For the most part, a gas furnace is a fine-tuned machine that heats the home. Well maintained furnaces don’t require much maintenance except for changing the filter and blowing dust off the components. However, there are certain instances though when a gas furnace can become a hazard not only to itself but to the residents of the home. One of those certain times is when people in the house start to recognize a ‘rotten egg’ smell, indicative of a gas leak that you must handle immediately.
The Rotten Egg Smell
The natural gas itself has no color or smell to it but companies mix a chemical called mercaptan with it for detection purposes only. The reason the smell is so foul is so that people will react immediately as most homeowners and residents don’t want to sit in a vile smelling dwelling any longer than they need to.
In addition to the putrid smell, there are a few other indicators that the home could have some natural gas leaks happening. For one, hissing or whistling sounds emanating from the gas line are definite indicators that a leak or puncture is present. Other identifiers include dead vegetation in a wet area along the underground gas pipeline or bubbling ground outside the Energy Efficient Homes. In either instance, the main supply should be shut off, and the utility company called.
What to Do If You Smell Gas
If an individual happens to get wind of the smell from the gas furnace, there’s no need to investigate it themselves. Simply leave the house as quickly and efficiently as possible without flipping any light switch or turning off any appliances. Electricity and gas make a horrible combo and even the static from socks on the carpet could ignite the leaking gas.
Once safely out of the home call the utility company IMMEDIATELY! It should go without saying but keep neighbors away from the area as well and avoid lighting up a cigarette or having any flame anywhere near the area.
Possible Causes of the Gas Smell
Odds are a strong smell of natural gas in the home is caused by a leak somewhere along the lines from the tank to the gas furnace. Lines can become punctured, and fittings on fixtures can become loose or corroded. In the majority of the instances, the repairs are relatively minimal but at the same time should be performed by a professional because of the associated risks.
Minor Smell around Appliances
Sometimes a minor gas smell coming from an appliance is due to the pilot light going out. A homeowner should be well aware of if a gas furnace and other items in the house use a pilot light and the location of the pilot light. To re-light the pilot, turn off the gas and let it disperse before reigniting. If the pilot light turns on, but the gas smell remains, call the professionals immediately.
With natural gas, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.