What Are The Real Dangers Of A Gas Leak?

It is recorded that over 5.1 million households use natural gas in Australia, either in the form of bottles or a direct line to their homes, with such a large percental of people using natural gas in their homes it is good to familiarise yourself the signs, and dangers of a gas leak.

What Are The Real Dangers Of A Gas Leak? » Gas Leak

Warning Signs of a Potential Gas Leak in Your Home

If you suspect you have a gas leak at your home or workplace, making the area safe should be your priority, it is better to be safe now than sorry later. 

What to do in the event of a gas leak:

  • Evacuate the area, keeping people and animals at a safe distance
  • Turn off and do not use any electrical equipment and household appliances
  • Open doors and windows where possible
  • No open flames
  • Keep away from the leak and call a professional plumber for assistance immediately.
  • Call your utility companies emergency line
  • Seek medical attention if exposed

There are a few key warning signs that you have a potential gas leak. Small gas leaks may often go undetected for long periods, so if you have noticed any of these signs in your home, seek professional advice.

Rotten Smell

Natural gas is odorless, so to allow us to smell a leak they have added a component to the gas to make the smell unpleasant, which makes it distinct and hard to go unnoticed. This smell is like rotten eggs or sulphur.

Increase in Utility Bills

If you see a sudden increase in your gas bill but haven’t changed your habits regarding usage, it could indicate a gas leak in one of your household appliances.

Whistling Sound

If you are close to an appliance or pipe and can hear a whistling or hissing sound, you should call a plumber who can investigate the issue to rule out a gas leak which could potentially get worse.

Plants and Gardens

Dying vegetation and dead house plants even though you are providing ample care could mean a gas leak in the area.

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Is natural gas safe in the home?

When installed and used correctly natural gas is a safe and efficient source of energy for homeowners, however, is extremely flammable and a leak can cause potential fires, and health issues when inhaled.

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Physical Symptoms of a Gas Leak

Due to a reduction in the amount of oxygen in the air caused by a gas leak can cause of a variety of symptoms on a person’s body: If you or others in your family experience sudden and unexplained symptoms, there could be a gas leak in your home. Very high levels of gas may cause unconsciousness.

  • breathing difficulties
  • dizziness
  • fatigue or drowsiness
  • feeling lightheaded
  • flu-like symptoms
  • headaches
  • irritation to the eyes and throat
  • mood changes, including depression
  • nausea
  • nosebleeds
  • pains in the chest
  • pale skin or blistering, following direct contact with gas
  • reduced appetite
  • ringing in the ears

While expose to low level amounts of natural gas can produce these symptoms, they should not be long lasting once you are out of the area. This can’t be said for long term expose; the chemicals found in natural gas can have serious lasting issues. Seeking medical advice for both long and short-term gas exposure will help provide the best recovery methods.

What Are The Real Dangers Of A Gas Leak? » Gas Leak

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a build up of carbon monoxide in your blood stream. If you are using a gas appliance in a poorly vented room, a build-up of odorless and tasteless gas that is produced by the burning of fuels such as propane, gas, and wood will build up in the air, causing the levels of carbon monoxide to become dangerous. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness and Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Appliances that can cause carbon monoxide include:

  • gas boilers
  • gas cookers and clay ovens
  • gas or paraffin heaters
  • wood, gas and coal fires
  • portable generators
  • Indoor and portable heating systems
  • Water heaters
What Are The Real Dangers Of A Gas Leak? » Gas Leak

Prevention of Gas Leaks

To prevent serious health risks, it’s always best to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of a gas leak, this could potentially save unwanted health risks and damage to your property in the future.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Like smoke alarms, they emit a loud sound if carbon monoxide levels are detected in the air.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Regularly inspecting home appliances that use gas can help prevent and identify possible gas leaks in your home. Familiarising yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions for each appliance will help understand where to check and how often for safe use.

Fire Safety Equipment

Introducing a fire extinguisher to your home will allow you to react quickly if a fire occurs for any reason including a gas leak.

Know Where The Shut Of Value Is

All homes that have a natural gas line, will have a gas shutoff valve, usually located outside of the home. Know where its located and how to shut it off, so if a gas leak occurs you know where to go.

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Suspect a gas leak?

Natural gas leaks are rare, but they do happen outside and inside homes, annual inspections can help reduce the risks of a gas leak in your home. A gas leak can pose a potential danger to those in your household.  If you smell gas:

  • Try to find the source of the smell. Look at your stove gas burner, other gas appliances or the piping near your gas meter.
  • If you cannot identify the source or it is coming from an appliance that is turned off, switch the natural gas handle on your meter to the off position.
  • Open your windows for better ventilation. Check that stove burners, naked flames, and pilot lights are off. Finally, turn off your electricity at the fuse box.
  • From outside the house, call your local licensed plumber or gas fitter. If you are renting, call your real estate agent.

Our team of professional and licensed plumbers and gas fitters can respond to all calls regarding potential gas leaks, we service Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Maitland, if you suspect you have a gas leak to do not hesitate to contact us on 0432 652 250.