How To – Home Safety Detecting Natural Gas Leaks

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    Natural and other combustible gasses in your home are often a necessity but using them safely requires both knowledge and care.

    Natural Gas is delivered to our homes through underground pipelines that run across our country and branch feeders that traverse many of our local streets. Propane gas is delivered to our homes by trucks and stored in large steel containers.

    Both of these energy sources are very close in their makeup so close that manufacturers of stoves, water heaters and other items that use these gasses often include a retrofit kit to allow conversion between the two products.

    Both products are considered orderless and a scent is introduced in production to allow the consumer to sense the presence of gas leaks. If you have a problem detecting the odor of gas then a detector is a must. We will talk about the different types of gas detectors later.

    To the right is a personal gas detector that can be used to detect leaks in your home and also on BBQ Hookups.


    The first thing you should know is both propane and natural gas are delivered under a relatively low pressure. At the street most gas services are under 25 PSI or pounds per square inch.

    This is important because this low flow rate allows you to take precautions.

    If you smell gas in your home you should take the following steps.

    Alert everyone in the home that there is a possible gas leak. Tell everyone to leave the building immediately until you can discover the problem. Remember to bring your pets but your safety is first so do not fight with your animals if they are hiding and won’t come immediately.

    If you believe you or your home is in danger call your fire department.

    Notify your neighbors for their safety.

    Extinguish any and all flames.

    Open your windows and doors but do not place electric fans in the home because that could cause a spark and ignition.

    Try to detect the general area of the gas odor. Is it coming from your kitchen, basement, gas fireplace or other location.

    If possible turn your gas service off where it enters your home. It is important to ask your Gas Service Professional how to do this at your meter which is usually located outside of your home. This may require use of tools. If so ask a neighbor for help.

    This list of things to do should never supersede the instructions of your gas company, fire marshal or any other official ALWAYS DEFER TO OFFICIALS.

    Detecting Gas Leaks

    The first method of Gas Leak detection is most important to home owners.

    Gas Leak Alarms are similar to a smoke or carbon monoxide detector. They can be installed independently of your alarm system or can be interconnected.  The instillation of a Gas Leak detector is very important in basements that contain Gas Line, Gas Furnaces, Gas Water Heaters.

    Natural and Propane Gas are heavier then Air so a Gas leak in your basement may result in the filling of your basement with toxic levels of gas. If you were to enter a room full of Natural or Propane Gas you would not be able to breath and would soon be overcome.

    It is always a good idea to include a Gas Detector near a furnace or water heater if it is located anyplace within your home. It may sound strange to some but in many locations heaters are often located in an external closet space off the back or side of the building.  If you place a detector in these locations then you should have it wired to your homes central alarm system, hopefully with a specific sound alert to let you know where the problem exists.

    Contractor Leak Detectors

    This type of detector can sense very small gas leaks and will be used by the contractor to sniff around line connections and appliances for internal leaks.

    There are personal hand held models that a home owner can purchase for under $50 but for diagnoses of specific problems a professional device that can be calibrated is best.

    Final Note

    Never take a chance with your or your families life. If you smell gas then get out of the home immediately and call for help. Once professionals arrive you can deal with finding the cause and any problems that need to be repaired.

    The YouRepair Store sells a full line of Home Alarm Gas Detectors and Personal and Professional Hand Model Detectors.

    Fire Safety & Home Security

    Fire Safety

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