The origins of natural gas
Have you ever wondered where natural gas comes from to cook our food and heat our homes? Before we talk about gas line leaks, let’s review the origin of natural gas. What started as microscopic plants and animals is the starting substance for most of the natural gas used today. Millions of years ago, these living organisms absorbed energy from the UV rays, and their bodies stored that has carbon molecules.
Layers of sediment covered their bodies as they died and sank into the seas. This action resulted in creating organic feedstock that when they pressurized from compaction with the earth’s heat, natural gas was formed. Natural gas is a preferred choice for many when it comes to cooking and heating their homes. It is a clean-burning source of energy, and it can also be a dangerous product when there is a gas line leak. It is because of the dangers that a gas line leak can create that correct gas line installation is essential.
How can you tell if your gas line is leaking?
Gas lines are found above ground and underground, and over time, they can become corroded and deteriorate. Experts recommend having any natural gas lines inspected annually as a part of homeowner maintenance and offer the following signs that there is a gas line leak.
- Dead Indoor or Outdoor Plants and Vegetation: If you notice patches of dead plants or vegetation around your home’s exterior or plants are dying inside the home for no apparent reason, there may be a gas line leak.
- Hissing Noises: If there is a hissing noise around any gas lines, there is probably a gas line leak, and when the sounds are audible, it is a substantial leak.
- Rotten Egg or Sulphur Odor: Natural gas and propane are both colorless and odorless in the natural form. To give them the distinctive odor we smell, gas companies add mercaptan for safety purposes. If you notice a rotten egg or Sulphur order, there is a gas appliance or gas line leak.
- Bubbling: To confirm a gas line leak, you can mix dish soap with water then wipe across where you suspect a gas line leak. If there are bubbles, this confirms a gas line leak. You can pour this mixture on the ground anywhere that you suspect a gas line outside underground too.
- White Fog or Mist: An unusual cloud of fog o mist around your home could be indicating a gas line leak. Notify the gas company immediately to report a gas line emergency.
What is the reason for gas leakage?
All gas leaks are not always a gas line leak. They can often be from appliances that weren’t fitted or installed correctly, haven’t been maintained properly, or simply faulty, old appliances. Gas can leak from an appliance that is misfitted or the gas hose that connects to the appliance. Gas can leak around seals of older appliances too. When buying or renting a used appliance, it is recommended to have the gas connections and gas lines checked.
Is a small gas leak dangerous?
Any gas leak is dangerous because of the flammability of gas. No matter how small a gas line leak is, any flame or spark around can cause an explosion or fire. Make sure you know where and how to use gas line quick connect and disconnect in case of a gas leak. With this knowledge, you can disconnect a gas appliance or gas line quickly until you get the repair completed.
Will a CO detector detect a gas leak?
A carbon monoxide detector cannot detect methane, natural gas, or propane gas leaks by itself. A carbon monoxide detector has sensors that detect carbon monoxide, but not raw fuel or fumes. Gas line leaks from gas appliances aren’t the only potential source of a gas leak, but gas leaks can come from inbound water lines, natural gas wells, or sump pits too.
What can be more alarming about gas line leaks or any gas leak it that an explosion or fire can be started by turning a light off or on, setting the security alarm, or closing a door. Anything can create a spark that will cause an explosion or fire from a gas line leak or gas fumes.
How do you seal a gas line?
It is rare for a gas line leak to occur, but when it does, it needs to be addressed immediately because of how dangerous escaping natural gas can be with carbon monoxide exposure. The best action is to call a professional plumber or the gas company, but you can repair the leak yourself with the following steps:
- Shut the Gas Valve Off: Shutting off the gas valve will stop gas flow escaping into your home.
- Check for Cracks or Holes: Thoroughly inspect the gas line for hairline cracks and holes, deformities, and irregularities.
- Sealing the Cracks: From your local big box home improvement store or local plumbing store, purchase pipe sleeve that is rated for gas pipes, an epoxy resin-based material like fiberglass.
- Check the Pipe Threads: Pipe threads can loosen or warp over time, causing gas line leaks. Inspect the threads, making sure the connection is thorough. If not, try tightening the pipe to the connection and if that doesn’t work, replace the gas pipe.
- Test the Repairs and Replacement: With dish liquid and water in a spray bottle, spray every connect and gas line, leaks will be indicated by bubbles forming.
Need help with a potential gas leak in your home? Call the experts at (770) 672-0095 today.