Most Australian homes use natural gas for cooking. It is often used for heating, cooling and to power outdoor lights, fireplaces, barbecues and many other residential appliances.
It is widely popular because the temperature of natural gas can easily be controlled, it is simple to install and most of all, it is energy-efficient.
But despite all these advantages, there is a downside to using it, particularly, when it isn’t sealed tight inside pipes.
CO Exposure Is Potentially Fatal
Natural gas contains carbon monoxide which is toxic to humans. An undetected gas leak, especially in an area with poor ventilation, will spread CO and reduce oxygen in the air.
When you breathe in this gas and it gets in your bloodstream, your body will start replacing the oxygen in your blood with carbon monoxide. The CO will prevent oxygen from getting to your brain until you lose consciousness. Exposure to CO is potentially fatal.
Watch out for these symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Difficulty or irregular breathing
- Fuzzy vision
- Throwing up
- Paleness of skin
It Causes Lung Problems
Exposure to gas leaks even in small amounts can lead to respiratory problems. The nitrogen dioxide it contains can inflame the lungs and narrow breathing passages. Prolonged exposure can cause fluid to build up in your lungs and lead to chemical pneumonia.
It aggravates the condition of those with pre-existing lung problems and allergies. Consistent and regular exposure to gas leaks can lead you to develop asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough, respiratory infections and impaired lung function.
It Worsens Chemical Sensitivity
Chemicals emitted in a gas leak can aggravate chemical sensitivity. For people who don’t have this condition, gas leak exposure can lead to intolerance not just to the mixture of compounds in natural gas but even to other chemicals found in the environment.
It Can Trigger A Fire Or Explosion
Natural gas contains methane with small amounts of other hydrocarbons. This makes it a highly volatile substance especially when mixed with air. The smallest flame or spark in a house with an undetected gas leak could cause a fire or explosion.
How To Recognize A Gas Leak In Your Home
Natural gas doesn’t have any smell, color or taste which makes leaks hard, even impossible to detect. Good thing utility companies add mercaptan to the gas, a harmless chemical mixed with natural gas to make it smell like sulphur, thus easier to detect.
So if you smell something that’s akin to rotten eggs, that’s a gas leak right there.
Gas leaks are also often accompanied with a hissing or whistling sound. Check the gas line connection for any visible signs of damage. Another subtle sign of a gas leak includes dying plants near the area for no obvious reasons.
What NOT To Do If You Suspect A Gas Leak
But even with mercaptan, you might still not be able to smell anything if the leak is very small. Gas leaks are not always accompanied by a hissing sound either. If ignored or not handled carefully, gas leaks can cause significant damage to life and property.
If you suspect there’s a gas leak in your home, avoid doing the following:
- Touching or turning on electrical household appliances.
- Making phone calls in the area—phones can create a spark.
- Turning the lights off or on.
- Repairing the leak yourself.
What To Do If You Suspect A Gas Leak
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Open up the windows to let out the gas.
- Turn off the gas meter (only if you know how to do it).
- Leave your house and call a qualified gas plumber Melbourne to visit your home and inspect indoor and outdoor pipelines, locate the leak and get it fixed.
- Wait for your professional gas plumber to tell you when it is safe to return to your home.
How To Prevent Gas Leaks From Happening Again
Prevention is always better than cure. Most leaks are preventable and are often the result of mistakes or carelessness during line installation, old appliances and pipelines, lack of regular inspections. It also happens when your appliance has not been hooked up correctly. As such, make sure to hire an experienced master plumber and gas fitter for safe oven installation in Melbourne.
To avoid gas leaks, it’s important to have a qualified contractor inspection your pipelines and appliances every year. Also make sure the appliance you are using is design-certified.
When you cook, it’s best to use your back burners as it sits directly under the range hood. Open the windows or turn on the fan. The color of the gas flame must be blue. If it’s orange, you need to adjust your stove.
Also remember not to line the inner part of your oven with aluminum foil. These things might sound small and simple, but it can save your life and property.
Don’t put your property, health and life at risk. For fast, expert and safe gas plumbing services, give us a call at 03 9636 0156 now.