect you have a gas leak the first thing you want to do is evacuate the area. Safely relocate everyone in the home as well as your pets outdoors. You then need to contact the emergency number for your gas company. If you or a loved one are experiencing severe symptoms, medical attention may be necessary.
Protect You Home From Gas Leaks
Prevention and regular maintenance are the best ways to protect your home from gas leaks. This includes having your furnace inspected at least once a year. This helps assure that everything is in good working order and free from hazards. You should also make sure that gas using appliances have enough ventilation around them, and that the area is free from clutter and debris. Additionally you should check the pilot light on appliances like water heaters to ensure that it is strong, a weak pilot light or a pilot light that is out can pose the risk for a leak. Additionally make sure your smoke detectors are in good working order, make it a point to change out the batteries on your smoke detectors at least once a year. You should also invest in a fire extinguisher.
Don’t Forget About Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is the byproduct of carbon based fuels, including natural gas. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it has no order and is invisible. The best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide is to install carbon monoxide detectors. Annual furnace inspections and maintenance will also curtail potential threats.
Schedule Service Today
This is a busy time of year for many HVAC companies. It is a good idea to schedule your maintenance early to avoid potential issues and keep your system running in pristine condition all winter long. Schedule your service today with the experts at Lesco Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling.