Natural Gas Safety FAQ's
- What does natural gas smell like?
- What should I do if I smell gas?
- What is Carbon Monoxide?
- Who should I call before I dig?
- Who is responsible for the gas piping on my property?
- What should I do to maintain my natural gas appliances?
In its pure form, natural gas is odorless. We add a harmless odorizing agent that produces a distinctive, pungent smell that reminds some of sulfur or rotten eggs. This makes it possible for you to detect even a small leak.
Use caution! A natural gas leak can cause an explosion if ignited by a spark. If you smell gas in your home, leave your house immediately and call our emergency service number (1-888-784-6160) from another location such as a neighbor's house.
For your own safety, remember these rules in the event you smell gas:
- Do not use your electric garage door opener to leave your house. Any motorized appliance could spark, igniting the natural gas.
- Do not use your phone to call us unless you are outside and away from your house. Using any type of telephone could ignite the leaking gas.
- Do not turn any light switches or other electrical devices on or off. Anything electrical, even something as small as a thermostat, may cause a spark and ignite leaking gas.
- Do not try to re-light the pilot light. Leave gas furnaces, water heaters and other gas appliances alone until you are certain that it is safe.
- Do not smoke cigarettes or light candles. Using a lighter or a match could ignite the leaking gas.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete burning of different fuels including gasoline, kerosene, wood, coal, propane, natural gas and fuel oil. High concentrations of CO can cause illness and excessive levels can be fatal.
If you suspect that someone may be experiencing CO poisoning in your home, call 911 or your local Fire Department immediately!
Know the symptoms:
Breathing CO may include the following flu-like symptoms:
- burning eyes
- irregular breathing
Preventing CO in your home
A few simple tips can help keep you and your family safe.
- Make sure all appliances are properly installed and maintained.
- Have a heating professional clean and check your heating and venting every year.
- Between inspections, look for signs of water collecting near burners or vents. Also check vents, flue pipes and chimneys for corrosion or blockage.
- Never run a vehicle or fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed place.
- CO detectors are strongly recommended as an extra measure of safety and can be purchased at most discount and hardware stores.
Even jobs that seem simple, such as planting a tree or installing a fence or a deck, can become dangerous and costly if an underground utility line is damaged. Simply call one of these state agencies at least two full working days in advance (three days in Pennsylvania) to have utility lines marked at no cost. It's a simple call that can avoid serious accidents.
Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (IUPPS)
Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS)
PA 1 Call
Take these steps in the event of a ruptured gas line near your home or business:
- Leave the area of the gas leak immediately.
- Call 911 and the emergency service center at 1-888-784-6160 from somewhere other than the location of the gas leak.
The customer is responsible for the maintenance of all gas piping (“customer service line”) from the edge of property line to the gas meter and into your home to all gas appliances. Buried gas piping (customer service line) that is not properly maintained is subject to potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. For your safety, all buried gas piping should be periodically inspected for leaks. If the buried piping is metallic, it should also be periodically inspected for corrosion. If an unsafe condition is found, the gas piping will need to be promptly repaired. When digging near buried gas piping, the piping must be located in advance and digging should be done by hand. Plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing customer's buried pipelines.
Your natural gas appliances are made with the highest quality and safety standards. They can add warmth, security and comfort to your home or business. To insure that your natural gas home is always a safe home, we urge customers to become educated consumers. This process begins when you prepare to purchase your new natural gas product and continues when you use energy saving tips. Once you have made the clean choice of natural gas appliances, learn how to increase their longevity and performance through appliance safety.
To ensure the safety and efficiency of your new natural gas appliances, follow some rules of thumb:
- When purchasing a new appliance, look for those that are designed to meet safety standards. Check the label for certification. This is your assurance that the equipment is designed to meet national safety standards.
- Have qualified professionals install appliances to make sure they’re properly connected. Never attempt this yourself!
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for operation and care of your equipment.
- Call a professional if there is any irregularity with your appliance, like overheating or the presence of soot around a burner.
- Be certain the flame on your gas appliance is bright blue. If it’s consistently yellow, call a professional to check and adjust the burner.
- Make sure a plumber or contractor determines that the equipment is properly vented and adjusted, and that it has an adequate supply of fresh air for safe, efficient combustion.
Pay attention to your natural gas appliances
- Natural gas problems like leaks or a presence of carbon monoxide can be avoided if you make sure your appliances are serviced regularly. Here are a few safety tips to help you use the natural gas appliances in your home safely.
- Follow manufacturer directions for care and use of natural gas appliances and heating systems. Always have a licensed heating contractor, plumber or appliance repair representative inspect and repair your natural gas equipment.
- Check furnace filters regularly and clean or replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Keep the furnace unit intact. Don’t remove panels without replacing them.
- Keep combustible materials such as papers, fluids, paints, curtains and rags away from furnaces, water heaters and gas ranges and dryers.
- Keep your gas range clean. Make sure burner bowls are free of used matches, grease, paper, etc.
- Have a fire extinguisher near your appliances. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Keep the pilot lights of your gas range lit. If you put them out to save energy, a dangerous gas build-up can occur if someone accidentally turns on the range.
- Use equipment for the job it was designed to do. Never use your gas range or oven to heat your home.
- Make sure natural gas appliances have proper ventilation according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep chimneys and flues clear. Have your fluepipe and chimney checked to make sure they’re not blocked with debris such as nests, branches or ivy.
Some appliances use a safety device that prevents the main burner from coming on if the pilot light is off. If you find a pilot light out, you need to re-light it right away. Follow the instructions in your appliance manual if available. If not, turn off the burner and wait five minutes. This will allow any accumulated gas to escape.
Always light the match first and then hold it to the pilot burner. Be sure the pilot is lighted before turning on the main burner. Refer to your appliance manual for additional information on the safe use of pilot-type and pilotless-ignition gas appliances