Gas leaks are serious hazards to human life and personal property. If you try to fix a gas leak yourself, you should be very careful and realize that you may not actually succeed in fixing it. However, if you choose to do the work yourself, there are a wide variety of ways to tell if you have fixed a gas leak. By detecting a leak, making sure appliances function properly, and consulting professionals, you’ll be able to verify if you’ve fixed a gas leak.
EditDetecting a Gas Leak
- Notice if you smell gas. The smell of gas is one of the best indications that you haven’t successfully fixed a gas leak. While you might not always be able to smell a leak, you should pay attention to see if you do notice the smell of leaking gas.
- Gas smells like Sulphur or “rotten eggs.”
- The smell of gas is made by mercaptan, an additive that is intended to help humans smell it.
- Shut off the master gas switch for your home and consider calling a professional if you smell gas. The gas main switch will be located next to your meter — usually on the side of your home.
- Use a carbon monoxide or gas detector. Carbon monoxide detectors and gas detectors are normally used to alert people to gas leaks in their homes and businesses. While most detectors are stationary devices meant to detect an accumulation of carbon monoxide or other fumes, you can purchase portable detectors.
- Position your stationary carbon monoxide detector near the repair you’ve made.
- If you have a portable detector, move it near (within several inches) to the repair.
- If there is a gas buildup near the detector, it will sound an alarm.
- Spray liquid gas detector or soapy water on a pipe or appliance. This works because the detector solution or soapy water will bubble due to the force of the leaking gas. Ultimately, this is a simple and effective way to find out if you’ve successfully fixed a gas leak.
- Commercially produced gas leak detector is specially formulated to stick to tight connections.
- If you want to create your own solution, try mixing a few drops of dish soap into a cup of water and spraying it onto the gas connection.
- If the solution bubbles, you likely failed to repair the leak.
- Gas detector may be available at your local home improvement store, specialty stores, or online.
EditMaking Sure Your Appliances Function Properly
- Check your gas appliances. If you’ve worked to fix an appliance, the best indication that you have not been successful is if the appliance doesn’t work. However, make sure to take a few precautions before turning on an appliance you’ve just fixed:
- Try to detect gas before turning it on by smelling, using a gas detector spray, or an electronic gas detector before powering your appliances on.
- Make sure the room is ventilated and has had time to air out before working an appliance.
- Call a licensed professional if you’ve failed to fix a leak.
- Verify that pilot lights on your appliances are burning strong. One of the best indications of an on-going gas leak is a weak pilot light. A weak pilot light may indicate low gas flow. In this event, your fix did not work.
- The pilot light should always be a blue transparent color.
- An orange or red pilot light is an indication of problems.
- If the pilot light turns off repeatedly, it is likely not getting enough gas and there may be a leak.
- Look for soot or scorch marks. If you have not fixed a leak, you may be able to spot soot or scorches on the outside of the appliance. Most of the time, these indications will be near the pilot light or connecting gas line.
- Scorch marks may be brown or black.
- Soot may be very fine and whitish grey.
EditBeing Safe and Consulting a Professional
- Ventilate the area. Both before and after you attempt to fix a gas leak, you need to make sure that the area is well-ventilated. If the area is not well-ventilated, you may have a potentially dangerous accumulation of gas.
- Open windows and doors.
- Allow an area to air out before re-entering it or turning on any appliances.
- Discontinue use of appliances and electrical devices. If you have any doubt that you’ve fixed the gas leak, you should not engage in any activity that could result in a gas explosion. This is important, as any fire or electronic activity could potentially ignite accumulated gas. Refrain from:
- Lighting matches or lighters.
- Operating electrical switches.
- Using telephones.
- Answering your cell phone or using other portable electronic devices.
- Leave the building. The second you suspect there is an ongoing gas leak, you should vacate the building at once. This is important, as gas leaks can quickly turn into gas explosions. In addition, you might also be overcome by the gas and lose consciousness.
- After exiting the building, stay at least 100 feet away.
- If safe, and if you know where it is, locate the gas shut off valve and turn off the gas for the premises.
- Call a professional. After exiting the building, you should call a professional to properly fix the gas leak. A professional will be able to quickly locate the source of the leak, fix it, and prevent harm to property or people.
- Call your gas company if you suspect the leak in your home or business is linked to a larger leak in their system.
- Inform the professional of any steps you’ve taken to fix the gas leak. If you’ve turned the main gas switch off, shut off gas to an appliance, added piping, or changed any substantial part of your gas system, they need to know.
- If you have an uncontrolled gas leak in your home or business, call local authorities immediately. For example, call 911 in the United States.