Gas leaks are unquestionably one of the scariest problems any homeowner can face. Natural gas enters your home through pipes which, even if installed correctly, can degrade and form leaks as time goes on. Although natural gas doesn't have an odor, gas companies use an odorant in their gas to help you detect severe leaks.
Of course, knowing you have a gas leak doesn't do much good. In fact, recognizing that telltale odor is probably one of the most frightening parts of the entire process. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deal with a natural gas leak without putting your family or your property in danger. These three steps will help you quickly and effectively decide what to do once you smell gas.
1. Evaluate Quickly
Before doing anything else, think about where you are in your home and where the smell may originate. You may sometimes detect a slight gas odor after turning on a natural gas range or oven. These odors are normal and should dissipate very quickly. You may also smell a faint gas odor near your furnace when it first ignites, although any lingering or strong smell is a cause for immediate concern.
Most importantly, a strong odor of natural gas in occupied parts of your home or anywhere that isn't directly next to a gas appliance is a flashing warning sign. Exit your home immediately if you smell gas in these locations. Anything other than a faint, barely detectable gas odor is a potential emergency. A strong gas smell outside is also a severe problem, and you should leave the property immediately.
2. Call Your Gas Company
Going without your gas appliances can be frustrating, but it's far better than the alternative. If you suspect a gas leak, don't wait for a plumber. Call your gas company immediately so they can either perform a remote shut-off or send someone to turn your gas off. If you have any reason to suspect a major leak, leave your home and make the call from a safe location.
Note that many gas companies will allow homeowners to shut off their meters in emergencies, but you shouldn't attempt to unless you have experience. In nearly all cases, it's far safer to move a safe distance away from your home and call for help.
3. Use a Qualified Plumber for Repairs
Locating and repairing a gas leak is not a job for amateurs or do-it-yourselfers. Many jurisdictions require plumbers to carry special licenses to work on gas lines, and cities often require inspections after making repairs. Your gas company may also want to perform an inspection or see a work order from a qualified plumber before restoring your gas service.
Even if these regulations aren't in place in your area, allowing an expert to perform this repair is far safer. An incorrectly repaired gas line may leak again or, in a worst-case scenario, create an even more severe problem.
To learn more, contact a company like Mesquite Plumbing Inc.