More than half of all homes in the United States use natural gas as a source of energy to power appliances throughout the home—including dryers, stoves, water heaters, etc. Although natural gas is generally considered a safe source of energy for residential homes, a gas leak in your home can be very dangerous and detrimental to the health of your family and pets. A natural gas leak is a major fire hazard and can also lead to the emission of carbon monoxide, which is a chemical that is very dangerous and can cause severe health problems and even lead to death when it is inhaled by humans or animals, so it’s important to know how to detect a gas leak in your home.
A gas leak can occur unexpectedly for a wide range of reasons—due to faulty installation of appliances, degradation of pipelines, etc. While it is unlikely, a gas leak could happen in your home at any time. In the case that there is a gas leak in your home, it is important to detect it as soon as possible for the health and safety of every living thing in your home. Keep reading to learn 5 ways to easily detect a gas leak in your home before it is too late.
Smell the Air
A gas leak in your home does not always lead to a smell in the air inside your home. However, gas leaks can cause the air in your home to develop a smell similar to the scent of rotten eggs or garbage.
These unusual smells can be the result of natural gas—which usually contains added sulfur for the specific purpose of alerting homeowners of a gas leak—leaking into your home and combining with the air, causing it to smell sulfuric.
Turn On Your Stove
If you have a gas stove and suspect a gas leak in your home, turn on your stove. This might seem counterintuitive, but looking at the flames that appear when you light your gas stove can help you determine whether or not there is a gas leak in your home.
When you turn on the flame of a burner on a gas stove, the flame is generally blue in color. If there is a gas leak in your home, however, the flames that your stove’s burners emit may turn orange or red after mixing with the air.
Pay Attention to Your Plants
If you have plants in your home and they all suddenly begin to die without any notable changes in the weather or your care for them, that can be a sign that there may be a gas leak somewhere in your home. Houseplants are oftentimes the first living things in a home to be negatively affected by a gas leak.
In addition to watching out for drooping and dying houseplants, it is also important to know the telltale symptoms that a gas leak can cause in humans. A natural gas leak in your home can lead to many symptoms, including but not limited to: headache, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.
Pour Soapy Water
If you suspect a gas leak in a certain area in your home, pour soapy water over that area. Mix together a concentrated soapy water solution using a teaspoon of soap in a cup of water.
Then, pour the soapy water solution liberally over the area where you suspect a gas leak. If new bubbles appear in the solution, that is a sign that gas is being emitted from that area.
Get a Gas Leak Detector
Gas leak detectors are special tools that detect elevated natural gas levels in your home and sound an alarm when these elevated levels are detected. It is worth investing in a gas leak detector to keep in your home for your peace of mind and the health and safety of you and your family members.
If you suspect a gas leak in your home but cannot find it on your own, it is a good idea to hire a professional plumber to search your home’s plumbing system for any gas leaks. Many professional plumbers are trained specifically to find gas leaks that are very difficult to detect and have special skills and equipment that allow them to more accurately detect a potential gas leak in your home.