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Slow Natural Gas Leak Prevention in Your Home

Many homes use natural gas for heating and appliances.  In fact, nearly a quarter of the energy used in the United States comes from natural gas. Natural gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Because natural gas, by itself, is undetectable, a special chemical ingredient called mercaptan is mixed with it. Mercaptan has a strong odor. When you smell it, you will recognize the sulfuric odor, which is similar to that of rotten eggs. This chemical makes it easier to detect a natural gas leak.

Proper Maintenance of Appliances and Heaters

Anything that uses natural gas should be well maintained and inspected on a regular basis. A check-up for your boiler or furnace is always a good idea, particularly if it is older. Be sure any new appliances you install are properly set up, so there will not be any leakage. Bad fittings are often the cause of natural gas leaks. Usually, gas will leak from the hose leading to the appliance. It can also leak from a seal that is lose or poorly fitted.

An older appliance is particularly important to monitor for a natural gas leak. When you get these appliances serviced, make sure your service person has up-to-date credentials.

Don’t Let a Natural Gas Leak Go up in Flames

Natural gas leaks can cause fires and, under some circumstances, they can cause explosions. These are preventable when precautions are taken. If you smell a rotten egg odor, particularly around an appliance that uses natural gas, make sure it’s off and leave the premises. Don’t touch anything that might cause a spark. Keep your cell phone off until you are a safe distance away, then call 911 to report the leak. Don’t try to find it yourself.

Sometimes an extinguished pilot light can be the source of a natural gas leak or a range burner that’s on but not lit. If this is the case, be sure to turn off the burner or appliance with the pilot light. Do not try to light it immediately, as this could cause an explosion. Air out the house before you do anything that could cause a spark. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Natural gas leaks can be prevented. Maintain your appliances and make sure the people who install and service them are qualified to do the work. These simple measures will help keep you and your family safe.

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