Many people don’t realize that parts of their homes run on natural gas and that a gas line inspection is a necessary routine aspect of home maintenance. Most homes use gas for cooking, cleaning, and heating water, but many underestimate the presence of natural gas in their lives. When dealing with any chemical reaction, work on the side of caution, and this is especially the case for the chemicals present in gas lines. Unfortunately, the threat of natural gas often gets ignored until it is too late, as gas leaks can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which contributes to over 400 deaths in the U.S. per year, and about 50,000 ER visits. Homeowners and renters can avoid these accidents when they actively schedule a gas line inspection.
What is a Gas Inspection?
A gas line inspection is a home maintenance service that involves a trained professional checking the quality and wear of gas-operated equipment and appliances in the home. This includes gas lines, vents, chimneys, ovens, water heaters, boilers, and any other device sending natural gas or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) through your home. The inspector may uncover clogs, blockages, or worn parts that could have risks of leakage. Some services will offer to clean and replace these parts for you. Usual steps of a gas inspection include:
- Visually inspect all gas appliances
- Assess the safety devices on the appliances
- Record gas rate and burner pressure for all appliances
- Ensuring each appliance is suitable to operate in the chosen room
- Checking the vents and air supply for blockages
- Measure pressure and flow of gas through gas lines
- Check for leaks
You can ask your inspector questions during the inspection, so vocalize any concerns you may have about the home or your current gas safety measures. The inspector should then give you a written report of all inspections done that day for your records.
How Long is a Gas Inspection?
The typical gas line inspection takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour from start to finish, though it depends on the size of the inspected property. The technician should inform you if they make any repairs that may take a long time. Double-check with your inspector if you must be present during the inspection, though most can be performed without the homeowner present.
When Should Gas Lines be Inspected?
To avoid accidents, homeowners should schedule gas line inspections annually to ensure all gas appliances are running without issue. If you are a renter, landlords are legally obligated to obtain a gas inspection certificate each year to ensure tenant safety. This responsibility may fall on the tenants in some cases, so be sure to check your lease to confirm your role for inspections. To guarantee your safety when moving into a new place, make sure a gas line inspection has been done within the designated time frame before you spend the night.
It’s best to schedule inspections during the summer months while gas heating concerns are off-peak. During winter, most inspectors have their hands full with customers needing their heating appliances checked. A summer inspection can be scheduled with more flexibility and, possibly, a reduced price.
What Should I Do if There is a Leak?
If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur in your home, leave at once and call a gas technician because you may have a gas leak. Natural gas is colorless and odorless, so many gas providers add in a chemical called mercaptan to give the gas a smell so that it can be detected and fixed quickly in the case of a leak. Other signs of gas leaks are faint hissing sounds from leaking pipes, dead plants around the leak, and in the case of underground gas lines, unexpected dirt pushed up from the ground.
If you suspect you have a leak, do not use devices that may create a spark since natural gas is flammable and may ignite. These devices include light switches, telephones or cellphones, and computers. Once you remove yourself, your household, and any pets from the area, call your local gas company to shut off the gas and stop the leak. A repair service should then be called to inspect the base of the leak and fix it.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas leaks may not always be noticeable, but if there is a significant amount of gas in the air, it can affect the health of humans and pets.
Animals have stronger senses, so they are affected faster by chemicals in the air. If one or all of your pets displays the following symptoms, it may be a sign of a leak:
- Loss of appetite
- Strange behavior
Humans become sick when exposed to too much natural gas, and it is crucial to receive medical attention right away if they exhibit any signs. Effects of CO poisoning often look like the flu, but without a high temperature. If this manifests in several household members at once, it is a sign of a possible leak. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Memory problems
- Loss of balance
- Vision impairment
The longer someone is exposed to CO, the stronger symptoms will be. People with heart-related conditions or breathing problems, pregnant women, and small children are affected more quickly by CO gas, so it’s essential to prioritize regular inspections in households with these. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests installing a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of a home as a precaution against surprise leaks between inspections.
Schedule Your Gas Line Inspection with Goodbee Plumbing
If your home is due for a gas line inspection, call on Goodbee Plumbing to get peace of mind quickly. Our highly trained inspectors are experts in finding leaks in gas lines, furnaces, stoves and ovens, water heaters, dryers, and more. We provide a full inspection of your home to make sure all sources of natural gas are functioning correctly and give you a list of steps to take in the event one of your appliances fails.
We understand the importance of keeping your home and family safe, so call us today to take advantage of our plumbing services.