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What to do if you smell gas

When it comes to energy, gas really is handy. Even in a power cut, you’ll always have a ready supply for cosy heat and easy cooking; it’s cheap, it’s reliable, it’s abundant, it’s low-maintenance and it’s highly sought after by home buyers.

But gas leaks are deadly.

Luckily, the Australian gas industry is well regulated, including many controls and standards that are all there so that you and your family are safe.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm

So if you don’t smell gas, you can rest quite easily. We all know the benefits of smoke and fire detectors, but did you know you can also grab a carbon monoxide alarm from your local hardware store for just a few dollars, protecting your family against this silent, odourless killer?

And even if you do have a very minor leak, it’s still not necessarily the end of the world. Because natural gas is so light, it quickly escapes into the atmosphere – but that doesn’t mean it won’t build up to dangerous levels inside confined spaces. And LPG is heavier than air, so it will actually collect closer to the ground.

What should you do if you smell gas?

Once again, panic is never the right solution in any emergency – even if you smell gas. Nonetheless, gas leaks are serious business, so you need to pay close attention to the problem with the following steps:

– Get out

Particularly if you have children, remove them from the affected area and don’t return until the situation has improved.

– Turn off

For natural gas, turn off the supply at the meter by following the instructions and turning the tap. If it’s an LPG cylinder, make sure it is safe to approach, and turn off the supply.

– No sparks

As we all know, gas plus a spark equals a fire. So the very next thing to do is ensure you don’t trigger a fire or an explosion. Turn off any pilot lights and – just to be sure – turn off the power to the home.

– No flames

Under no circumstances should you attempt to find the source of the leak with a naked flame.

– Ventilate

As mentioned earlier, natural gas is lighter than air so it will dissipate into the atmosphere. So open every door and window in your home.

– Call

If the smell does not dissipate, it is not necessarily a faulty appliance and could be a leak in the actual gas supply. To be sure, a call to your relevant gas leak emergency number will be in order, as will a call to an experienced gasfitter to locate and fix the leak.

But remember, if you use a mobile phone, get well away from the leak before placing that call, and if it is really an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 000.

Don’t forget, it’s important that anyone you get in to fix the leak is appropriately qualified, insured, experienced and licensed. You can be sure of all of those things with Ruttley Plumbing, so to tend to all of your general and emergency plumbing needs, give us a call on (02) 9199 2011.