Just in Time for Winter: Gas Leaks and Safety Tips

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Updated May 29, 2019

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.

How to Identify a Gas Leak

There are three ways to recognize a gas leak.

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.

What to Do If You Suspect a Gas Leak

If you suspect a gas leak, follow these instructions:

  • 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 emergency company to report the suspected gas leak.
  • Clear snow away from outside gas meters.

If you are uncertain about the nature or severity of the gas leak, call your local emergency company for assistance.

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

Wilson Kehoe Winingham brings you this information with best regards for you and your family’s safety.

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