Over 65 million households in the United States use natural gas to power gas appliances like furnaces and gas stoves. The gas will only emit water vapor and carbon dioxide with proper combustion, making natural gas a clean energy source. However, a natural gas leak is a dangerous situation.
You might ask yourself, “How dangerous is a gas leak?” Below is a brief guide outlining the adverse effects gas leaks can have on homes and people’s health.
7 Effects of a Gas Leak on Your Body and Home
Improper combustion of natural gas can produce carbon monoxide (CO). It is a colorless, odorless gas that is incredibly flammable and dangerous to inhale. Prolonged exposure to CO can result in death, which is why many states require carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties.
How dangerous is a gas leak? It could cause severe short-term and long-term issues for your body and home, which you can learn about below.
Carbon monoxide poisoning will produce several adverse health effects. During a small leak, you could experience fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds. Inhaling the combustion by-product can also lead to difficulty breathing and chest pains and cause asphyxiation in severe cases.
Sometimes, gas appliances break down and slowly release CO into the air. You might not realize you have a gas leak right away. You could experience long-term effects due to prolonged CO exposure, such as memory loss, unexplained vision issues, insomnia, and mood swings.
2. Skin Irritations
Aside from feeling unwell and having breathing difficulties, it’s possible to see the effects of a gas leak on your skin. Due to carbon monoxide poisoning, some people experience skin blistering or necrotic wounds on their hands, back, legs, and ankles. Severe poisoning can turn the skin to a bright-red cherry color or cause numbness.
3. Unhealthy Houseplants
Gas leaks can also affect the health of houseplants. The air will have more methane from the escaping gas instead of oxygen. With carbon monoxide filling the home and reducing indoor air quality, plants will struggle to absorb enough oxygen to survive.
You might notice plants wilting, yellowing, or dying near the source of the leak. Moderate or severe gas leaks will produce noticeable effects on houseplants, while minor gas line issues can cause negative results over time.
Gas leaks can also affect outside plants. Gas pipes run from underground lines into your home appliances. If a leak occurs outdoors, the gas will absorb oxygen and cause grass and shrubbery around the affected area to turn yellow or shed dead leaves.
4. Air Bubbles in Yard
Gas leaks can also affect your yard. Since leaks can occur in underground lines and gas appliances, the escaping gas could seep through the soil and push air bubbles through muddy areas or puddles in your yard.
An underground gas leak in your yard doesn’t mean your home is safe. Gas is highly combustible, no matter where it escapes. Get assistance immediately.
5. Foul Odors
Like CO, natural gas is colorless and odorless. Gas companies add a chemical called Mercaptan to their lines to give gas an unpleasant odor so that customers can identify leaks quicker.
Mercaptan’s smell resembles a sulfuric, rotten egg odor. If your home is in the early stages of a gas leak, the house will smell foul with no discernable cause. You should leave your home immediately and contact a plumbing professional.
6. High Gas Bill
A sudden spike in gas bills could result from a natural gas leak. Sometimes small leaks occur due to poor maintenance or installation of gas appliances, low-grade pipe fittings, and outdoor line breaks. Since more gas is leaving the lines more quickly, you could spend more on your monthly bill than necessary.
7. Fire or Explosion
A natural gas leak can have devastating consequences on your home and well-being. Since the gas is combustible, it could ignite inside the house and cause a catastrophic fire or explosion. Not only could the leak decimate the property, but it can also cause severe injuries or death.
Unfortunately, some people don’t realize their home has a gas leak, especially if the leak is small and persists for a while. Over time, enough gas could build up that something as small as the pilot light on a gas stove could cause a fire or explosion. A gas leak fire could cause other gas-run appliances like water heaters and fireplaces to explode as well.
How to Check for a Gas Leak
If you’re unsure if your home has a gas leak, you could check the gas line. Signs of damage like tears or bends usually indicate a leak, requiring immediate attention. However, leaks can occur without producing visible signs of damage to gas lines.
Since carbon monoxide and other gases require an airtight space for containment, you can use your other senses to determine if your need a qualified plumbing service to address a gas leak. For instance, if you smell rotten eggs or see a haze around the gas line, you have a serious problem on your hands.
Premium Gas Line Services in San Diego, CA
Sometimes, gas leaks can occur for weeks or months before someone notices, significantly increasing the risk of illness or property damage. That is why it’s crucial to get gas leak detection service by Core Plumbing.
As one of the top licensed plumbing contractors serving San Diego, CA, and the surrounding areas, our emergency plumbers are available 24/7. We have years of experience providing gas pipe services, including leak detection, piping repair, and installation. Our expert team knows the dangers of gas leaks and will quickly identify the source of a leak and take prompt action to prevent future problems.
Reach Out to Core Plumbing
How dangerous is a gas leak to your health and property? A leak could produce life-altering damages, so don’t hesitate to contact Core Plumbing in San Diego, CA, for emergency assistance. Call (858) 293-4110
to request service and learn more about gas pipe leak signs here.