Use your senses to recognise the signs of gas leaks

70% of Australians use natural gas. That means around 12,800 Surf Coast households from Geelong and Torquay down to Lorne and Aires Inlet are tapping into their street’s gas mains to run their hot water, heater or cooking appliances.

And why not? It’s a clean and efficient source of energy.

It’s also (potentially) one of the most dangerous!

Gas leaks: a ticking time bomb

It doesn’t happen often, but a gas leak is a real threat to you and your family’s safety. Often caused by poorly fitted appliances, faulty structures and lack of maintenance, the risks include:

  • Carbon Monoxide Exposure
    Natural Gas contains Carbon Monoxide (CO). Exposure to CO can be fatal in poorly ventilated areas as it forces the levels of oxygen in the air to drop. As CO replaces oxygen in your bloodstream, you may feel extremely unwell; dizziness, headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, weakness and confusion are all symptoms of CO poisoning. Eventually as your brain is starved of oxygen, you may pass out.
  • Lung problems

Even in tiny amounts, exposure to gas can cause respiratory issues. This is a particular risk to families whose members have impaired lung function due to asthma or common illnesses such as bronchitis or respiratory infection.

  • Increased chemical sensitivity

Exposure to a gas leak can worsen, or even trigger, chemical sensitivities – not just to natural gas but other chemicals commonly found in our environment.

  • A fire or explosion
    This is everyone’s worst nightmare. The methane and small amounts of hydrocarbons found in natural gas make it extremely volatile. Even a tiny spark could cause a fire or explosion.

Spotting gas leaks in your home

None of those scenarios sounds very appealing. So, how can you spot gas leaks in your home and head off disaster?

Your senses hold the key:

Smellwhile natural gas is odourless and colourless in its raw state, mercaptan is added as a safety measure. Luckily it can be hard to ignore the resulting ‘gas smell’ of sulphur and rotten eggs. However, if you have impaired sense of smell, you may not be able to rely on this test alone.

Listen for that tell-tale hissing or roaring noise of gas escaping pipes or fittings.

Look for physical signs of gas leaks. These may include

  • extra $$ on your gas bill
  • dirt or dust blowing around the outside of your property (indicating that an upgrade of gas lines may be required)
  • bubbles in standing water (like puddles)
  • discoloured grass or plants (despite regular watering) is a less obvious sign

Your gas leak emergency plan

If you notice any of the above signs of a gas leak:

Do not

  • turn on lights or power points
  • light candles or use matches or a lighter
  • use a telephone (line or mobile)
  • operate anything battery powered (eg a torch)
  • use any vehicles, machinery or power tools near the leak site (especially if it is enclosed)
  • try to perform gas repairs yourself


  • leave your house or the area of a suspected gas leak
  • open doors and windows to ventilate
  • turn off the gas meter (but only if you know how!)
  • wait for a qualified plumber to assess the site, locate the leak and perform any necessary gas repairs or upgrade of gas lines before returning to your property

Contact Franklin Plumbing about gas fitting and repair today
For new gas lines, safe installation and maintenance of gas appliances, gas repairs or upgrade of gas lines contact Franklin Plumbing. Because we service all locations from Geelong, Torquay, Anglesea and Jan Juc, through to Aireys inlet, Fairhaven and Lorne, no matter where you are on the Surf Coast, you can be sure a Franklin plumber is never far away.

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