Paul's Plumbing Tips

How to Tell if Your Home Has a Gas Leak

A gas leak in the home, even if it's somewhat small, should never be ignored. Not only is gas flammable, but the fumes are also very hazardous to your health. A gas plumber should be called at the first sign of a leak, so note how to tell if your home has a problem with the gas heater or other such lines.

You Notice Bad Smells

A rotten egg or sulphur smell is the most obvious sign of a gas leak, but don't assume you'll notice this smell as soon as you walk through the front door; you might only notice it when using your home's hot water taps or when in the shower. This often happens when the gas leaks into the hot water heater and mixes with the water, so you then notice the smell when the water circulates through the lines. If your home's water has any type of odd or unpleasant smell, have the lines checked for a gas leak and the water tested for contamination as well.

Note, too, that you may notice an overwhelming smell of gas when you use a gas appliance, such as the stove or fireplace. A slight odour may be normal, but if you notice that smell becoming stronger than before, it's good to check the lines for a leak.

Discoloured Flames

If your home has a gas stove or gas fireplace, always be sure to note the colour of the flame when these are in use. A healthy flame should have a bright, bold blue colour. If the flame is yellow or orange in tint, this often means that there is more gas being delivered to the line than the appliance can burn off, signalling a gas leak.

You Experience Physical Symptoms

Being exposed to gaseous fumes can mean headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, difficulty focusing, and even vision problems. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any potential health conditions, but also consider your home environment, and especially if you don't keep the windows open very often, so that gas fumes from a leak build up in the home.

You might also note if you experience these symptoms when at home, but have them subside when you leave, which might indicate that your home is the cause of your symptoms. Don't ignore these problems or assume better ventilation is the answer, but see your doctor and then call a gas plumber to have the lines inspected for leaks.