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Just in Time for Winter: Gas Leaks and Safety Tips

November 27, 2013

Winter is here, which means cold weather, and the need to heat your house. Natural Gas and Propane are two widely used sources of fuel for furnaces. It’s good to think through some simple gas safety reminders as we head into the winter months. The most common danger associated with the use of natural gas and propane is the potential for leaks.

There are three ways to recognize a gas leak.Natural Gas Safety

  • By Smell:  An odorant, called Mercaptan, is added to Natural Gas and Propane to give it a sulfur, or rotten egg, smell.  If you smell sulfur, especially around gas appliances, you may have a gas leak.
  • By Sound:  A hissing sound coming from an outdoor meter or from a gas appliance often signals a leak.
  • By Sight:  Dead grass around an outdoor gas meter, bubbling water, or unusual blowing of dirt or debris can be a sign of a leak.

If you suspect a leak keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Open windows to allow fresh air into your home.
  • Check pilot lights on gas appliances to see if they are lit.
  • Don’t try to relight any pilot lights if the gas odor is still present.
  • If the smell of gas remains and grows stronger, leave the area immediately.
  • Do not light matches or flick light switches or flashlights as electric arcs might ignite the gas.
  • Call your local energy company to report the suspected gas leak.
  • If there is any uncertainty about the nature or severity of the leak call your local energy company for assistance.

Last, but not least, clear snow away from outside gas meters. Snow and ice can block vents and should be carefully cleared away so as not to damage gas piping.

Hopefully these simple winter gas safety reminders help to keep everyone safe and warm this winter.

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