What to do if you have a gas leak?


Natural gas is natural fossil fuel that has become a quite common power source for different purposes around the world.  By 2009 around 61% of homes within the UK used natural gas as an important source of power. Whether you use it for your gas stove, water boiler or even your room heating system; gas fuel will be a part of your home, and it will require a constant maintenance.

The gas we use at home is a component that has no odour or colour when found in natural environments. It is very combustible and can produce large amounts of heat (energy) by using just a tiny portion. Natural gas can be extremely dangerous when inhaled, because it produces huge amounts of carbon monoxide, a toxic element derived from the incorrect natural gas combustion. Carbon monoxide it is a toxic gas, that reduces the amount of oxygen in the environment, when inhaled in big amounts can cause death through poisoning. For commercial and safety purposes, natural gas suppliers add odour components that are easily recognized, as a precautionary measure to identify its presence in closed areas.  This odour added to natural gas is the rotten egg scent you perceive. This type of scents where choose to generate a rejection towards a threat, which makes you want to react negatively and evacuate the premises.

Natural gas sources can be potential hazardous materials in your home, and it is especially important you know what to do if you happen to face a gas leak. The first approach you should consider is prevention. Gas poisoning is an important cause of death caused within a home, and this happens because we underestimate the risk it might represent to your family. If you happen to use gas, you should consider investing in prevention methods that can guarantee your home and family’s safety. A very interesting method that can be really easy to implement at home is to install gas or carbon monoxide detectors, which will set an alarm that, will warn you if there is a high gas concentration level in the house. Besides all the health issues natural gas can represent, we must consider the volatility of it as a gas and the potential high risk of fire it represents. Natural gas has the quality to have a quick combustion with small amounts of gas present and reach really high temperatures in small amounts of time.

It is especially important to notice that natural gas comes into your house through a huge pipeline system that concentrates it until it is released through your stove, oven or etc. This pipe is installed underground, which means that any time a construction is going to take place, making sure you do not cause a leak it is especially important. Before starting any major digging or construction is especially important you ask for a utility map that will help you avoid future issues, specially leaks. This map will help you to plan you construction strategy, keeping pipes in perfect conditions and having a broader view of what you want to accomplish without collateral damage (or at least keeping secondary damage as imperceptible as possible).

Once you have taken every preventing measures you possibly can you might avoid any issue. But what if you start to suspect of a gas leak or recognize the characteristic gas smell in your house? The first important thing you must do is safeguard you and your family’s’ integrity. Avoid smoking, using matches or lighters, turning switches on and off will avoid any accidental combustion that can cause a huge fire or explosion. Open every door and window within the area to prevent high carbon monoxide concentrations within the property or affected area. But identifying an odour is not the only way to notice a gas leak, the colour of the flames used in some appliances can show give you clues of an issue. If the flame is blue there is nothing to worry about, but if you notice a yellow/orange flame, maybe it is time for you to call for professional help.  Make sure your kitchen and stove are not producing the leak, check if the handles are closed.

To fix the leak it is especially important to seek for professional help, whether is your gas supplier or emergency service, the basis of a good reaction is acting as fast as you can. Do not try to deal with gas leaks on your own, keep in mind that gas can cause asphyxia and other symptoms if you do not have the proper equipment. The professional team you decide to work with will start by trying to identify the leak while cutting off any source of natural gas before starting any reparation work. Once the leak is identified, professionals will start to fix it in the moment. In case the leak requires further efforts, it will be isolated until the reparation process is completed. It is crucial that from the moment the leak is identified until the perimeter is secured and a 100% safe, you should leave the house and pay attention to possible symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning levels. Be aware of signs like headaches, dizziness or people feeling sick, which are main signs of a possible poisoning case. Throughout the process, it will be especially important you guarantee a proper airflow to reduce the impact and presence of carbon monoxide. This first reaction is entirely on you and as fast as you react, the safest you will be. There are a lot of cases throughout the world where gas leaks were not identified in time and people lost consciousness because of the effects of toxic gases in small amounts, health threats will grow proportionally to the amount of gases inhaled.

Natural gas leaks are not to be underestimated and can be a big unknown risk present in your home. As always prevention is the best method to avoid unnecessary risks and to assure a correct functioning of appliances at home. Have a constant maintenance and make sure the gas supplier you choose can give you a complete guidance through the installation, use and reparation of any gas fuel-based system you have in your home. Gathering as much information as possible will prepare you for incidents at any moment, improving reaction times and increasing the knowledge you have regarding the professional services that can help you out.