National Wellness Month Special: The Danger of Gas Leaks

How to Identify Dangerous Gas Leaks

Natural gas is completely safe as long as it is used properly and doesn’t leak. Because it is highly flammable, it can cause fires and poisonous fumes without the right safety measures. Identifying the issue is the first step to preventing gas leaks from wreaking havoc at home.

5 Signs of a Gas Leakfoul smell

Natural gas is made up of hydrocarbon gasses as well as methane. If a gas leak occurs inside the house, this means toxic fumes are uncontrolled. Typically this happens with old gas lines, but it can also occur in newly built homes. Here are signs of a gas leak:

  • High gas bills: Since natural gas cannot be seen, the first clue is usually found in the gas bill. Monthly gas bills increase when gas escapes into various areas of the house. Since the gas is not being used for its intended purpose, it must continuously pump more air to heat the home. Although the cost of gas can fluctuate, gas leaks tend to increase the price all at once radically.
  • Foul smells: Gas leaks have a particular odor that tends to smell like rotten eggs. This can be sensed throughout the building or just in one room. If the smell is detected throughout the entire residence, this means gas has spread, and it’s no longer safe to stay inside. The rotten egg smell is a non-harmful odorant called “mercaptan” that is used to detect natural gas leaks.
  • Faulty Pilot Light: A pilot light is likely to burn out if a gas leak occurs. This is also true for gas stovetops. Unfortunately, since not all gas-burning appliances have a pilot light, this can be difficult to rely on without additional clues. If physical symptoms are also present, this is a good indicator that a leak is to blame.
  • Dizziness: A gas leak can cause several physical symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, or nausea. If there is a high concentration of gas, this can even lead to asphyxiation. Gas leaks in smaller houses or apartments are more likely to create physical symptoms because the gas is confined.
  • Damaged plants: For larger spaces where it may be more difficult to detect gas leaks, dying plants can be a clue. Several plants that wither simultaneously can be due to poisonous air. Indoor pets that become suddenly sick may also indicate harmful gas.

 

How To Handle a Gas Leak

Gas leaks can occur in pipes and appliances. If a gas leak is suspected, it’s possible to find the source. However, since these fumes are poisonous, the first choice needs to be safety. The number 1 priority at this moment is to evacuate the building.

Nobody in the house should use any sort of flame if a gas leak is suspected. Homeowners should also never turn on lights and appliances like hair dryers. Lighting a candle or cigarette could cause massive danger because of all the chemicals floating in the air.

Shutting off the natural gas can be done outside the house. The shutoff valve is designed to cut the gas supply to help prevent further damage. Although this will help the situation, it is not a solution.

Evacuating the building must be done immediately, even if someone thinks they can fix the leak from inside. Checking the source of the leak and turning off the valve is not enough. After exiting the building, it is important to call for help. The door to the house can be left open to air out the indoor space until a qualified professional arrives. Homeowners can use the fire department and the state’s natural gas-emergency line in case of emergency.

Preventative measures are important to avoid gas leaks from occurring in the first place. Some gas leaks can be prevented by checking household appliances. All appliances should be in working order and free from wire damage. Ideally, appliances should be checked monthly.

Routine inspections are also recommended. Gas lines should be monitored throughout the year to ensure that all appliances operate safely. A plumber usually does this with specialized equipment to detect damage.

gas detector

Professionals Can Help

Gas leak repair should always be left to professionals. One wrong calculation and tenants are put in jeopardy. Trained professionals use a detection kit to determine if a leak has occurred. Since not all leaks provide noticeable symptoms, relying on smell alone can be dangerous. An electrochemical sensor is typically used to find carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the air.

Metal oxide semiconductors can also be used for gas leak detection. Metal oxide semiconductors use a film that produces electrons to detect air currents. These operate in low-humidity ranges for areas that cannot rely on electrochemical sensors.

Homeowners can also get gas detectors installed inside their homes to detect gas leaks and protect their homes and families. This is used primarily as a preventative measure to detect gas in the air. Some special models can detect both natural gas and carbon monoxide.

About Heil Plumbing

Heil Plumbing is a local, family-owned company with over 40 years of experience serving Jessup, MD, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, top-of-the-line service, and trustworthy technicians. Call them today for gas leak detection and repair in Jessup, MD.

Detecting Hidden Water Leaks’ What Homeowners Need To Know

Three Ways to Tell if There is a Hidden Water Leak

It is never fun to deal with a hidden water leak, especially since it can cause so much damage to a home. One small leak can seep gallons of water slowly into a house, damaging flooring, the overall framework, or even areas in the front or back yard.

There are several ways to tell if there is a hidden water leak. When homeowners notice these signs, they should immediately call a plumber before the damage worsens. A plumbing expert should fix a hidden water leak because they have the proper tools and years of expertise.

Loud Running Water Sounds

running water soundsHomeowners that start hearing running or rushing water should be concerned and try to look for the exact cause. Sometimes, these hidden water leaks are easy to locate and found underneath sinks. But what happens when the water leak is not underneath the sink or in another obvious place?

When this occurs, homeowners should turn off all other sounds and try to find the general area where the sound is coming from. Sometimes, the looseness of a faucet causes the water to drip, while other times, there is a hidden water leak underneath the floor or inside the walls. Plumbers have leak detection tools to help them more accurately locate a hidden leak.

Swampy Areas in the Yard

swampy spot in the yardIf the water leak is coming from outside, the signs will differ. It may not be as simple as a sound, but a soggy and wet area in the yard can signify a leak. Although it is not uncommon for some spots in the yard to have dips that collect water during rain and with the sprinkler system, the water should not remain there afterward or during clear days.

That is a sign that something is wrong. Sometimes, wet spots are hidden since grass thrives on water, and the constant water activates the nutrients in the soil. Homeowners should note that if their grass is growing taller and more quickly, this is likely caused by a broken water line. This can occur when the roots of a plant or tree break through the underground water pipes.

Low Water Pressure and a High Water Bill

Sometimes, a hidden leak’s main cause or location is unknown, but a higher water bill can signify its existence. When this is the case, homeowners are also likely to notice lower water pressure. A leaking water pipe will cause water to go somewhere else instead of only to a faucet or plumbing fixture.

Higher water bills and poor water pressure are signs a water line needs repair since the pipes have either loosened, cracked, dented, or burst. If homeowners notice any of the signs above, they should call a plumbing contractor to fix the issue before any damage worsens.

About Heil Plumbing

Heil Plumbing is a local, family-owned business that has provided exceptional plumbing services to the residents of Jessup, MD, and Baltimore and Howard counties since 1977. They offer straightforward pricing and top-of-the-line service from trustworthy technicians that are background checked, drug tested, and fully licensed and trained. Call them today for plumbing services in Jessup, MD.