You have probably read or watched news stories about gas line fires and explosions that destroy homes and kill innocent people. While these stories are shocking, they are, fortunately, quite rare. Still, gas leaks cause around 4,200 home fires each year in the US, killing about 40 people annually. Learn more about the hidden dangers of gas lines and tips to prevent home fires.
Causes of Gas Line Fires
Natural gas is a relatively clean and affordable fossil fuel, but it’s also highly flammable. If a gas leak is present, a spark is all it takes to ignite a fire or cause an explosion.
Older buildings generally have a higher risk of gas line leaks because they have had more time to experience wear and tear and are more likely to feature rigid piping. Joints and fittings made of threaded, black iron pipe are more likely to leak if they aren’t installed or connected properly. Lightning strikes, earthquakes, and other physical damage can also weaken rigid gas lines.
Even newer corrugated stainless steel gas tubing (CSST), installed throughout the US since 1989, can develop leaks. CSST is more flexible than rigid piping, making it better able to withstand cracking, but it can still leak due to loose or corroded fittings and valves.
Other causes of gas line fires include:
- Faulty gas tank manufacturing
- Defective or outdated equipment
- Improper installation of gas appliances
- Unsafe use of gas appliances
Signs of a Natural Gas Leak
Whether your gas lines are new or old, watch out for these signs of a gas leak:
- Rotten egg smell
- Hissing or whistling sounds near a gas line or appliance
- Rising gas bills
- Visible gas line damage
- Dead plants in your yard
- Gas bubbles rising from the soil
- Orange burner flame
- Physical symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and difficulty breathing
How to Prevent Home Fires
Gas line fires are rare, but why take any risks? Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe:
- Hire a professional to install and repair your gas lines.
- Know where the gas lines are on your property.
- Have your gas lines inspected regularly, even if nothing seems wrong.
- Keep your home well-ventilated.
- Carefully follow instructions for using gas appliances and equipment.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home.
- In the event of a leak, evacuate the building and call your gas company, followed by an emergency plumber.
The team at Mike Counsil Plumbing can test for gas leaks and perform the necessary repairs to make your home safe again. We are available 24 hours a day to fulfill all your gas line needs. We’re so confident in the quality of our work that we offer a satisfaction guarantee for your complete peace of mind. For more information about your gas lines or to schedule services, please call 408-916-1226 or contact us online today. We have proudly served San Jose, CA, and the surrounding South Bay area since 1994.