How to Detect a Gas Leak in Your Home
Cooking gas is used in every household for a variety of purposes. Some families use it for merely cooking while others use it for heating water and other purposes. There are two types of gases used in homes- natural gas and liquified petroleum gas (LPG). Both natural gas and LPG are highly flammable and dangerous if they get leaks in a house.
These gases catch fire quickly and can damage everything within seconds. Therefore, homeowners need to take extreme care while using natural gas or LPG at home. Homeowners need to follow the safety guidelines to prevent the leakage of gas and use it safely. Moreover, every user should know how to detect a leakage if it occurs.
There are many ways you can use to detect the leakage of gas in your home and take the required action for safety. Let us explore the best ways to detect a gas leak in any house.
Hissing or whistling noise
If you listen to a hissing or whistling noise in your kitchen or around the gas equipment, it can be a sign of a gas leak. The noise may not be audible easily. You need to switch off your fans, TV, and any other sound-producing equipment to listen to the hissing noise. It can be a sign of a gas leak, but not necessarily. So, don’t rely merely on the hissing sound; instead, look for other signs.
Trust your nose
The smell is the most important sign of a gas leak at any place. The natural gas has no smell of its own, and gas manufacturers add a chemical Ethyl Mercaptan that has a strong odor. They add this agent to add smell to the gas and help the users to detect leakage. Therefore, if you sense the smell of rotten eggs or garbage, it can be a sign of a gas leak.
Soapy water test
This is a conventional method used by people to detect the presence of leakage in a pipe or tube. To use it, mix a teaspoon of detergent powder in one cup of water. Stir it thoroughly with a spoon or stick for a few seconds. Then put the water on the area where you suspect a leak, such as a pipe, junction, or connection. If the air bubbles arise, it is the sign of gas leakage. However, to use this method, you need to know the area where the gas is likely to leak.
Install a gas detector device
There are a variety of gas detector devices available in the market. You can use an LPG or natural gas (whatever you use at home) detector device for your home. It is best to install it in the kitchen or near the gas appliance so that it can detect the leakage of gas as soon as it occurs. The devices usually come in the form of alarms that give a loud beep on leakage, so that you can turn off the regulator immediately.
High gas bills
You can detect the leakage of gas if your gas bills suddenly increase despite the constant consumption. It means that if your consumption is steady, but the bill increases, it can be a sign that your gas leaks steadily without you knowing the same.
However, you can rely on the high gas bill only if all the other factors are constant like consumption of gas, price, and the weather or season. The consumption of gas naturally increases in winter as the water, foods, and cooking utensils take more time to heat.
Color of the flame
The color of the flame can also tell you a lot about the gas leak. The blue color indicates no leakage from the burner and indicates the complete combustion of gas. However, if the flame color is yellow or orange, it can be a sign of leakage or incomplete combustion.
Discolored or dead plants
If you have plants near your kitchen or gas appliance, and their leaves are discolored, it can be due to the leakage of gas. Natural gas can cause discoloration or damage to plants. Therefore, if you sense the smell of gas and discoloration of plants, it is a sure sign of a gas leak.
If you see soot or scorching in the appliance at an unusual area, it can be a sign or a gas leak. For example, if you see a flame or soot on the sides or underside of the burner or stove, it is the gas leaking from that area. Therefore, it is best to inspect your gas appliance at least once a week to detect the presence of cuts or leaks. The gas can leak from the regulator, pipe, tubes under the stove, and burners. However, soot is usually seen on the stove tubes and burners.
Symptoms of illness
If any of your family members feel the symptoms like headache, nausea, difficulty in breathing, or flu, it can be due to carbon monoxide poisoning. If the gas leaks from any part due to incomplete combustion, it releases carbon monoxide that is toxic for humans and pets. These symptoms can be due to gas leakage, but there can be other reasons too. If any of your family members experience these symptoms, you should consult a medical practitioner.
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These are the signs that homeowners should look for while detecting a gas leak in their homes. If you sense any of these signs, you should get your gas appliance inspected by a registered gas engineer. Users should clean and maintain their gas equipment regularly to keep it in good working condition. A well-maintained gas appliance is less susceptible to leaks and malfunctions. Maintaining your gas appliances also maintains their efficiency and also keeps your energy bills within your budget.