Having a gas leak in your Shawnee, Kansas home is never a small matter. Gas leaks create the risk of explosions and fire. They also wreak havoc on the health of all building residents and may prove fatal if left unchecked. For these and countless other reasons, it’s important to spot and resolve gas leaks early on. Following are five signs your furnace is leaking gas and tips for addressing the issue.
1. There’s a Strong Sulphur Smell in Your Home
The gas that fuels residential furnaces is both colorless and odorless. Without a special addition known as mercaptan, it would be virtually impossible to detect. Mercaptan, or methanethiol, is a foul-smelling additive that gives the gas a pungent, rotten egg smell.
When gas leaks occur, this unsavory aroma is often what alerts building residents. If you have a strong sulfur smell in your home and know that it’s likely coming from your furnace or other gas-fired appliance, exit the building right away.
2. Your Plants Are Dying
Humans and small pets aren’t the only ones to suffer when subjected to gas leaks. Plants succumb to the effects of ongoing gas exposure too. If you have a gas leak at the exterior of your property where the gas line travels from the building to your gas supplier, you may notice flowers dying, grass turning brown, or shrubbery withering and looking old.
Although these are all indications of a gas leak that’s outside of your living space, it’s still just as dangerous. It only takes a single lit cigarette or a sudden spark to trigger an explosion. You should respond to this discovery by turning the gas off at the main supply, notifying your neighbors, and moving away from the building until your gas company arrives.
3. Your Furnace’s Pilot Flame Is a Strange Color
Pilot flames in furnaces should always have a bright blue hue. If these flames turn yellow or orange, there may be carbon monoxide entering your home. This gas is a byproduct of fuel combustion and should be vented outside. However, certain problems with venting systems can cause carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases to leak or get pushed back into the home.
If the backflow of carbon monoxide is significant, it should trigger your carbon monoxide alarms to issue alerts. When carbon monoxide leaks are suspected, all people and pets should leave the building right away. If your carbon monoxide detectors do not send out warnings during a leak, these devices should be inspected and replaced after the carbon monoxide leak has been resolved.
4. Your Furnace Is Making a Weird Hissing Sound
Heating and cooling equipment is rarely silent during operation. In fact, the older furnaces and air conditioners become, the louder they often get. However, there are certain noises that your furnace should never make. Hearing a consistent, hissing sound when you’re near this appliance is a likely sign of a steady and substantial gas leak. If this noise is paired with the pungent aroma of rotten eggs in the air, leave the building and take your family and pets with you. Report the gas leak to your utility company right away.
5. Dish Soap Reacts by Bubbling
If you suspect a minor gas leak at your furnace, grab a small saucer or bowl and fill it with several tablespoons of dish soap. Any store-bought liquid dish soap will do. Then, hold your dish near the suspected source of the gas leak. If the soap reacts by foaming and bubbling up, there’s possibly natural gas present in the air.
As with all gas leaks, even seemingly minor leaks are cause for immediate concern. You should shut your gas off and contact your utility company. You should also ventilate the building and remain outside and away from the property until help arrives.
Gas leaks can’t be solved with do-it-yourself repairs or basic troubleshooting measures. When you believe that your furnace is leaking gas, shut off the gas supply, air out your home, and get away. Professionals can identify and resolve the source of the problem without risking human life or property destruction.
Since 1981, Air Care Heating & Cooling has been providing reliable heating and cooling services to residents of Shawnee, KS and the surrounding areas. We also provide indoor air quality services, ductless mini-splits, and tankless water heaters. If your furnace is malfunctioning, or if it’s reached the end of its lifespan, we can help. Contact Air Care Heating & Cooling today to schedule an appointment.