Natural gas occurs underground and is used as a fuel. This fossil energy source also contains small amounts of hydrocarbon gas liquids. And carbon dioxide and water vapour. As it’s a safe and affordable energy source it’s commonly used in homes for hot water, heat, and for appliances.
However, it can be flammable when combined with oxygen and sources of ignition. And a slow leak can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It doesn’t smell and that’s what makes detecting a leak almost impossible. So, what are the symptoms of a slow gas leak? See below…
Get to Know the Signs
Signs of a gas leak include:
- The smell of sulphur also recognised as a rotten egg odour;
- Dead or dying plants;
- Hissing or whistling in the pipes;
- Bubbles in water;
- A white cloud near a gas line;
- Higher than the normal gas bill.
Recognise the Symptoms
Slow gas leak symptoms may comprise of:
- Headaches and dizziness;
- Chest pain and difficulty breathing;
- Flu-like signs;
- Fatigue and drowsiness;
- Loss of appetite;
- Nose bleeds;
- Ringing sensation in the ears;
- Irritation to the eyes and throat;
- Mood changes and depression;
- Chest pains;
- Direct contact with gas may cause blistering.
Gas Leak Effects on Pets
If you own a pet you need to look out for the following:
- Vomiting and loss of appetite;
- Sore throat and red or watering eyes;
- Mood and behaviour changes;
- Difficulty breathing.
Exposure to Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is discharged when the gas doesn’t burn completely. It can be fatal in people and animals and needs emergency medical treatment. Symptoms can include:
- Abdominal and chest pain;
- Headaches and dizziness;
- Vision problems;
- Loss of muscle control;
- Pale skin and bright red lips.
When You Suspect a Gas Leak
If a mild unpleasant odour is a present turn off the gas pilot light. Make sure everyone and all pets are evacuated straightaway.
Open all of the windows and doors and call your gas company’s emergency number from outside of the building. A qualified industry professional will quickly come to assess the situation.
If you can’t get through then don’t panic, simply call your local fire department. If medical treatment is needed you must call for an ambulance. If there’s any delay go directly to the accident and emergency department.
Remember that if you suspect a gas leak you must never:
- Use a phone indoors;
- Search for the leak and try to repair it;
- Switch lights or appliances on or off;
- Use candles, matches, or other inflammable sources of ignition;
- Leave windows and doors closed;
- Not report the situation.
What Happens Next
A certified gas inspector will use an adjusted gas analyser to confirm any leaks. All outside lines and interior appliances will be thoroughly checked. Then you need to wait to be informed that it’s safe to return.
If you experience any long-term any symptoms, you’ll need to consult your doctor. These may include depression or respiratory problems.
Gas Leak Prevention
Having your pipes and appliances checked annually is essential. A qualified gas engineer will conduct tests both inside and outside of your property. These will include your oven and boiler. If all the readings are within the recommended scale, you’ll be issued with a gas safety record certificate.
Ask your engineer about installing a carbon dioxide detector. This will emit a loud sound if the device senses a leak.
Make sure there’s adequate ventilation around gas appliances and gas equipment. Store cleaning supplies, flammable products, and paint far away.
Keep a fire extinguisher suitable for putting out gas fires nearby. Just one spark can ignite the gas. As can making a telephone call.
How to know if there is a gas leak is an important lesson to learn about gas safety. And confidently know the appropriate action to take.