There’s no beating around the bush with this one; gas leaks can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening. With around 60 deaths occurring each year as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, we all need to be on the lookout for possible leaks and do everything in our power to prevent them.
When asking the question, how dangerous are gas leaks?, the truth is, very! As soon as you spot any warning signs of a leak, you should report it to the correct bodies straight away so it can be looked into and stopped as soon as possible.
How Dangerous Are Gas Leaks? Your Questions Answered
There are many questions you may have surrounding this topic, due to the severity and ability for it to happen to anyone. Having worked as plumbers in Milton Keynes for many years now, we are often asked about the seriousness of gas leaks and are always more than happy to advise our customers on the best ways to stop it from happening.
As this is a topic that regularly comes up, we have put together a complete guide to spotting and preventing gas leaks, to hopefully answer all of your questions.
What Are The Signs Of A Gas Leak?
While it’s common for a gas leak to emanate a pungent smell, this isn’t always the case, and few people are actually aware of the other important signs. As a homeowner or tenant, it’s vital to remain alert and take note of any red flags before it’s too late.
- Strong Smell – As mentioned, this is the most common warning sign that gas may be escaping somewhere within your home or externally. The smell is compared to that of rotten eggs, so if this odour presents itself anywhere in or around your home, you should report it immediately. Natural gas is actually odourless on its own, so the chemical mercaptan, which gives off the familar egg smell, is added by gas companies to ensure that it can be detected.
- Change In Boiler Lights – If the pilot light on your boiler changes and turns an orange or yellow colour, this could be a sign of a serious problem. If this is the case, you must call a gas safe engineer to take a look at your appliance and check that there is no gas leak.
- Scorching – If you notice any unusual scorch marks or soot settling around an appliance, this could indicate a gas leak and should be checked by a professional as soon as possible.
- Excessive Condensation – A slightly more subtle sign but important nonetheless, the appearance of more condensation than usual on your windows could indicate that there is a gas leak somewhere within your home.
- Dying Houseplants – As well as houseplants, a gas leak can kill your lawn and shrubbery outside. If plant life appears to be dying or wilting for no apparent reason, a gas leak may well be the cause.
- Higher Gas Bills – If your gas bill seems considerably more than usual, yet you’ve done nothing different, it could be that gas is leaking somewhere within your home.
- Hissing Sounds – When gas is escaping from a defective or broken pipe, it can often cause a hissing sound as it seeps out. This can also be heard around appliances such as ovens, washers and dryers if a specific fitting is causing the problem. While unusual sounds from pipes or appliances may not definitely signify a gas leak, it’s worthwhile having it checked by a qualified plumber.
- Change In Flame Colour – The colour of the flames on your gas cooker should always be a crisp blue. If you’ve noticed that they have changed to an orange or yellow colour, this could mean that gas is leaking.
How Can I Prevent A Gas Leak?
Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to prevent the chances of a gas leak occurring within your home. By staying ahead of the game and keeping on top of any gas appliances, you’ll keep your property and everyone in it safe and secure.
Check Appliances Regularly
Any appliances that use gas should be checked periodically to ensure their safety. Having your appliances checked and serviced is imperative to avoid serious problems and prevent potential gas leaks in their tracks. Appliances that fall into this bracket include gas heating systems, boilers, cookers and fires – as well as anything else in your home that utilises gas.
Guidance from the HSE suggests that homeowners should have their appliances checked in line with manufacturer guidelines, or annually if no particular period is identified. As well as having your appliances checked regularly by a professional, it’s definitely worth giving them a once over yourself every now and again, to ensure there are no scorch marks or other signs of a gas leak – such as a rotten egg smell or hissing sound.
Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector
This is something that we recommend every homeowner installing in their property. Carbon Monoxide detectors are really inexpensive and will alert you to a gas leak before you may have even noticed any of the warning signs. If you aren’t sure where it would need to be placed, take a look at this article from The Spruce listing some great tips on installing and maintaining a carbon monoxide detector.
Use An Accredited Engineer For Fittings
It is extremely important to have your appliances checked and fitted by an accredited and gas safe engineer, to ensure that the job is being done to industry standards. Having carried out boiler fittings in Milton Keynes for a number of years, we know exactly what it takes to fit and service a gas appliance safely. There are many things that could go wrong if you choose someone who isn’t sufficiently qualified or accredited – which will ultimately put yours and your family’s lives in danger. It just isn’t worth it, so make sure that you find someone who is gas safe registered before contacting them to fit or service your appliance.
What Should I Do If I Suspect A Leak?
- Turn off gas supply – Do this at your gas meter to ensure that no more gas is allowed to escape. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the location of your gas meter incase you ever need to do this in the future. If you aren’t sure how to turn off your gas meter, take a look at this helpful guide from EDF Energy.
- Open windows and doors – You should now open all windows and doors to allow fresh air to disperse any gas within your home. Leave them all open so air continues to flow around your property and rid as much gas as possible.
- Do not use appliances – Even if it’s dark, do not turn on any lights or be tempted to use any appliance at all. This even goes for doorbells and phones, as there’s a chance that any electrical component could cause an explosion.
- Evacuate the property – Once you have done everything in your power to make your house as safe as it can be, evacuate your property, taking a mobile phone with you.
- Call emergency number – Once outside, call the national gas emergency number and notify them of your suspected gas leak. They will then be able to take action, following procedures to ensure that your home is kept safe and any gas leak is stopped.
Stop Gas Leaks In Their Tracks
It’s vitally important never to ignore the signs of a gas leak, no matter how insignificant they may seem. If you notice scorch marks, a strange smell, hear hissing or your plants are dying; call a gas safe registered plumber or the emergency gas number listed above to put your mind at rest. Make sure that you do everything necessary to prevent a gas leak from occurring, by keeping your appliance servicing up to date and checking them yourself every so often for warning signs.
Neglecting to check fittings and report red flags really isn’t worth the risk, so make sure that you’re on the ball and ahead of the game when it comes to protecting your home and family from the devastating effects of a gas leak. If you are ever worried that there may be a gas leak in your home, don’t hesitate to call the team here at Bishop Plumbing; we will be happy to advise you on the best course of action. Why not share our article on social media to make sure all of your loved ones are sufficiently protected against this silent killer.