How to Detect a Gas LeakFebruary 9th, 2010 by Staff Writer
Knowing how to detect a gas leak can be very important. Gas leaks in a home are potentially deadly and need to resolved immediately. Gas leaks can occur inside from an appliance that uses gas or they can happen outside if a gas line is damaged while digging.
How to Know When You Have a Gas Leak
Remember that gas does not have a color or a smell of its own. The smell of rotten eggs is something that has been added to it to help let you know when there is a leak. Carbon Monoxide detectors and natural gas detectors can be used to detect a gas leak as well. An alarm will sound to let you know when a certain amount of gas is in the air. Children should be evacuated from a house immediately if a gas leak is suspected. Most people suggest calling 911 if you have a gas leak while others think that some small leaks are easy to find and fix yourself. Do not use any electronics while in the house or turn any switches on or off. A spark could ignite the gas fumes in the air.
Consider Which Appliances Are Gas
If you know you have a gas leak somewhere, first start by thinking about which appliances in your house use gas. This will narrow down the possibilities of where it could be coming from. Possible suspects could be your gas dryer, a water heater or maybe a gas stove. Check for the smell of rotten eggs near any appliance in the home that uses gas.
Finding Where the Leak Is Located
Once you have narrowed it down to which appliance the smell is coming from then you need to determine where the leak is located on that appliance. Check for any damaged connections to one of the gas appliances. A hissing sound may be noticeable where the leak is coming from. If the leak can not be located by simply looking and listening there is an easy trick that can be used to detect it. Using liquid dish soap add an equal amount of water and start applying it to the hoses using a paint brush. When you reach the area where the leak is you will see bubbles forming where the air is coming out.
Fixing the Leak
Once the leak has been found it needs to be fixed immediately. The gas should be turned off right away. Now that you know where the leak is located you should be able to turn the gas off with the shut off valve closest to that appliance instead of turning it off for the whole house. If the leak is located at a connection source, it may be able to be fixed by tightening the connections. If the leak is located in the hose itself then new tubing will need to be purchased.
Detecting a Leak Outside
Digging outside should always be done after calling your local energy company to have them check for nearby gas lines. Leaks that occur outside may be noticed by seeing dirt or dust being blown into the air or the plants near the leak may start to die.