If your home appliances or heating system run on gas, then you must be ever-vigilant as a homeowner. The dangers of a hidden gas leak are genuine. According to current plumbing code requirements, carbon monoxide detectors are required within 10 feet of all sleeping rooms in a residential household. Most homes do not abide by this requirement, though. As such, many people are at risk during a gas leak. Gas and carbon monoxide have been called “the silent killer” for a reason. As the gas spreads through the house, it can lead to headaches, queasiness, loss of consciousness, and worse. If you suspect a gas leak, take the matter seriously.
Dangers of a Hidden Gas Leak
As we said, there is a multitude of dangers and symptoms associated with a gas leak. You would do well for yourself and your family to seriously consider the dangers and take action immediately. If you notice any of the following side effects, leave the premises immediately, call the utility company, and visit your physician for a complete check-up.
- Headaches – If you have recently experienced sudden or unexplainable headaches, there may be a gas leak in your home. The headaches may worsen as you sit in one room, which could be where the gas leak originates. If the headache goes away when you get some fresh air, there is a high chance of a gas leak.
- Dizziness – People exposed to a natural gas leak tend to experience sudden onset nausea or a feeling of vertigo as time passes.
- Breathing Trouble – As your exposure to a gas leak worsens, you may start noticing a tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, irregular breathing, and potentially death. The natural gas literally sucks the air from your lungs, replacing it with deadly carbon monoxide.
- Odors – While perhaps not as harmful as other signs or symptoms, the smell of rotten eggs, which is a good indication of a gas leak, can be sickening to many people.
Signs of a Gas Leak
The telltale signs of a gas leak can be broken down into three categories that you should be quite in-tune with: smell, sound, and sight. Your top three senses will be the primary indicators of a gas leak in your home.
- Smells – Natural gas is odorless. However, gas companies add in chemicals to indicate gas leaks. The chemical in question, mercaptan, is known to have a rotten egg-like odor.
- Sounds – Depending on the location of the gas leak, you may notice a slight hissing sound coming from the damaged pipe. This noise is common with air or gas escaping through a crack or burst.
- Sight – A significant leak in a natural gas line would create a noticeable disturbance around your home. You might spot dust or dirt blowing around, dead patches of grass, and light objects moving about with the air.