Natural Gas Safety Facts 

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 relight the pilot light. Leave gas furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances alone until you are certain it is safe.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes or light candles. Using a lighter or a match could ignite the leaking gas.

The customer is responsible for the maintenance of all gas piping (“customer service line”) from the edge of the 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 such as 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 line must be located in advance and digging should be done by hand. Qualified plumbing and heating contractors can assist in locating, inspecting, and repairing buried pipelines.

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 someone may be experiencing CO poisoning in your home, call 911 or your local fire department immediately. Breathing CO may include the following flu-like symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Burning eyes
  • Irregular breathing
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Unconsciousness

To prevent 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.

  • Ohio customers should dial Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) at 811. 
  • Pennsylvania customers should dial PA 1 Call at 811.

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.

Natural gas is an extremely safe form of energy and is transported to industrial, commercial, and residential customers by buried pipelines. Natural gas pipelines are built and operated in accordance with state and federal safety codes. Pipelines are a reliable and safe method to transport natural gas.

Homeowners and excavators are required by law to “call before you dig.” Always call 811 before you dig. It is a free call and there is no cost to the homeowner to have underground utilities located. You are required to call at least 48 hours in advance of digging in Ohio and Indiana and 72 hours in advance in Pennsylvania. The 811 number is good everywhere. The utility companies will mark the underground facilities with paint and flags. You are required to hand dig test holes carefully to determine the exact location and depth of the buried utility. Damage to natural gas lines may cause leakage resulting in a fire or an explosion.

Contact your gas provider, the fire department, or 911 if you suspect or discover a gas leak. If the leak is inside your home, you should leave the residence and make a telephone call from outside the home or from a neighbor’s telephone. Do not try to stop or repair the leak yourself or use anything that might create a spark, such as light switches, electric doorbells, or telephones. Do not smoke. Never try to extinguish a gas fire.

Natural gas has a chemical additive that gives it a familiar “rotten egg” odor; however, smelling natural gas is not the only method of detecting a gas leak. A gas leak may be indicated by observing dirt blowing on the ground, bubbling in a water puddle, or an unusual area of dead vegetation. You may also hear a hissing sound.

The gas company works with emergency responders and state and local agencies to prevent and prepare for emergencies. We maintain up-to-date operations and maintenance procedures that are made available to local and state authorities. Gas companies are required to perform pressure tests on pipelines before they are put into service. Federal codes require periodic leak surveys to locate leaks so they may be repaired before they become hazardous.

If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) in your home, call 911, open windows, and, if necessary, leave your residence. The presence of CO is an indication of a malfunctioning gas, propane, or wood-burning appliance. It is not caused by a gas leak.

FAQ: Knox Energy

Knox Energy Cooperative Association, Inc. (Knox) is a 501 (c)(12) non-profit, member-owned company that was founded in 1998 by a small group of homeowners in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The initial purpose was to provide gas service to the Apple Valley Lake community. This community desired to have gas service for many years but couldn’t get the local gas utility to run gas lines due to restrictive utility regulations.

Knox is governed by a nine-member board of directors made up of the members of the co-op. Any member in good standing can run for election to the Knox Board. The board makes all high-level decisions on behalf of the membership. This includes such things as new project construction, acquisitions, gas purchasing, etc.

The Knox Board sets rates according to many factors involved with each system it constructs or acquires. The primary factors include the cost of the system as compared to the use or number of members using the system. For example, at the Lake Lakengren project in Eaton, Ohio, the mainline providing service is approximately 12 miles of eight-inch plastic to serve about 400 homes. This distance and expense requires a higher gas delivery charge than another project which might have a shorter line with more members.

Knox has three components to rates. The first is the fixed monthly service fee. The second is a variable gas delivery fee. This variable costs changes each month and is based on the amount of gas used. The final component is the cost of the gas. The cost of gas is passed through to the members at actual cost. As a non-profit, Knox makes no profit from any of these fees, unlike other utilities which are for-profit companies.

Knox purchases gas with a monthly variable contract which is based on the NYMEX monthly closing price. NYMEX is a publicly posted gas price used throughout the United States as the base price for natural gas on the market. This price changes daily and can be followed on In the past few years this price has become very volatile. To help protect against dramatic price changes, the Knox Board has periodically “locked-in” or hedged prices. The primary goal in these decisions is to help stabilize prices to avoid volatile price movements.

Knox has entrusted Utility Pipeline, LTD (UPL) to manage all of its operations and maintain all of its gas systems. UPL is a gas pipeline management company that is highly skilled and experienced in providing the necessary services needed to handle all operational duties in an efficient and effective manner.   

Yes and no. Knox is regulated for the purposes of pipeline safety. Knox must operate its systems according to the Federal Pipeline Safety Code. Knox is not regulated on its rates and rules and regulations. This is typical for all co-ops, whether gas, water, and/or electric. The Knox Board has full authority to establish rates and policy.

Yes. Natural gas is typically the most cost-efficient and most desired energy source for home and business owners. Natural gas will generally cost about 50-70% less than propane, up to 50% less than electric, and around 30-50% less than oil.  Also new gas furnaces add value to your property due to their high efficiency rate.

Along with being the most cost-effective fuel source for consumers, natural gas is also very clean, more versatile, and has less risk of being disrupted in bad weather. Gas is almost entirely produced within the United States. Using gas reduces our country’s dependence on foreign oil. Gas is also very environmentally friendly with minimal emission gases when consumed.

All utilities buy gas on the market based on NYMEX pricing. During its 10-year history, Knox has been very competitive with other gas utilities and, in fact, has often had a better price than the big utilities.

As a non-profit co-op, Knox must balance its expenses with its revenues. If Knox does not receive payment from one of its members, it must spread these costs to its other good paying members. Throughout the years, the Knox Board has decided the fairest policy is to minimize these costs to good paying members. This can only be done by terminating service to those who do not pay.

Yes, Knox will accept payment from these agencies and/or other assistance programs.

  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). If you need state financial assistance to help pay your heating bills, contact your state HEAP agency.
  • In Ohio, call 1-800-282-0880.
  • In Pennsylvania, call 1-800-692-7462.

For all other required assistance or information needs, contact Knox Energy customer service during standard business hours at 1-888-863-0032.