Many people choose natural gas for use in their homes for its versatility. This fuel can power heaters, stoves, grills, generators and more, making it a quality choice. On top of that, natural gas offers a range of benefits including clean burning, low emissions, and energy independence. It can even help you save on energy costs! At Heine Propane, we believe that natural gas can be a huge benefit to any home. However, while this fuel does offer many benefits and great reasons for use, it should be used and cared for in a way that is safe for everyone. Correct usage, storage, and installation are key to ensuring that you get the best use from your natural gas and to protect you and your loved ones from potential hazards. While safe to use, improper storage, careless use, and damage to the tank can lead to a gas leak. Natural gas leaks are dangerous in a number of ways. Not only can they allow the gas to escape, allowing for the conditions of a fire or explosion, but they can in fact have physical symptoms on individuals in direct contact to the fumes and vapors.
Can Natural Gas Kill You?
If a leak is present in the house, it can manifest as physical issues within pets, plants, and people. When there is only a small amount of gas leaking, you may experience some headaches or even nausea. The leak can grow over time when unnoticed, allowing the gas to collect within the home, worsening the physical symptoms. At this point, as the gas leak grows, the free gas can pool and displace the oxygen in the home. This can lead to asphyxia as your lungs are deprived of oxygen when you inhale too much gas. That brings us to a question we hear a great deal: Can a gas leak cause carbon monoxide? The answer is yes. If the gas burns off improperly or is building up in your home, it can create a situation of carbon monoxide build up. Carbon monoxide is dangerous to anyone in the home and can be fatal. Because of these reasons, knowing the signs of a gas leak and what to do is vital to the safety and survival of your home.
What Are Signs of a Gas Leak?
It may be frightening to learn that a natural gas leak can be so hazardous, but knowing what to look for in the event of a leak and safe will ensure that you are protected against these dangers. One of the biggest saving grace is added by gas companies is the smell. Naturally, gas may not have an odor. Left this way, users would be unable to tell if there was a leak and could be put in harms way. However, many companies put in additives that make gas leak smells like eggs or sulfur. While not the most pleasant smell, it is a quick indicator if something is wrong with your tank or appliances. While small leaks may not give a strong odor, there are other factors that could signal that it is time to call for help. If you suspect a gas leak in your home, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you smell a gas leak?
- Is there condensation on your windows?
- Have you heard an odd hissing noise when around your tank or gas line?
- Have your houseplants looked like they’ve seen better days?
Gas Leak Symptoms
On top of the sensory assessment of the home, there are also physical symptoms you can not as well. Sometimes, your body may respond to the gas leak before it manifests within the home. Because of the nature of the symptoms, you may misdiagnose them as small, but normal issues like the flu, upset stomach, or even allergies. If you feel any of the following symptoms, remember it is better to be safe and contact the appropriate assistance to assess if there is a leak.
Leave the home and contact assistance if you feel:
- Light-headed or dizziness
- Respiratory complications, such as difficulty breathing or having chest pains
- Feeling ill as if you have the flu, nausea, or headaches
- Are fatigued or experience mood changes
- Nosebleeds and irritation of the eyes and throat
What You Can Do
There are several things you can do to deal with and prevent gas leaks within the home. If you are in immediate danger or believe there is a leak within the home at present, it is better to be safe than it is to be sorry. If there is even a suspicion of a leak, leave the property and contact a technician to identify and repair the leak or remove the damaged tank safely from the home. Do not turn on any switches, lights or flames while in the property until this has been handled. We cannot stress how important it is that you exit the property if there is a gas leak, however, if you must remain in the property longer than necessary, you can try to ventilate it by opening windows and doors to remove the excess gas from the home and then exit.
Once a technician has inspected and corrected the issue, gather information from him on the cause of the issue, whether it was just age or if there was something that could be done to prevent this in the future. One of the biggest steps you can take in prevention of a gas leak is to ensure that you learn proper safety and handling of natural gas containers and appliances. Always be sure that when you are done using a propane tank or appliance you shut off the valve and appliance completely. This prevents leakage from seeping out while the tank rests. When handling the tank, never grab it by the nozzle or knob at the top as this can damage the tank. Finally, when you are done with the gas, store it in a cool, vented space away from the home, such as a shed or separated garage. Ensure this area is above ground level and away from the home as, if the tank becomes damaged, it can allow gas to seep into your home.
If you have natural gas as a power source in your home, you may also consider getting a gas leak detector. This system will read the air for any gas build up and go off to inform you of a leak. In addition, look into adding a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. While carbon monoxide can be created from improperly burning gas, a gas detector may not identify this as a hazard. Utilizing both of these will give you complete defense and awareness in the event of an issue, notifying you if it is a gas leak or carbon monoxide. Proper customer safety can allow you to use natural gas in your home without any concern. Want to learn more on how you can be safe with your natural gas and propane? Call Heine Propane today at 817-341-7240 for your natural gas needs in Weatherford, TX.