June 23, 2015
Flooding across Texas has left many residents cleaning up their homes and other buildings in the community. As we move into summer, the chance of heavy rain even minor flooding stays steady. The expert plumbers at AAA AUGER have already told you how to prevent mold and mildew from appearing after a flood, and how to keep your sewage system from backing up.
Today, we’ll help you avoid another danger: a natural gas leak. After a flood, the chances of a gas leak in your home rise exponentially. Many homes have gas grills, stoves, water heaters and furnaces. Whether these appliances continue to work after a flood or were damaged, they can leak toxic fumes into your home. To avoid an unfortunate natural gas leak on top of everything else you’re dealing with after a flood, here are the ways to detect a gas leak in your home, and what to do about it.
Before we explain how to recognize a leak, it’s important to understand exactly why this situation is so dire. According to the CDC, every year more than 400 Americans die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning alone.
While most undetected gas leaks are a problem because they contribute to asphyxiation, natural gas is highly combustible and, if not handled properly, could contribute to an explosion.
How to recognize a natural gas leak
After flooding, there are a few warning signs of a gas leak to keep an eye out for. These include:
– A sulfur or “rotten egg” smell
– Dead or discolored vegetation near a gas line
– Hissing or blowing sound near pipes or appliances
– An open flame near a water heater or stove
– Blowing dust or dirt from the ground
– Bubbling near wet or flooded areas
These are all strong indicators of a problem in your home. However, carbon monoxide, one of the most deadly natural gasses, cannot be seen, smelled or heard. The licensed plumbers at AAA AUGER highly suggest investing in a natural gas detector. These can be bought for as little as $40, and could end up saving your life.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Because carbon monoxide is so dangerous, yet hard to detect, it’s essential to be on the lookout for the symptoms of poisoning.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
– Throwing up
– Pain in your chest
– A sudden or severe headache
What to do if you suspect a gas leak in the building
Most importantly: do not attempt to locate a gas leak yourself. Do not turn on electrical devices (including light switches, garage door openers, and cell phones), which could spark or cause a static electrical charge, igniting the leaking gas. Do not light a match, turn on a lighter or start your car for the same reason.
Leave the building immediately and call your gas utility company. They will send out an inspector or technician at no cost (in most cases) to evaluate the situation and recommend next steps. If the utility company is unavailable, call the fire department. They are trained in this area. If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1 for help.
How to take precautions after flooding
If you’ve recently experienced flooding in your home, or damage from a Texas storm, there are precautions you can take. The most important step is to call in a licensed plumber to check all connections and make any necessary repairs.
Plumbing gas lines require special training and experience, and our expert plumbers in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and DFW have the know-how to get the job done right. To schedule a gas line check in your home, call AAA AUGER Plumbing Services today.
Photo Credit: Elliott Brown