Although residential explosions from gas leaks are rare, approximately 300 people die each year from gas leak poisoning. Odorless and colorless, natural gas is a popular home fuel. Gas companies add a harmless chemical to create a typical "rotten egg" odor so that people can easily detect the presence of gas by smell. Home gas detectors identify gas leaks and provide peace of mind - especially to elderly or anyone with a diminished sense of smell.
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Plumbers urge people to act quickly and follow below precautions when smelling gas:
Evacuate the premises immediately and call your Gas Company from a neighbor's phone only.
Do not unplug/plug-in any electrical appliances, turn on/off any light switches, or operate telephones. This can cause a spark and set off tremendous explosions.
Do not smoke or light matches or candles.
Do not re-enter your home until a gas company official has examined the premises, checked the shutoff valves and declared your home safe.
Gas Leak Prevention
To avoid gas leaks keep your gas appliances clean, well ventilated, and regularly serviced to ensure their safe working order. Combustible materials should be kept at distance from water heaters, furnaces, ovens, and any other gas units to avoid domestic fires.
Warning Signs of Outside Gas Leaks
Outdoor gas leaks are much harder to detect by smell alone. Warning signs of outside gas leaks are:
- Hissing sound
- Dirt or water blown in air
- Surface bubbles in water puddles and ponds
- Dead vegetation near gas lines run
If you notice any of the above red flags in your garden, evacuate your home and call the gas company from your neighbor's home.
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