Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels in the world. It produces water vapor, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide when burned. According to statistics, half of the homeowners in the United States power their stoves, furnaces, water heaters, ovens, and other appliances using natural gas. However, natural gas is extremely combustible. That means it can generate a lot of heat even when burned in small amounts. Gas leakage can also present a serious risk of explosion and fire because it spreads quickly and easily.
If you’ve got a gas leakage in your home, any fire source or electrical spark can easily ignite the gas, leading to devastating results. Even if the gas leak doesn’t ignite, it can be fatal. High concentrations of natural gas in your house can hinder the body from absorbing enough oxygen, leading to suffocation and even death. However, you can keep yourself and your household safe by knowing how to identify gas leaks and what to do when exposed. Below are tell-tale signs your home has a gas line leak.
1. Hissing Sound
A hissing sound from the area around one of your gas appliances is usually a sign of a gas line leak. The fuel will easily escape into the air when your gas line has a crack or a hole. Some of these openings are too small to see with your naked eye. Nevertheless, sometimes you can hear the sound of the natural gas escaping via the opening regardless of how tiny it is.
This situation is highly dangerous since it indicates the gas is escaping in large quantities. Shut off the natural gas valve immediately after you notice the hissing sound to prevent it from saturating your house. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself because handling natural gas can be dangerous. Once you shut off the gas valve, leave your house immediately and call a plumbing professional to investigate and fix the problem.
2. Unusual Odor
Natural gas is colorless and odorless. However, utility companies normally add an additive known as methanethiol or mercaptan to the natural gas, giving it a distinctive smell that anyone can recognize. Mercaptan creates a pungent smell, but it’s harmless. It has a smell like that of rotten cabbage or rotten eggs. If you notice this odor in your home, you may be dealing with a gas line leak. Call a plumbing expert for repairs immediately to prevent the problem from escalating.
3. Health Issues
Gas leakages can also lead to serious health problems. Exposure to gas leaks for an extended period can deny the body enough oxygen. Natural gas is highly toxic and can cause inexplicable health concerns, including:
- Chest pains
- Breathing difficulties
- Flu-like symptoms
If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms and don’t have an underlying health condition, you may have been exposed to natural gas. Contact a gas line repair expert to fix the problem and seek medical attention to treat your symptoms.
4. Withering or Dead Plants
Underground gas leaks are difficult to detect. However, you might be dealing with a gas leakage if you notice some dying plants near the gas line. Plants normally wither and die for different reasons, but if they die without any clear reason, it might indicate a gas line leak nearby. Excessive amounts of natural gas can block the plants’ source of oxygen, causing them to wither and die. Vegetables and fruits also change color if they come into contact with the gas. If you notice any of these signs, call a plumber to inspect your gas line and perform the necessary repairs to fix the problem.
5. Higher Utility Bills
When your gas line is leaking, your monthly energy bills will start skyrocketing. A faulty gas line will force you to utilize more fuel than you normally do, rapidly increasing your utility costs. If you notice sudden spikes your monthly utility bills, it’s time to call in an expert to inspect your gas line for leakages.
A problematic gas line can make you lose a lot of money in the long run. Even if the gas leak isn’t significant, have it checked. Calling your plumber once you notice signs of leakage can save your property from fire damage and keep your family safe and healthy.
6. Rust and Corrosion
Gas pipes can rust and corrode when exposed to water or excessive moisture. Over time, a corroded gas line can wear out, posing a dangerous risk. Many people ignore rusting metal gas pipes, particularly if they are not easily notable. Nonetheless, the rusting may extend and escalate possible damage within no time.
Wiping away or cleaning the rusty metal cannot solve the problem. Therefore, you need to have your gas pipes checked. Depending on the condition of the piping, your plumber can recommend repairs or replacement of the gas line.
7. Bubbles in Water
If you have moist ground or puddles of water around your residential property, they can direct you to the gas leaking point. If your gas pipes run through this area, the escaping gas might trigger a bubbling effect when it passes via the water. Bubbles might still form as the gas moves to the surface and passes via the water, even if the gas line or pipe is underground.
8. Discolored Flames
Many gas-burning appliances come with a pilot light. When there is a gas leak, this light might frequently burn out. For instance, gas furnaces generate hot blue flames when activated. If your furnace produces a yellow flame, it might indicate a ventilation problem within the unit or gas leakage.
Orange flames occur when there’s oxygen in the gas piping, which can only occur if the line becomes damaged. A flame with some flickers of orange could still indicate a gas leak. So, pay close attention when igniting your furnace or cooktop. If you notice the gas stove top or furnace pilot light producing a yellow or orange flame, contact an expert to check your gas line for leakages.
9. Dry Patches on Your Lawn
Escaping gas can also cause some areas of your lawn to dry since it eliminates moisture from the soil and other surfaces. Watch out for any dry patches in your backyard, especially in damp or moist areas. These patches may be an indication of a gas line leak nearby.
Partner With the Plumbing Experts Today!
Gas leakages can have devastating impacts on you and your household. Knowing the common signs of a leaky gas line can help you get help before the problem goes out of hand. The signs, which include a rotten egg smell, noticeable rust, hissing sound, dying plants, dry patches on the lawn, and increasing utility bills, should get you calling a certified plumber immediately. Have you had a gas line leakage in your home recently? Contact Fusion Plumbing & Air to ensure your residential property’s gas line is inspected and fixed. Our team can also install proper, high-quality systems to monitor your home for potential gas line leaks and protect you.
We also offer many other services, including drain cleaning, cooling, water filtration, heating, camera inspections, water heaters, and hydro-jetting in Tucson, AZ and the surrounding regions. Contact us today for reliable residential plumbing services.