As of 2009, 25 per cent of the energy used in the U.S., totalling 22.84 trillion cubic feet originated from natural gas. Over half of the homes in the U.S. use natural gas for heating, cooking, clothes dryers and other appliances. Natural gas contains methane as its main ingredient, a highly flammable chemical which can leak into the atmosphere or inside your home from pipelines storage tanks. Since gas leaks can cause explosions and fires, knowing how to tell if your gas stove is leaking can save your life and the life of your family.
Smell the air around the stove or the room. If you smell something similar to rotten eggs, you may have a gas leak. Since natural gas has no odour, gas companies mix a sulphur-based substance with the gas to warn you of a gas leak, and sulphur has a rotten-egg odour.
Install a natural gas detector alarm to warn you of the presence of gas. Your gas detector should be installed where you can hear it anywhere in your home, and in a place like your basement, where natural gas accumulates. Install two gas detectors if your home has more than one source of natural gas.
Pay attention to how your body feels. Oxygen in your home decreases during a gas leak, resulting in feelings of nausea, dizziness, fatigue and headaches. You and your family can lose consciousness or die from high levels of natural gas in your home.
Mix 1/3 liquid dishwashing detergent with 2/3 water into a spray bottle. With gas running as usual through the stove burner, spray the solution around the pipe elbows, shut-off valves, pipe joints, and all fittings where gas may leak. You will see bubbles on the connections, if a gas leak exists. Turn off your gas stove if you have a gas leak and have your appliances serviced before you reuse them.
Leave your home immediately if you smell a natural gas leak or if your gas detector alarm sounds. Make calls from a neighbour's home, never from your own home--your phone and cell phone can produce a spark, causing an explosion. Call 911 or your gas company from outside, away from your home. Since your loved ones begin to lose their sense of smell when in their 70s, make certain they have natural gas detectors installed in their homes as recommended by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.