Gas Leak? Not On My Watch!

Any home that has gas appliances, such as a stove or furnace, are susceptible to a gas leak.

Gas leaks are well-known for being dangerous, but fortunately, they are rare and easily preventable. In any case, homeowners should know what to do in the case that they do have a gas leak, as well as how to prevent it in the future.

Signs You Have a Gas Leak

There are some situations where a gas leak can go undetected for a long time, but if you know what to look out for, the signs can be clear.

The first sign that most people know is the distinct rotten egg smell. Contrary to popular belief, that smell is not natural gas.

Natural gas is odorless and colorless, so that rotten egg smell actually comes from a nontoxic gas that is added to a home’s gas line. This gas is known as mercaptan, and its signature scent quickly alerts homeowners to a gas leak.

Believe it or not, plants that appear to die or turn brown very suddenly are another clear sign of a gas leak. These leaks will kill any plants nearby, whether they are indoors or outside. This occurs because the gas leak cuts off their supply of oxygen.

Another sign of a gas leak that you may know is when your furnace begins to hiss. Furnaces often make strange noises when something is wrong, but the hissing is distinct because it comes from the pressurized gas leaking out from the heat exchanger.

What to Do if There’s a Gas Leak

If you know there is a gas leak in your home, you may be tempted to seek out the source and handle it yourself. However, this is extremely dangerous.

Rather than try to handle the situation yourself, you should immediately evacuate yourself and your family members (including pets!) from the house.

Prepare a Family Emergency Plan [EI2]

Keep in mind that by leaving any doors and windows open before you evacuate, you can help air the gas out of your home. Avoid putting yourself in harm’s way, only open doors and windows that are easily accessible on the way out of your house.

You may also be tempted to call to report the gas leak immediately, but you should only contact someone after you’ve left your home. It’s dangerous to use electronics in your home when there is a gas leak, as the smallest electrical spark can ignite the gas and cause a fire.


Once you are outside, you are safe to contact the authorities. The local police, fire department, and emergency services of your gas company are the key people you should call to report the leak.

Consequences of an Untreated Gas Leak

As mentioned, you should never use any electronics inside your home if you suspect a gas leak, including your phone. This is because natural gas can be very flammable, and the smallest bit of electricity could risk a fire or explosion.

Due to this flammability, you should also avoid turning off any lights, unplugging electronics, and using lighters or candles. A gas leak is much easier to fix, and causes less damage, than a house fire or explosion.

What You Didn’t Know About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Alarm [EI4]

Another consequence that gas leaks have is physical symptoms and carbon monoxide poisoning. There are the symptoms you should look for:

  • Headache,
  • Nausea,
  • Dizziness,
  • Fatigue,
  • Chest pain,
  • Confusion.

The symptoms of inhaling too much gas and carbon monoxide poisoning are pretty similar, but carbon monoxide has much more potential to be fatal. Regardless, you should visit a hospital immediately if you notice these symptoms.

How to Prevent Gas Leaks

Although gas leaks can be scary, they are easy to prevent once you know what to do. The three key steps to preventing gas leaks are routine tune-ups, checking for gas leaks, and replacing old gas fittings.

Routine maintenance on your HVAC unit will prevent gas leaks and many other issues. Most professionals will check for any gas or carbon monoxide leaks in your home while performing their inspections.

It’s good practice to regularly check your home for gas leaks yourself. It’s fairly simple to do as well. All you have to do is turn off your gas appliances and then check the dials on your gas meter. If the meter is spinning with all the appliances off, it indicates there is a leak somewhere.

Lastly, you should replace your old gas fittings once they begin to rust, corrode, or crack. The aging of your gas fittings is completely natural, but they will need to be replaced once this occurs to avoid a leak.

When it comes to replacing them, calling a professional is your best bet, as it isn’t a good idea to do it yourself.

To ensure you are properly preventing gas leaks, you should find a reliable professional that you trust with installations, inspections, and replacements. Keeping your HVAC system in good working order is one of the best ways to prevent a possible leak.

If you know that part of your HVAC unit needs a replacement in the future, contact Bell Brothers today!