Safely Using Natural Gas
Your natural gas safety is a priority at Gas South. That’s why we’re here to give you tips on detecting gas leaks in your house or business, on what to do if you have a leak and how to prevent them.
Natural gas leaks can be a real threat. They can lead to fires, explosions or illness. If you suspect you have a leak, leave the area and call your utility company or 911 immediately.
How to Tell If You Have a Natural Gas Leak
The most common way to detect a gas leak is by its smell. A gas leak smells similar to rotten eggs. Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so a chemical called mercaptan is added to give it the distinctive, unpleasant smell as a warning.
You can also sometimes detect a leak by the hissing sound it creates as it escapes a damaged line, fitting or valve. If a leak is audible, it’s likely substantial and should be reported at once. Outside, discolored vegetation, bubbling water or soil that appears to blow can also indicate a compromised gas line beneath the ground.
How to Report a Natural Gas Leak
As we mentioned above, if you see, smell or hear a gas leak, leave the area immediately and alert the proper authorities. Customers in Georgia should call Atlanta Gas Light at 877-427-4321, or call 911.
It’s especially important you don’t use any devices that might create a spark, including lighters, light switches, phones or electrical appliances. Get yourself and others out of the vicinity.
How to Prevent a Gas Leak
Actively taking steps to prevent leaks is critical. Here are a few ways to prevent them around your home or business:
- Call 811 before you dig so underground lines can be marked.
- Have a professional inspect your gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines every year or two.
- Always enlist the help of a professional when moving or installing a gas appliance or changing a connector.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
- Never let small children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes.
Natural Gas Safety Tips
Preventing leaks is a huge consideration for natural gas safety, but there’s even more you can do to be proactive. Check out some of these tips:
- Check your pilot lights and burners for a steady, blue flame, which indicates they are working correctly. Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception—the flame is usually yellow.
- Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow proper airflow.
- Store household chemicals or combustible materials away from gas appliances.
- Don’t use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking—to heat your home, for instance.
- Always make sure natural gas space heaters are properly vented outside so fumes don’t build up indoors.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home or business to alert you of any elevated carbon monoxide gas levels. This harmful gas, which is odorless and tasteless, can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters and other heat sources.
- Be aware of potential impacts to your natural gas during cold and severe weather.
- Know the location of your meter. Experts advise not shutting the valve off during severe weather, but you’ll want to make sure it hasn’t been covered in ice or snow.
- Keep emergency information on-hand and readily available so you can immediately report any suspected natural gas leaks.
We hope you never have to deal with a gas leak. But if you do, we hope this guide helps keep you prepared for potential natural gas emergencies.