With the recent explosion in Tianjin, China; we’re reminded that serious accidents can happen. If you haven’t heard of the Taijin explosion incident, feel free to check out a news article on the explosion here.

As a gas repiping specialist here in California, I consider accidents like these a reminder to keep tabs on the gas lines in your home. Please have your gas lines checked regularly to keep pipes well-maintained. Remember, if your home is 40 years old or older, you’ll want to have a professional look over your piping structure. Pipes that are 40 years or older are susceptible to damage from corrosion, although more recent pipes may also corrode or fail.

Fortunately, there are ways to recognize gas leaks in or around your home. If you notice a gas leak, you’ll need to vacate the area and call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to turn off your gas line on your own. Do not dig for your own pipelines. Do not attempt to fix leaks on your own. Remember that simply flipping on a lightswitch can trigger an explosive reaction. Vacate the premises and call 911. Gas leaks are a serious hazard, as natural gas is – of course – highly flammable and potentially dangerous! Leave all pipeline hazards to the professionals. They’ll have the experience and know-how to properly and safely handle a corroded or perforated pipe. If you’re concerned that you may have a gas leak, here are signs that can aid you in spotting a natural gas leak:

The Odor of Rotten Eggs

Normally, natural gas is odorless. But due to the foresight of natural gas producers, an odorous additive is infused with the natural gas we use. This is done to warn us if there is a leak. If you smell a rotten egg smell, you’ve likely got a gas leak.

Dead Plants or Grass Near a Pipe

If you’ve got buried gas lines, a leak will kill nearby plants. That may mean a dead spot in your yard, or dead trees, shrubs, or other plants. If you’re uncertain, you’ll need to have a professional map the gas lines that run around your home.

A Hissing Sound

If your pipe has incurred a hole or laceration, gas will flow out causing a hissing or dull roaring sound. These holes can be caused by corrosion, or by some blunt force.

Flames!

If you see flames where they shouldn’t be, you’ve got a gas leak, and a serious issue. Get to a safe area, and call 911 immediately.

Constant Bubbles in Ponds or Streams

If you’ve got buried pipes that are under water features, these pipes may eventually corrode. You’ll notice consistent bubbling if your pipes are leaking beneath your water features.

Don’t forget, if you notice signs of a gas leak, you’ll want to remove yourself from the area, and call 911 immediately. Gas leaks have serious potential, and even a single spark can trigger an explosion. Also remember, you should have your gas lines checked often. Call the Repipe Specialist here if your line needs an inspection or repiping.