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Over half of US households rely on natural gas to power their water heaters, dry their clothes, and cook food. In most homes natural gas powers at least one major appliance, and while this energy source is considered clean and usually safe, in some instances, it can be dangerous. Most people are not aware that a plumber actually handles natural gas repairs, but now is a good time to learn this useful fact in case you have an issue with your gas down the line. When gas lines are not properly installed or maintained they are susceptible to leaks, and this can turn into a huge health issue.
Learning more about natural gas and how to detect potential leaks can help save you from disastrous issues down the road. Many homes throughout Mesa, AZ rely on natural gas so it is important to understand how it functions and when to know that a leak has occurred so that you can promptly call out a plumber for a repair. There is no reason to fear using gas as an energy source, but just like your electrical system, it needs to be properly contained and handled to prevent dangerous living conditions.
The Lowdown on Natural Gas
Natural gas comes from deep underground and is composed of natural gas liquids, methane, and non-hydro-carbon gases. It is mined and then brought to the surface of the earth in a controlled and efficient manner so that it can be piped into your home.
Why Are Gas Leaks Dangerous?
Anytime a pipe or appliance has a leak it is considered a gas leak and you need to call a plumber right away. The leak allows natural gas to seep out of the pipe and into your home or sometimes outside of your home depending on where the leak is located. While gas leaks are more common when gas lines are old because of corroding pipes, they can occur anytime a pipeline is not properly installed or is damaged. This is just one of many reasons that it is important to have a professional come to your home for an annual inspection. When they check your plumbing system they will also check your gas lines.
Signs There May Be a Gas Leak in Your Home
Gas leaks are much more dangerous than plumbing leaks. While a plumbing leak will result in water damage or decreased water pressure, a gas leak can actually kill you or result in an explosion, so any gas leak should be treated as an emergency. You should first evacuate from your home and then once you are a safe distance away call a plumber to come out and inspect your home. You can also call the fire department and they will inspect your home for a gas leak. If they find a leak they will turn off your gas to ensure your home is safe to enter until a professional can get to it.
The main problem with natural gas leaks is the presence of methane which can cause an array of problems. If natural gas builds up in your home it can eventually lead to dizziness and/or actual asphyxiation which is why carbon monoxide detectors are so important. As gas builds up it can also be a fire risk since it can explode. This is even more of a risk in a home with a gas oven since the open flame will spark if there is methane in the air. Other common signs include dead trees, houseplants, or plants around the outside of your home if the leaks are near the gas meter outside of your home. In some cases, if the leak is small but constant you may notice that your gas bills are slowly rising even though you are not consuming any extra gas. Once again, it is important to call a plumber in Mesa, AZ right away if you notice any of these signs so that you minimize risk to your family and get the problem corrected.
Common Signs of a Gas Leak
Natural gas itself does not have a smell, which is once again why carbon monoxide detectors are so important on every floor of the home. However, most gas companies add a compound into their natural gas called mercaptan. This is what actually gives natural gas its trademark rotten egg smell. If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur then you need to leave your home and call a plumber right away.
You may notice problems with your gas and your range top by looking at your burner. Ideally, your stove burner should burn blue, if you notice that it is closer to a red or orange flame this can be a sign that you have a gas leak issue. This is because the gas in the air sucks up the oxygen which is what turns the flame orange or red. If excess gas is coming out of your range it will not burn blue which is a sign that you need a professional.
One more trademark sign that you may have a gas leak is a hissing or whistling noise that you only hear when you are close to your main gas line. This is never a great sign and usually indicates that you are dealing with a high-pressured large gas leak. You can probably guess it, but this demands an urgent call to a plumber and that you get out of your home in the meantime just in case.
If you can sort out where the noise is coming from it’s important to realize that the hissing may also be coming from the A/C, but if you are unsure then it is best to call a plumber and have it checked. Any of the above signs indicate danger, so if you notice any you should call Schroeder Plumbing right away. We are your local plumber and will come out promptly to investigate the issue and isolate the problem so you can safely return to your home.