What does gas smell like?
What do you do if you notice a gas leak smell?
Is a gas leak smell an emergency?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these important gas leak questions so you know exactly what to do if you notice a gas leak smell.
Is a Gas Smell in House an Emergency?
Thousands of Western Australian homes use natural gas as an energy source. When used and maintained properly, natural gas serves as a safe, reliable energy source that provides the ability to heat homes and water and cook food.
Although uncommon, gas leaks can occur if your natural gas is poorly maintained or improperly installed. A gas leak is one of the most serious plumbing emergencies, requiring immediate help from a licensed plumbing and gas technician.
What Does a Gas Leak Smell Like?
“What does a gas leak smell like in a house?”
This is a common question, and knowing the answer can help save your life and your home.
Natural gas itself is odourless and colourless. So how can you detect a gas leak smell?
To help increase the safety of natural gas, a special chemical — ethyl mercaptan — is purposely added to give natural gas a distinct scent.
This chemical makes natural gas smell like rotten eggs or sulphur, helping alert homeowners to potential gas leaks.
What Are the Signs of a Gas Leak?
Possible signs of a gas leak include:
- An overwhelming rotten egg odour
- A hissing sound
- Dirt or dust blowing around near a gas line, even if there is no breeze or wind
- Bubbles, if a gas line runs under a water source
- A discoloured flame coming from a gas appliance (a stove without enough oxygen in the air will make it difficult for natural gas to combust, leading to red or orange flames when the stove is lit)
- Sick or dying plants (even when you have been adequately watering them)
- Noticeable damage to a gas line
- Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Can I Smell Gas? What to do If You Notice a Gas Smell in House
“Can I smell gas?” is a scary question to ask yourself. But knowing what to do if you notice a gas leak smell can help you take appropriate action. This knowledge can keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home safe in the event of a gas leak.
Since natural gas is highly flammable, it puts your home at increased risk of explosions. Natural gas can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning, making it crucial to know how to notice a gas smell in the house and what to do if you suspect a gas leak.
Here are the steps to take if you experience a gas leak:
- Turn off the gas metre or pilot light
- Put out any cigarettes or flames
- Never use a flame to test for a gas leak
- Do not use your gas stove or any other gas-powered appliances
- If the smell is strong, get outside to a safe place and call an emergency plumber right away and call your gas supplier to report the leak
- If the smell is minor or if you aren’t sure if it is a gas leak, you can open the doors and windows to help decrease gas build-up. Then, head outside and call an emergency plumber and your gas supplier. They will likely tell you to shut off the main gas line
- Do not light any matches or use any electrical appliances — turning anything electrical on and off may produce a spark that can ignite an explosion
What Are the Physical Effects of a Gas Leak Smell?
While a rotten egg smell may tip you off to a gas leak, sometimes there are physical signs of a gas leak to watch for. The higher the gas levels get in your home, the more oxygen levels in the airdrop.
Inhaling this oxygen-depleted air causes carbon monoxide to build up in your blood. This can lead to dangerously low oxygen levels.
Prolonged or intense exposure to a gas leak can put your health at risk.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Vision issues
- Shortness of breath
Pets, older individuals, children, and individuals with chronic medical conditions such as asthma are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you or a family member is experiencing shortness of breath, get outside immediately and seek medical help if needed.
In severe cases and without medical assistance, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness or death.
Can Gas Leaks Be Prevented?
With the right steps, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a gas leak.
Here are some tips on how to prevent gas leaks:
- Schedule routine maintenance services for fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, or other equipment that runs on natural gas
- Make sure areas, where gas is used, are properly ventilated
- If you notice a damaged gas line, call a licensed gas technician to have it repaired immediately
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly (carbon monoxide detectors cannot pinpoint a gas leak, but elevated carbon monoxide levels may indicate a gas leak)
Can I Smell Gas? If You Have a Gas Smell in House, Call a 24/7 Emergency Plumber Immediately
If you suspect a gas smell in the house, don’t wait to take action. A gas leak smell is a plumbing emergency and must be professionally assessed immediately.
When you notice a gas leak smell or suspect a gas leak, remember to open the doors and windows, avoid using any gas appliances, never light a flame, and get you and your family members out of the house until an emergency plumber arrives.
We take your safety seriously, which is why our devoted team of licensed gas and plumbing technicians offers 24/7 emergency plumbing service. We are always a simple phone call away, so you don’t have to worry about who to contact in the event of a gas leak in Perth.
If you notice a rotten egg smell, suspect a gas leak, notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, or hear a hissing sound, contact Expand Group and we’ll dispatch a licensed technician immediately and walk you through exactly what to do while you wait.