When natural gas leaks, whether it is from a pipeline or from a gas appliance that you have in your home, it can be a serious problem. Most gas leaks occur when pipes are damaged or if your appliances are aging. Gas leaks cannot be easily predicted and can occur any time or any place that there are gas appliances.
Gas leak dangers are increased if you have installed your gas appliances yourself (without proper knowledge and/or certification). There are very good reasons to hire a professional and licensed plumber for the installation of your gas appliances. One of the main reasons is that you could be putting not only your life and the lives of your family at risk, but also the homes that surround yours because gas can ignite and explode very easily. A professional gas plumber understands the proper methods for installation of gas appliances and how to ensure the safety of your home and family.
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There are very real dangers when it comes to gas leaks. Here are some of the most common ones:
Gas Leaks are Harmful to Your Health
Whether your gas leak is large or small, gas can build up in your environment over time. It can contaminate the air you breath and particularly in confined spaces. Gas leaks reduce the oxygen in the air, and this can cause you to have a hard time breathing. Breathing in natural gas can make you feel dizzy, tired, nauseous and cause serious headaches. If you breathe in large amounts of gas it can even cause memory loss, coordination issues and a loss of consciousness. You may experience nose bleeds, depression, poisoning or symptoms similar to the flu. Since carbon monoxide is a by-produce of natural gas if this builds up in your bloodstream you may experience tissue damage. Since carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to detect, damage may occur before you even know what is happening.
Gas Leaks May Cause Fires and Explosions
When gas is combined with any flammable substance it can be dangerous. Gas is odourless and easily dissipates, creating a potential source of danger. When gas meets a spark, it can cause an explosion or a fire.
May Destroy Vegetation and Plants
If there is a gas leak and it moves through the soil is can cause chlorosis which is a condition in plants where they lose their colour. If not rectified, plant cells die, and plants will dry up and die as a result of root asphyxiation which is caused by the plant being deprived of oxygen.
It Can Kill Animals
If gas appliances leak, they can emit carbon monoxide which can poison animals. Household pets will likely succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning before the humans in the household. Some of the warning signs are that your pet is weak and sleepy. They may also have a hard time breathing or vomit and have a seizure.
It can Harm the Environment
One of the main components of natural gas is methane. This greenhouse gas absorbs infrared radiation from the earth’s surface. Methane gas can cause the atmosphere to warm up and is 100 times more destructive to the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Global warming leads to heat waves, massive rainfall, water shortages, fires and droughts. It also contributes to the melting of glaciers which causes pollutants to be released into the atmosphere. This is devastating to the ecosystem of the coasts and when glacial waters containing contaminants make contact with the environment they can lead to environmental destruction.
What to do If You Suspect a gas Leak
If you believe that you have a gas leak, you should contact a professional to deal with it. If you try to deal with the problem yourself you could make the problem worse or there may be a fire, explosion or you may experience poisoning. It is the best idea to contact a licensed plumber immediately.
Gas leaks can occur when appliances are improperly installed. It is best to get in touch with a licensed professional plumber with gas fitting experience to deal with the issue. Since gas is odourless, you may not realize that gas is leaking, but there are plenty of ways to detect one. Certain chemicals known as mercaptans which smell like rotten eggs are added to gas which can make it easy to detect a leak. You might notice that your appliance is hissing or roaring which is an indication that it is leaking. If you notice that your stove flame is orange instead of blue or there is a white cloud or your electricity bill unexpectedly increases, these can all be signs of a gas leak. Whenever you suspect a gas leak, you must immediately call a professional to deal with the leak right away.
If you suspect that you have a gas leak in your home, you must act right away. Open all windows and doors to let fresh air into he home. Inhaling natural gas can be deadly. Never turn on any electrical appliances, light matches or smoke in your home if you suspect a gas leak. Put your pets outside and turn off your gas supply right away. Leave your home and contact help immediately. Let you gas supplier know that you are experiencing an issue and contact a licensed gas fitter to rectify the issue right away. It is important to never ignore a gas leak because it can be deadly. First and foremost, look out for yourself and your family and be safe until your leak can be located and rectified.