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Natural Gas Leak Detection - What to Do If You Smell Gas

by | on | in Damage Prevention of Utilities | 1 Comment

What do you do if you smell gas? If it is strong, leave the building and call 911. A utility worker would use natural gas leak detection equipment to isolate the leak to remedy the problem.

Best Leak Detector

The natural gas industry takes many precautions to keep people safe. One of the most significant safety measures is odorizing natural gas. By itself, natural gas is odorless, tasteless, colorless and non-toxic (unless in confined spaces). For this reason, a tiny amount of odorant, generally t-butyl mercaptan (and at times thiophane), is injected into natural gas with an odorant injection system. This idea came to light after an undetected gas leak led to the explosion where nearly 300 students and faculty were killed at a school in New London, Texas, in 1937.

The nose is simply the best gas detector.

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gas leak detector from Gazomat for surveysLearn more about GAZOMAT advanced gas leak detection.Ways to Detect and Isolate a Gas Leak

Indeed, technology is available to identify and pinpoint the location of a gas leak. However, the best first alert detection we have, thanks to odorant injection systems, is the nose.

If a utility worker or emergency responder responds to the scene, they should be able to determine the location of a gas leak by using a portable combustible gas indicator (CGI). Additionally, gas leak detection solution, a compound similar to liquid soap, helps pinpoint gas leaks.

In industrial settings, industrial gas detection sensors can monitor large areas and flag gas leaks.

What do you do if you smell natural gas?

  • If you detect a faint natural gas smell (rotten eggs or cabbage smell) in your home, don’t panic. Is it possible that one of your appliance’s pilot lights just went out? Open the windows and try to quickly isolate the concern by checking the pilot lights on your appropriate appliances (range, gas fireplace, furnace, water heater, gas dryer, etc.). If you cannot quickly isolate the problem, leave the building with windows open and call your utility company from outside your home.
  • On the other hand, if you smell a strong natural gas odor – leave. Do not use anything that could spark, like light switches, computers, flashlights, phones, appliances, garage door openers or elevators. Do not touch electrical outlets, doorbells or switches. Everyone in the house should leave and take your pets. Refrain from smoking and using a lighter or matches. Do not start a car or powered equipment near where natural gas is present. LEAVE. Once outside and safely away call 911 or your utility company from outside your house.

Most can detect natural gas with their sense of smell. If you smell a strong gas odor, leave the building and call 911.

Perhaps we can help you with a gas detector:

  • GAZOTRACK™4 Multi-Gas Detector
  • INSPECTRA LASER | Methane Detector with Laser Technology
  • VSR INSPECTRA - Methane Detector
  • EASY INSPECTRA Methane Detector

GAZOMAT™ specializes in electronic gas leak detection equipment for gas distribution systems, and operator protection in hazardous environments.


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About The Author

KC Forward is the Sales Director. He joined in early 2017, bringing a wealth of experience selling and leading sales teams over the last 20 years. KC was originally from Detroit and has been in Colorado since 1996. He is a widower and values family the most in life which includes two adult children. Board games, sports, reading, he does it all. He has a B.S. in Business Management from Oakland University in Michigan.


  • Guest
    Jordan Lefroy Friday, 08 March 2019

    Thanks for having this article, it helps a lot. It’s a well-written blog and it is very informative. Keep on blogging, looking forward to see more of your posts!

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Guest Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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