Natural Gas Safety Tips

The DO’s and DON’T of gas safety

Natural gas is used by more than ten million Californian households as their main heating source. Natural gas is clean, efficient, and relatively safe. However, because there are potential dangers associated with natural gas usage, TURN recommends that consumers remember these safety tips.

DO:

  • Use your nose. If you ever detect even a small amount of the odor of natural gas in the air, don’t stay—get away. Then, contact your natural gas provider. If you don’t know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.
  • Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame, they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
  • Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.
  • Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
  • Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
  • Review these natural gas safety tips regularly with ALL family members and coworkers.
  • IT’S BEST TO BE SAFE: If you smell gas RIGHT NOW—don’t touch or turn off your computer—leave the area!

 

  • After you go someplace away from the odor, call your natural gas provider.

 

  • If you don’t know that number, dial emergency services, 9-1-1.

DON’T:

  • Ever let small children play with or near natural gas appliances or pipes, even the knobs on the oven or cooktop.
  • Use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home), under any circumstances.
  • Move or install a gas appliance or change the connector in any way without professional assistance.
  • Use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
  • Install a gas appliance yourself, unless you area a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.
  • Ever store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.

Gas Line Leaks

While rare, natural gas line leaks can be extremely dangerous. The most telling sign of a natural gas line leak is the familiar rotten egg odor the natural gas coming into the home has. This odor is added to the natural gas so it can be detected in the event of a leak.

The biggest hazard of a gas leak is an explosion. When natural gas builds up in an enclosed area, it becomes extremely volatile. A gas build up has the potential to be explosive, or could make those in the area very sick. Gas leaks in the home can be easily prevented by ensuring flexible gas lines are inspected regularly and installed properly by licensed professionals.

Gas leaks outside the home are dangerous as well. Most gas lines coming into the home are buried underground. Before doing any job that requires digging outside, homeowners should call the designated call before you dig call center line 8-1-1 at least 48 hours before digging. The utilities will be contacted and asked to mark the lines they own. After the lines have been marked, safe, careful digging can begin.

If you detect a strong gas odor, follow these tips:

  • Do not attempt to locate the leak.
  • Do not turn on or off any electrical appliances.
  • Do not smoke or use any open flames.
  • Leave the house and, from a safe distance, call the utility company and 9-1-1.
  • When digging outside, if a natural gas line is damaged, call the utility immediately. Do not attempt to repair the line.

By following these safety tips, natural gas can continue to be a safe and efficient source of energy for the home.