Natural gas is a clean, efficient fuel source used by more than half of American homes for heating and cooking. While your home’s natural gas lines and appliances are relatively safe, it is important to understand possible hazards so you can protect your home and family.
Carbon monoxide poisoning. If a faulty furnace or other gas-fueled appliance does not burn natural gas properly, or is not vented properly, carbon monoxide can begin to build in the home. Carbon monoxide is dangerous when breathed because it robs the victim’s brain and organs of the oxygen necessary to function properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to those of the flu without a fever. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should get out of the house and call 911, the fire department, or emergency medical services immediately.
Here are some safety tips to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
Install carbon monoxide detectors in key areas of your home – you can buy them at your local Rescue Rooter service center.
Have appliances that use natural gas inspected by a qualified repairperson once a year.
Inspect the vents, flues, and chimneys of all gas water heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces to ensure proper ventilation of exhaust.
Never use an oven to heat the house. This can damage the oven and cause carbon monoxide to be released into the home.
Never sleep in a room heated by a gas or kerosene space heater that does not have proper venting.
Gas Line Leaks. Natural gas line leaks are rare but can be extremely dangerous. That’s why a “rotten egg” odor is added to gas to warn of a leak. A buildup of gas in an enclosed area can make people very sick or cause an explosion.
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 their local utilities so lines can be marked before digging begins.