The Silent Dangers of Gas Leaks (And How to Stop Them Before They Start)

Gas leaks can happen slowly over many years, making routine inspections and maintenance critical for detecting problems before they become dangerous.

It begins with an ominous whiff of rotten eggs. Or maybe a faint hissing sound behind the oven. However it starts, a gas leak is bad news. Don’t wait around to see where it leads.

I know, I know. Gas conjures up thoughts of explosions like some action movie. But it’s so easy to ignore a minor leak…until it’s too late.

Luckily, you can dodge disaster with some simple prevention steps. After many years in the plumbing business, we’ve learned leaks don’t appear out of nowhere. Follow this handy checklist to sniff out and stop gas leaks before the situation goes from stinky to downright dangerous.

Give Appliances the Side-Eye

Old ovens and failing water heaters cause more leaks than you’d think. Anything over 10-15 years needs inspection. Catching a corroded pipe or cracked seal early makes a simple fix. But appliances past their prime? Don’t take chances. Replace them.

Seal Up Pipe Connections

Sealant is your friend when it comes to natural gas pipe connections. Leaks will make themselves pungently obvious with a nasty rotten egg smell, fortunately, a thin layer of pipe sealant will stop leaks in their tracks. When selecting a pipe sealant, however, ensure that it is rated for use with natural gas to have lasting solutions.

Keep Tabs on Buried Pipelines

Underground gas lines can go ignored for long periods of time. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Corrosion and damage in underground pipelines spells danger. Have these lines inspected once per year, and especially if you start to notice dead grass or slowed service in your home as these can be telltale signs of an underground leak.

Beware of Landscaping Dangers

Landscaping projects like installing sprinklers or patios often require digging, which can damage buried gas lines. Even something as simple as driving a fence post into the ground can rupture an unseen pipeline. Make sure to have all gas lines marked before any digging project, no matter how small.  Avoid planting trees or large shrubs near known gas line locations – as the roots grow, they can damage pipes. A little planning goes a long way when it comes to protecting your buried gas infrastructure.

Replace Old Piping

If your home has galvanized steel gas pipes, keep an eye out for corrosion. These pipes have a life span of 30-50 years. Signs they need a replacement include a rotten egg smell, bubbling paint, reduced gas flow, or repeated leaks. Replacing with newer plastic or coated steel lines improves safety and gas flow. Although not cheap, it’s a smart investment in your home’s safety.

Seal Cracks Around Pipes

Critters and cold air find the tiniest holes to sneak through. Use caulk or spray foam around gas pipes where they meet walls, floors, and ceilings. These gaps allow pests and air leaks and can lead to serious corrosion of gas lines over time. Sealing these openings can prevent hazards and improve the longevity of your gas system.

Keep the Shutoff Accessible

In a true emergency, seconds count. Make sure everyone knows exactly where the gas shutoff valve is. Test it yearly so that when disaster strikes, you can shut off the gas fast.

Call the Pros for Repairs

DIY gas repairs are just asking for trouble. At the first rotten egg whiff or hissing noise, dial an expert. We have the gear to find leaks and fix them safely.

Stay vigilant with inspections of your gas lines, and if danger strikes, Bay Water Plumbing has your back. If you suspect a gas leak, immediately shut off the gas service and give us a call so we can diagnose and make the necessary repairs to get your gas system running like new!

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