Thursday, August 26, 2010

Symptoms and Signs of a natural gas leak in your home

Natural gas itself is not always the killer that consumes people, it is carbon monoxide poisoning that is caused by a leak.

When most people hear the word gas, they generally assume gasoline. Natural gas, on the other hand, contains no liquid or mass. It is odorless, shapeless, and colorless. So, most times people don't realize it is even in the air until it's almost too late. For that reason, gas companies add the rotten egg odor so the leak is more easily detected.

Natural gas is considered a fossil fuel that is produced by organic materials in the earth, mostly of animal and plant remains. It is compressed over time and it becomes a burnable fuel. Natural gas is highly flammable and is made up of 90% methane, but is also made up of propane, butane, ethane, and other gases.

We use natural gas for many things like cooking, drying clothes, and it also provides heat and electricity to our homes. Most people take it for granted until they are faced with an emergency regarding a gas leak in or around their own homes.

The average person does not realize how dangerous natural gas can be. Have you ever accidentally left your burner on without a flame and realized that you smelled something like rotten eggs? Have you been in your backyard and got a whiff of that same smell? Well, did you realize that if your home fills up with just enough gas, that even the static electricity caused by walking across your carpeting could cause an explosion?

An explosion is not the only hazard that natural gas can cause. It can also contain one of the most deadliest elements, carbon monoxide, which can cause CO poisoning. When carbon monoxide exists in the home, there are a few flu-like symptoms you need to look out for, which includes headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and nausea. If several people suddenly get unexplainable ill at the same time, and if you feel better when leaving your home, then it would be a good idea to check it out.

CO poisoning can get so bad, it can cause death with prolonged exposure. It can also result in impaired judgment, poor memory, and loss of coordination -- it is basically starving your brain of oxygen. CO poisoning kills approximately 2,000 people each year. It is is easily detected when you have a carbon monoxide detector placed in your home to help keep you and your family safe.

Besides a CO detector or your nose's detection of rotten eggs, there are other ways of spotting a leak -- there might be something more to the dirt you see blowing in your driveway, the bubbles in that side yard puddle, or the snake-like hissing sound near your porch. Beware: these danger signs might be coming from your neighbor's home! If you experience any of theses signs, in or around your home, avoid using your phone or turning on any lights. There have even been cases in history where people did not realize that there was a gas leak and their homes have exploded when they flipped on a light switch.

If you suspect that you have a gas leak, carbon monoxide poisoning, or your CO detector is going off, get you and your family out of the house ASAP and call the local fire department immediately.

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