It starts small. A tiny fissure in a pipe, leaking natural gas into a room at a trickle. Given the right spark, that invisible chemical turns into a deadly explosion. Gas leaks are all too common and can devastate homes and businesses in the blink of an eye. People can die; even if they walk away with their lives, they lose their property. All of this is preventable with a gas leak test.
Gas detection requires a professional, but it’s an invaluable procedure that can identify potential leaks. A licensed plumber can perform it, and then you can continue on with your day. Let’s discuss why gas leak testing is so important.

Natural Gas Basics
Natural gas is a common fossil fuel we pump out deep from the earth. Its main component is methane, but it also includes other compounds. It may surprise some that humans have been using natural gas for over 2000 years.

Of course, natural gas is flammable. It burns clean, resulting in very little odor and safe for everyday indoor heating.
We use it to heat food and water. It also serves great as portable fuel for a gas stove or lamp. Thanks to modern technology and extraction methods, is very cheap to produce.

In 99.9% of cases, it is entirely safe to use natural gas. But to move methane through the pipes into your home, you need air pressure. And it doesn’t take much air pressure to push natural gas out of a leaking pipe.

Why Natural Gas Explosions Are so Devastating
Have you ever switched on your stove for too long, and then tried to light it? You likely experienced a brief pop from a flare-up. It’s enough to make someone jump. Now imagine a room full of that gas. It slowly leaks in, increasing the air pressure over time. The house effectively becomes a pressure bomb. There are a lot of potential sources of ignition in your home. The spark from an electrical outlet, or from an appliance kicking on. Even sparks from static electricity can be enough.

After all, the place you use natural gas the most–the stove–uses a spark to start the fire. That’s all it takes. The burning gas then expands rapidly, torching anything in its path and creating powerful shockwaves.

How to Find Gas Leaks

It would seem like there is a straightforward solution: close off all sources of gas. Double-check that the gas stove burner is off, or the pilot on the water heater. But there’s a problem. Gas leaks often happen in the pipes, upstream from their exit sources. And unfortunately, gas detection is difficult. Natural gas has no taste or odor, making it impossible to detect.

Gas companies use an additive called mercaptan that gives the foul rotten eggs odor. Even so, this makes it very difficult to home in on the actual leak. People without the right tools or expertise can spend hours hunting it down. Sometimes gas pipes are in difficult-to-access areas, making diagnosis more complicated. These pipes are often behind walls or under the floor. Accessing them may occasionally involve ripping things out.
The easiest solution is to use a soap and water mixture that you paint onto the pipe. Leaks will create bubbles, making an invisible leak visible. But it’s incredibly risky if there is a known gas leak, and everyone should evacuate the house immediately.

Benefits of a Gas Leak Test
A gas leak test requires you to schedule a licensed plumber to check it out. It’s money out of your pocket, so it’s easy to see why many people don’t do it. Let’s be clear: getting a gas leak test can save your life, family, and house.
Many gas leaks go unnoticed for a long time. They may be in areas of the house that you don’t spend much time in. In most cases, they ventilate out and never find a ignition source.

But the thing is, you never know! Gas leaks are the silent, deadly killers that can stymie your efforts to stop them. Gas leak test takes the guesswork out of the equation and ensures that your home is safe. Understand that there is no way of knowing how long the gas leaks. It’s important to act upon any leaks you discover when you find them.

Should You Get a Gas Leak Test?

Yes. It’s a small investment that ensures your life and property are safe. Too many people do not take gas leaks seriously.

Here are some of the signs that you may have a gas leak:
– You detect a rotten egg smell that’s not from food
– You hear a faint hissing sound near any gas line
– You see a cloud of dust or white near a gas line
– There are bubbles forming in puddles in your yard
– Houseplants are dying without any discernible reason
– Gas bills appear to be much higher than usual

It goes without saying that the consequences of a gas leak eruption are far worse than paying for a leak test. This is not an “I’ll do it when I get to it” sort of test. This is an “I’ll take care of this right away” situation.

Get a Gas Leak Test Today

Gas leaks happen all the time, and they can be deadly in the right conditions. All it takes to prevent them is a simple gas leak test. If there is evidence of a gas leak or you suspect one, schedule a licensed plumber to take a look. Flotechs Plumbing & Heating is approved to work with gas in Westchester County. We have worked closely with Con Edison to have many customers’ gas leaks fixed and tested and turned back on. We can handle any gas leaks you have and much much more. Contact us at (914) 207-8901 to quickly schedule an appointment.