How to Fix a Gas Leak In Your Home
All homes have gas lines running throughout them, connecting appliances to the natural gas pipelines in your area. If you smell a foul, rotten egg scent or see any discoloration at the base of your gas appliances, it could mean you have a gas leak.
Common Places for a Gas Leak
Gas leaks can typically be found in a variety of locations throughout the gas line system. The most common are:
• Near the fireplace, hot water heater or furnace. This is where natural gas generally enters your home. Those are also the appliances that homeowners use most often, so they’re more likely to be turned on when you notice a leak.
• Under sinks in the basement, if you have a natural gas line entering your home via pipes under the sink.
• Underneath appliances like stoves and dryers, where gas lines are often routed.
If you have a hard time locating the source of the leak, call your utility company or an outside professional to come in and help you. Do not turn on or use any appliances that may be leaking—the potential for explosion is high.
If you smell gas, there is a leak somewhere in your system. If the source cannot be located, evacuate the premises immediately and call for assistance. Do not use any appliances that are suspected to have leaked until they are checked by a professional.
Checking for Gas Leaks
If you’re not sure whether you have a gas leak, there are several indicators to look for to confirm your suspicions.
• Foul, rotten egg scent
• Discoloration at the base of your gas appliances. This can be either a rust color or even worse—a bright green if the leak is methane content.
• Small puddles beneath any leaking appliances or around exposed pipe joints/connections that are exposed to air.
• A hissing noise, which occurs when the gas is escaping.
Warning Signs of Possible Gas Leaks
It is important to note that some homes will also display warning signs of a possible natural gas leak even if there isn’t one. These warning signs include:
• Insect lore around your appliances or piping, especially near your hot water heater.
• Cracked or bubbled walls or floors that look like they’ve been burned by a cigarette.
• Your pilot light being constantly lit, even though you haven’t turned on your gas stove or furnace in ages. This can mean that there is a leak somewhere between the main valve and the appliance.
What to Do If You Detect a Gas Leak
Locate the source of the gas leak. If you cannot find the source, evacuate your home immediately and call for assistance. Make sure to leave doors open (or windows if it is wintertime) when you exit to provide ventilation. After you have evacuated, shut off the natural gas supply at the meter outside. This should be done by the natural gas company, but double-check to be sure.
If you can find the source of your leak, shut off appliances in your home one at a time until you have narrowed down where exactly the gas is coming from.
Who Can Repair a Gas Leak?
Plumbers and gas company specialists are generally the ones who repair gas lines. Gas companies are responsible for leaks on their side of the meter, while homeowners are responsible for leaks that span throughout the house. If you detect a foul odor in your home, it’s most likely a plumber that will have to fix it.
Normally, when a professional plumber arrives, they will ask “who/what/when/where” questions to save time locating your leak. If the problem is severe, they may turn off the gas right away. They’ll then perform proper testing to discover the source of the leak. Once the leak is located, they should be able to give you a price for the repair that is needed and set a possible timeframe for repairs and inspections.