Even though modern gas-powered heating systems are safe, reliable, and efficient, they’re not perfect. As with any other gas-powered system, there’s always the possibility of a leak. When a gas-powered heating system develops a gas leak, it can endanger everyone in the home. Gas leaks pose a fire hazard as well as a risk of asphyxiation for anyone inside the home. That makes learning how to spot the signs of a gas leak critical for homeowners in Frederick, MD and elsewhere that rely on gas-powered furnaces for heat. Here are some of the ways you can tell if your furnace is leaking gas and what to do if it is.
Common Signs of a Furnace Gas Leak
The most obvious way to tell that your furnace has a gas leak is that you’ll smell it. Although natural gas is odorless, gas companies add a compound called mercaptan to it precisely to warn people when there’s a leak. Mercaptan causes the gas to smell a bit like sulfur, or as some would describe it, rotten eggs. If you notice a smell like that in your home, you may have a gas leak in your furnace.
Another sign that could indicate a gas leak in your furnace is if you hear a hissing sound coming from the furnace. Under normal operating conditions, your furnace should not make noise while it’s not producing heat. It should also make a low humming sound when lit and producing heat. If you hear a hissing sound, it’s not normal and could be coming from a gas leak somewhere in the system.
A gas leak in your furnace, especially when left uncorrected, will also lead to some specific physical effects on anyone in the home. Exposure to natural gas will cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. If you’re feeling any of those things, you could have a gas leak in your furnace, and you should leave your home immediately.
What to Do if You Have a Furnace Gas Leak
If your furnace is displaying any of the symptoms above, or if you have any other reason to suspect a gas leak, you should turn off the furnace’s gas supply valve immediately. Be certain to avoid lighting any matches or using any electrical equipment that could create a spark. If you smell gas and feel that it’s unsafe to attempt to reach the shut-off valve, don’t take the risk. Leave your home immediately, get to a safe distance, and contact your local fire department. Then, contact your gas company and a qualified heating repair service like Weather Masters Corp..
Preventing Furnace Gas Leaks
The best way to prevent furnace gas leaks is to schedule regular safety inspections to make certain the furnace stays in good working order. Trained technicians like the ones here at Weather Masters Corp. can spot signs of equipment deterioration that you might overlook. Then, they can let you know what kind of preventative measures to take to prevent any possible gas leaks.
You should also invest in a carbon monoxide detector or detectors for your home. Be aware, however, that carbon monoxide detectors won’t alert you to natural gas leaks. They will, however, let you know if your furnace isn’t cleanly burning natural gas and is emitting harmful carbon monoxide into your home. Unlike natural gas with its mercaptan additive, carbon monoxide is odorless, and there’s no way you’ll know it’s there without a detector. While carbon monoxide doesn’t pose a fire risk, it will kill you just the same if you don’t take action to correct the issue that’s causing its release.
Expert Furnace Maintenance Is Key
As we stated earlier, modern gas-powered furnaces are quite safe when properly maintained. That’s why you’ll want to entrust the furnace in your Frederick home to the experts here at Weather Masters Corp.. We’re a locally owned and operated business that’s committed to providing the best possible HVAC services to our neighbors in Frederick and its surrounding area.
Our NATE-certified technicians have the training and experience to keep your furnace in top shape and to keep you and your family safe from the potential risks of a furnace gas leak. In addition to maintenance, we offer a full range of heating and cooling services, including repairs and installation. You can also turn to us for indoor air quality and ductwork services. If you have reason to suspect that your furnace has a gas leak, or if you have any other HVAC-related needs, contact Weather Masters Corp. today and leave the rest to us!