7 Tips for Patching a Natural Gas Leak
Natural gas leaks can be categorized into three basic types: outside leaks, inside leaks and leaks due to fires. Each type has its own concerns and dangers but inside gas leaks present the greatest danger due to their potential for explosion. While natural gas itself is not toxic, it has the ability to displace oxygen and cause asphyxiation when present in larger quantities. Natural gas leaks have the potential of causing mass casualties and must be appropriately and safely patched to avoid all hazards.
Evacuate The Premises
Identify a suspected natural gas leak and turn off individual gas burners, natural gas operated clothes dryers and ovens. Duly clear and secure the area of inhabitants. Natural gas leaks can be identified with a distinctive odor and accompanying roaring, whistling or hissing sounds. Ensure all family members, pets and children are removed to safer areas.
Do Not Switch on Lights
Eliminate all sources of ignition, including electrical devices/equipment and matches from the area. Do not operate an electrical switch or even use a telephone near the leak. They all pose an explosion risk in the case of a natural gas leak. Your primary focus should be evacuating yourself, your family and all others from the source of the leak.
Do Not Ventilate The Premise
The natural inclination in natural gas buildups is to ventilate the area by opening doors and windows. There is no need to do this. Your top priority is to get out as quickly as possible.
Switch Off The Gas Supply
Finally turn off the main gas supply or the gas meter shutoff valve if it is located outside the primes. The main shut off valve is typically located near the natural gas meter. It is a knob or handle. Always keep a 12-inch wrench nearby to shut off the valve. The valve must be perpendicular to the gas pipeline to be in “off” position. Newer natural gas furnaces and appliances come equipped with electrical switches that typically lie on a wall close to the appliance. Find the switch and flick it off.
Notify The Utility Company
Notify the gas utility company in the event of a leak, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. They will dispatch gas service technicians who will visualize and check all natural gas connections, valves and appliances and take appropriate repair action.
Notify The Fire Company
Notify the fire company in case of a large leak or the unfortunate event of a natural gas leak-caused fire. Ensure you and all others are at a considerably safe distance from the source of the leak. The fire company will appropriately cap the leak and sufficiently ventilate the area. They will inform you when it is safe to return to the building.
Call a Licensed Professional
Telephone a licensed professional who is familiar with natural gas. Not only will he/she patch the leak (if minor) but will check all other gas pipes and ensure they are in optimal working condition. Do not attempt to repair a leak with a temporary patch. This may further aggravate the problem instead of solving it.