Gas line damage can wreak havoc on your health and home. It is essential to understand the risks of gas line problems since natural gas has an important role in U.S. households. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), nearly 15% of the country’s natural gas resources pump directly into residential gas lines. Also known as gas piping, gas lines are tubes or pipes that deliver natural gas from the outdoor supply source and into your home energy system.

If gas line pipes crack or break, the leaked emissions can compromise your physical wellness. Other potential consequences include non-working appliances and higher energy bills. Some gas leaks can cause explosions and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Since the most severe damage can render your home uninhabitable, it is vital to have a working knowledge of the warning signs so you can act right away. Learn more about the best ways to determine whether your property has a damaged gas line.

Unusual Odor

One of the most noticeable signs of a damaged gas line is the unusual smell or odor. In its normal state, natural gas is odorless. Before pumping natural gas into your gas lines, however, gas companies add a substance known as mercaptan. This chemical has a distinctively putrid smell that you are unlikely to confuse with anything else. Most people describe the smell as sulfuric and compare it to the stench of rotting cabbage or eggs.

The primary purpose of adding mercaptan to household gas is to alert residents to possible gas leaks. Members of your household may not notice small gas leaks, but the rotten egg smell becomes much more prevalent if leaked gas builds up over time. If your home has begun to reek of mercaptan, evacuate the residence and call your utility company to shut off the gas temporarily. You can then contact a gas line repair service to identify the breach and resolve the issue.

Health Concerns

Prolonged gas exposure can cause health issues. Indoor gas exposure is dangerous because it prevents the recommended amount of oxygen from entering your body. The side effects are particularly disturbing since they can indicate that toxic chemicals have been seeping from your gas lines for quite a while. Some of the health symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Lethargy
  • Irregular breathing
  • Flu-like illnesses

In the most extreme cases, overexposure to gas can lead to hospitalization, coma, or death. Homeowners who consistently experience negative physical symptoms without explanation should contact a home services company to inspect and repair gas lines.

Hissing Sounds

Gas escaping from damaged pipelines can emit a hissing sound. This sound results from the pressurized gas escaping out of a pipeline crack or hole and then entering the air of your home. If the hissing sound is loud enough, it could indicate that the gas emission is quite extensive. It is best to have your utility company temporarily shut off the gas and then contact a repair service to fix the line before toxic chemicals continue to flood your home.

Malfunctioning Appliances

Many household appliances need a steady flow of gas to operate correctly. For example, gas-powered stoves rely on gas lines to fuel burner flames. If you are repeatedly unable to spark a flame, you should have a licensed technician check to determine whether a damaged line is the culprit.

Other appliances that may begin to malfunction include the following:

  • Water heater
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Furnace
  • Heat pump
  • Air conditioner

Multiple appliances with poor performance could indicate that the mainline of your natural gas system has experienced cracks or deterioration. Such deterioration can cause low gas pressure, and this means that not all of your appliances will receive enough fuel to function. A home services expert can help identify the cause so that your appliances begin working efficiently again.

Dying Vegetation

If you have underground gas lines installed on your property, gas leaks can be even harder to detect. However, damaged gas lines can have devastating effects on your outdoor plants and vegetation. Gas line leaks can block the flow of oxygen and poison plant roots, so anything planted near a faulty line is likely to wither and die.

Indoor gas leaks can also harm potted plants and flowers. If you notice plants changing colors or shriveling in spite of receiving the recommended sunlight and care, gas leaks could be responsible for their demise. These leaks can eventually cause humans and pets to fall sick as well, so it is crucial to have an expert correct the problem as quickly as possible.

Atmospheric Changes

Serious gas line problems can cause changes to atmospheric pressure within the home. For example, some homeowners report unusual clouds of fog, mist, or condensation in certain areas of the house. Individuals may also feel a strange or bleary feeling when investigating affected areas. Thick fog or mist can mean that a gas line has completely ruptured, so it is vital to leave your home and contact a repair service if you notice these issues.

Unexpected Gas Bill

Another possible sign of problems with your gas line is a sudden increase in your utility bill. Unless you lived through an unusually cold winter and used the gas heater much more than usual, sudden spikes in your utility bill are unlikely. Instead, this excessive bill could be the result of natural gas constantly leaking from the pipelines in your home or outdoors. Before your expenses skyrocket any further, contact a licensed expert to investigate the breach and patch up any issues.

Rust or Corrosion

Most gas lines are made of metal. Whether they are installed underground or above the surface, these pipes can eventually corrode or deteriorate over time. For example, steel gas lines can rust due to excess moisture or crumple up due to old age. Because rust and corrosion can quickly spread on an old pipe, replacing the gas line is usually the best solution. While it may feel tempting to clean the rust away from the surface of the gas pipe, simply scrubbing it off does nothing to restore the structural integrity of your gas line. A home services technician can install the right equipment to help make your gas system like new.

Contact the Gas Line Experts Today

If you suspect that you have a damaged gas line, it is essential to resolve the issue sooner rather than later. Waiting for the problem to escalate can result in overexposure to natural gas and result in a plethora of issues for yourself and your family. Our expert technicians can provide maintenance, repairs, and replacement of gas lines in homes throughout Wausau. Other services we provide include furnace installation, drain upkeep, and sewage cleaning services. No matter the plumbing issue, contact Southport Home Services to keep your utility systems in the best shape.

Meet the Author
Thomas Suchla
Thomas Suchla


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