A ruptured gas line can be extremely dangerous, and it calls for immediate action. But how can you tell if your gas line is torn, cracked, or otherwise in disrepair? The following signs can warn you of this household hazard.
How to Tell if You Have a Ruptured Gas Line
1. Poor Appliance Performance
Most likely, your home contains various appliances that run on natural gas. That list could include your oven, furnace, fireplace, water heater, and dryer. And, if your gas line is leaking, those appliances won't have enough fuel to work properly. Have any of those devices been less efficient lately? For instance, maybe your dryer is taking much longer to dry your laundry, or your home doesn't feel any warmer after you turn up your thermostat. If so, your gas line may be the cause.
Also, one or more of those appliances could have a corroded connector, which is the tube that links it to the gas line.
2. Rising Utility Bills
If natural gas isn't flowing into your appliances correctly, those machines will consume more energy, causing rising utility bills. A sudden increase in these expenses, one that can't be explained any other way, often points to a malfunctioning gas line. Indeed, even a small leak can lead to significant extra charges.
3. Dead Outdoor Plants
Are your outdoor shrubs, flowers, and other plants wilting and withering away? If there's no other reasonable explanation for it — such as a drought — your gas line may be responsible. When natural gas leaks, it enters plants through their roots, choking off their supply of oxygen. Of course, without enough oxygen, greenery can't survive. In particular, gas leaks often kill patches of grass. That's because gas lines are usually located right beneath the lawn, leading to the house.
4. A Strange Smell
A powerful and persistent odor is an especially noticeable sign that natural gas is escaping. Inside or outside your home, it might smell like sulfur or rotting eggs. Either way, if you don't know where that odor is coming from, there's a good chance that leaking gas is the answer. It's interesting to note that natural gas has no smell. However, gas companies add an odor to it. That way, their customers can detect leaks more easily and call for help before the problem gets out of hand.
What to Do During a Gas Leak
Finally, if you believe your gas line might be broken, it's important to take the following steps right away:
Do not make a phone call, turn on any lights or electrical devices, light a match or candle, or use any gas appliances.
Quickly evacuate your home, taking everyone — including your pets — to a safe nearby location.
From that safe space, call your gas company to report the problem. Most likely, technicians will soon be on their way to your house.
By doing all of these things, you'll protect yourself, your family, your pets, your plants, and your bank account from the serious risks of a gas leak.