Indoor Air Quality "Gas Leaks"
Definition: Natural gas is a combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases. While natural gas is formed primarily of methane, it can also include ethane, propane, butane and pentane.
Why is natural gas a concern for you as a property owner?
- Can cause poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
- Sickness or death from carbon monoxide poisoning
- At higher concentrations symptoms can include impaired vision and coordination, headache, chest pains, nausea, and dizziness
- Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home/building
- Carboxyhemoglobin in blood, inhibits oxygen intake
- Explosions (although rare, possible)
Where is natural gas found?
- Residential-heating, cooling, heating water, cooking
- Commercial-similar to residential uses
- Electric Generation-power plants
- Industrial-lighting, waste treatment, base ingredients for products such as plastics, fertilizer, anti-freeze & fabrics
Unique Qualities of natural gas
- colorless, shapeless, odorless-in it's pure form
- Combustible-gives off energy
- Clean burning
- Most useful of all energy sources
What can be done about it?
- Make sure gas appliances are installed & vented properly
- Keep appliances in clean, & good working order
- Annual inspections by qualified technician
- Keep all combustible materials away from furnaces, water heaters or other ignition sources
- Install home gas meter at home centers, $35-$50 (a separate detector is needed for carbon monoxide)
Natural gas is odorless. However, gas companies add a "rotten egg" smell that usually can be easily detected when gas leaks. If you smell natural gas or suspect a gas leak, it is important to act quickly:
- Leave the premises immediately, opening doors and extinguishing any open flames, if possible.
- Do not unplug or plug in any electrical appliances, or turn off or on any light switches. This can cause a spark that could cause an explosion.
- Call your gas company or 9-1-1 from a neighbor's phone. Operating a telephone (including cell phones) in your home can also cause a spark.
- Do not smoke or light matches near your home. And be careful with some flashlights, as turning them on may cause a spark.
- Do not re-enter your home until a gas company official has inspected the premises, made any necessary repairs, and deemed it safe.