Home Gas Leaks: What to Know Before It Happens & How to Respond


Natural gas leaks are a potential danger in any home. Left unchecked, escaping natural gas can render you unconscious. With enough exposure, a gas leak can even kill you. Ahead, learn how to protect yourself in the event of a natural gas leak in your home.

Reduce the Chances of Fire

Natural gas is combustible. It’s important to keep flammable items away from gas appliances. Don’t stash papers, fabric items, paints or cleaning solvents near the natural gas sources in your home. It’s also a good idea to keep a crescent wrench or another heavy-duty tool near your shutoff valve. In the event of a leak, you can use it to quickly cut off the gas before a fire can begin.

Know the Sources

Furnaces, water heaters and stoves are some of the most common gas appliances. You may also have a clothes dryer or a stove that runs on natural gas. In some homes, a pool heater, a space heater or a fireplace may also use natural gas. Taking care of these appliances is important. Don’t ignore the need for furnace or water heater repair. Putting off important maintenance jobs can increase the likelihood of a gas leak.

Rely on Your Senses

You’ve probably been told that natural gas can fill your home with a distinctive odor. Gas companies add this terrible scent to gas to help alert you to the presence of this otherwise odorless substance. However, in some situations, you may not be able to detect the rotten scent of gas. You can use your other senses to help you identify a gas leak. You might hear hissing or other unusual noises near your stove or furnace. Your eyes might spot water bubbling or debris blowing around.

Respond Quickly

If you think there might be a gas leak nearby, it’s important to gather your family and go outside. Stand far away from the house in an upwind area. If it’s safe to do so, have one person shut off the gas supply. Don’t use a cell phone or other flammable items anywhere nearby. Wait until you are a safe distance away before calling 911 and the gas company.

When you suspect a gas leak, act quickly. It’s better to take precautions during a false alarm than to ignore an actual leak. By knowing the signs of a leak and how to respond, you can protect yourself and your family.

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