An undetected leak can turn your New Berlin, IL home’s safe, reliable, efficient natural gas supply into a life-threatening hazard. By learning how to recognize the signs of trouble, however, you can respond swiftly to keep your family safe.
Follow Your Nose
Natural gas is odorless, tasteless, and invisible in its pure form, which can make detecting leaks incredibly difficult. To counteract this, suppliers add traces of a chemical odorant known as mercaptan. This gives the gas a characteristic and distinctly unpleasant odor that’s often compared to sulfur or rotten eggs. In high concentrations, it may even be confused with the smell of sewage emanating from a failing septic system. A faint whiff usually isn’t cause for major concern, but a potent and persistent odor is a serious warning sign.
Use Your Eyes and Ears
Much like plumbing leaks can ruin your outdoor landscaping, gas leaks can take a toll on indoor vegetation. If you’ve noticed plants inexplicably wilting and dying, investigate carefully to see if there are any other signs of a leak. In outdoor areas, you can also check for small bubbles forming in any standing water near your underground gas line. Some larger leaks may also produce audible hissing noises even when there are no appliances running.
Listen to Your Body
Although natural gas is non-toxic, that doesn’t mean it’s completely harmless. In sufficient concentrations, it can prevent your body from getting the oxygen it needs to function properly. This can trigger a variety of physical symptoms, the most common of which are headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. In the most extreme cases, inhaling natural gas can even cause suffocation and death. Direct contact with the gas may also cause pale skin and blistering around the affected area.
If you suspect a gas leak in your home, it’s important to take immediate action. Vacate the area, call your utility company, and contact HRI Plumbing for the most trusted professional detection and repair services in Central Illinois.