The signs and symptoms of a natural gas leak

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The signs and symptoms of a natural gas leak
Noise from an appliance may alert you of a natural gas leak. (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Natural gas is widely used in the UK for heating and cooking. However, natural gas is not without danger. A natural gas leak creates a fire hazard and poses a danger for those in the vicinity of the leak. Identifying the symptoms and signs of a gas leak allows individuals to keep themselves out of harm's way.

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Smell

A natural gas leak is often evidenced by a smell similar to rotten eggs. Natural gas has no odour or colour. The scent is added to the gas by the natural gas utility provider as a safety precaution.

Other symptoms

Additional symptoms of a natural gas leak include irregular noises near a gas appliance, air bubbles in puddles on the ground outside the home, and plants growing near the gas line that are dead or turning brown. These all can indicate the presence of natural gas nearby. Leaking natural gas releases deadly carbon monoxide. People may succumb to the odourless fumes without even realising. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide include tiredness, heart palpitations, headache and dizziness.

Safety and prevention

In the event of a natural gas leak, observe a few precautions. Get out of the building. Phone both the gas company and emergency personnel from a location outside of the home with the leak. Don't try to power appliances on or off, as gas leaks present an explosive danger. Avoid smoking or lighting a flame, as this can spark a fire. When connecting appliances to the gas line, use certified flexible connectors and have them installed by a trained plumbing or heating and ventilation professional.

Natural gas detectors

Consider installing a natural gas detector in homes where natural gas is used. These detectors function like smoke detectors, alerting occupants when potential danger is detected. Detectors are available from DIY centres or other retailer. Choose a detector that detects a low level of natural gas and position the device where it can be heard by those in the home.

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