More than 65 million households across the United States are using natural gas. Although natural gas is by far, one of the most efficient energy sources available, it is also one of the most dangerous. Following are four things that every homeowner should know about natural gas in order to ensure their ongoing safety.
Natural Gas Is A Highly Combustible Commodity
It is the fact that natural gas is so highly combustible that makes it such a desirable fuel source. Burning very small amounts of this gas can produce a significant amount of heat. Far from being chemically complex, natural gas is also one of the cleanest burning fuels on the market. As such, using natural gas a number of common, environmental concerns such as the production of new, greenhouse gas emissions, acid rain, and smog. Despite all of these benefits, natural gas is not just highly combustible. It also produces an extremely harmful byproduct; carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is unlikely to enter residential or commercial building structures unless there’s a problem with natural gas equipment, all buildings should have updated, carbon monoxide detectors installed.
This Fuel Does Not Have Any Discernible Odor On Its Own
Natural gas is entirely odorless. Given the danger of having a natural gas leak go undetected, companies that produce and supply this fuel add mercaptan. This is a harmless chemical that gives natural gas a distinct, rotten egg smell. This way, when gas leaks do occur, homeowners have a quick and easy way to identify them. It’s important to note, however, that not everyone picks up on the smell of mercaptan right away. There are also instances in which slow leaks and constant exposure to this odor make people virtually immune to it. This is also true for seasonal colds and any other general health or respiratory issues that block the nasal passages. Due to the danger of fire, explosion, and carbon monoxide poisoning, any suspected gas leak should be reported to a reputable gas leak detection company right away.
The Top Signs Of A Natural Gas Leak
The first and most obvious sign of a natural gas leak is the pervasive smell of mercaptan. Due to higher concentrations of both natural gas and mercaptan, the rotten egg odor will be usually most pungent at or near the actual source of the leak. You may hear an audible blowing or hissing sound close to this source as well, or notice movement in the dirt and surrounding soils. If there’s any standing water in the area, the formation of bubbles on the water’s surface is also a likely indication of problems. At gas dryer connections, homeowners can hold a small dish of water mixed with dish washing liquid close to the supply line to see whether this mixture begins to foam or bubble. Whenever a gas leak is suspected, homeowners should exit the home right away rather than attempting to turn appliances or electricity off or on. They should not smoke or light any other flames.
Avoiding Catastrophe When Completing Outdoor Improvement Projects
Among the most common and deadly causes of natural gas leaks is unauthorized digging. Whether completing outdoor improvement projects or seeking to rectify outdoor plumbing issues, homeowners should always have all underground digging and work performed by qualified professionals. Inadvertently striking a gas line when performing this work on your own could be catastrophic.
Natural gas is a clean-burning and incredibly efficient fuel. It is also a very combustible and dangerous one. This is why all property owners should understand how this gas works and how to identify the most common signs of a natural gas leak.