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A Homeowner's Guide to Gas Leak Prevention

Natural gas offers an effective and efficient power source for many household appliances and systems. However, this power source is not without its risks. In fact, a natural gas leak represents a serious health and safety hazard if left undetected or unrepaired.

While dangerous gas leaks occur infrequently, it's important that you know how to prevent them and address them should one occur in your home. In this blog, we discuss the steps you can take to prevent and detect gas leaks.

What Causes Gas Leaks?

Most often, gas leaks occur due to incorrect installation of gas appliances, inadequate maintenance of gas appliances or corrosion of important gas-fitting components. Additionally, gas leaks can occur when a storm or natural disaster shifts or breaks the gas lines.

Unless your gas leak stems directly from a hail storm or earthquake, it likely stems from a problem that appears invisible to the untrained eye that has developed for some time.

Where Do Gas Leaks Occur?

Gas leaks can appear anywhere in a home powered by natural gas. However, leaks tend to occur in the following areas:

  • HVAC ductwork for a natural gas heating system
  • Kitchen, especially around the stove
  • Laundry rooms
  • Near gas fireplaces, heaters or stoves
  • Utility closets or basements

Because of the process by which most gas leaks form, many appear in the same parts of a system or appliance. When checking for a gas leak or requesting leak-detection services, look at these components first:

  • Ducts
  • Elbow pipes
  • Heat elements on a stovetop
  • Gas supply lines
  • Seals

If you worry about future gas leaks and want to perform specific prevention tasks, have a qualified gas fitter look at your appliances and home. This professional can help you identify the sections of your home with the highest risk of developing a leak.

What Can You Do to Prevent Gas Leaks?

While gas leaks can seem scary, you can prevent almost all leaks by taking routine safety precautions. Take the following steps to decrease the risk of a gas leak in your home.

Have All Gas Appliances Installed Professionally

If you aren't familiar with the way that gas sources and appliances work, it's easy to make small installation mistakes that can create dangerous circumstances later on. Do not attempt to move, service or install a gas appliance yourself.

Instead, have a certified gas fitter complete the task for you to ensure all connections stay secure.

Keep the Area Around Gas Appliances Ventilated

Some gas emergencies occur due to poor ventilation. Proper ventilation reduces gas build-up, which keeps your appliances in good condition and gives you more time to detect a leak before it becomes dangerous.

Learn How to Operate Your Gas Systems Safely

Not all gas appliances and systems operate exactly the same. Read the user manual and any manufacturer's instructions before you light your gas systems for the first time to ensure that you don't contribute to wear and tear that may lead to future leaks.

In addition to the steps listed above, install a carbon monoxide detector, and talk to your gas fitter about the signs of a leak to ensure you feel prepared for any future issues.

If you suspect a gas leak, call your trusted gas fitter, and use the information on our  FAQ page  to control the situation until professionals arrive. If you believe the situation to be life threatening, call 000 immediately.

Use the strategies listed above to ensure that the natural gas in your home powers your appliances safely for years to come.

For more information about your home's plumbing, electrical and gas systems, browse our  blog section .

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