Your furnace is one of the most active equipment in your household. As a complex system, it is bound to develop faults in the course of its operation. For homeowners, a gas leak is probably one of the most alarming issues. So you ought to understand the signs of leakages from your furnace. We’ll also explore practical steps you can take when you suspect a gas leak.
Recognize the Smell of Gas Leaks
The two most common sources of fuel for most gas furnaces are natural gas and propane. Both gases are odorless and colorless. As a result, they can be challenging to detect in their natural form. But regulations require gas companies to add methanethiol/mercaptans to make it easier to recognize leaks. Mercaptans usually have a smell close to that of sulfur or rotten eggs.
Because a gas leak will smell like rotten eggs, the odor may come from various other sources. You should start by establishing the smell is coming from the furnace. A compost or trash pit close to the house may be the source.
Another possible source is an electrical fault within your furnace. Connections can cause parts to burn and may have a similar smell. The odor could also be from an appliance that uses propane, such as a BBQ grill.
Regular Emissions of Gas When Cycling
Your furnace may release small quantities of gas when you turn it on for the first time in winter. During the busy summer in San Antonio, your heating equipment will accumulate dust and debris. Once you run the furnace, the pressure from the gas pushes away mild clogs in the furnace. Inevitably, some of the gas will escape with it.
Therefore, it is normal to smell gas near the furnace, especially if it is the first time you are running it in the cold season. Sometimes the odor may be apparent, even after using the system for some weeks. In such instances, your equipment may produce gas every time you start it. While it is usually not a serious issue, it is advisable to consult our certified HVAC technicians.
If the smell doesn’t go away quickly when you allow airflow, it could be a backdraft. The flue may not be expelling the gas away from the house. The wind coming through the window may blow it back. If the odor is coming from the same direction as the wind, it is probably an issue with the expulsion of the fumes.
Signs of a Potential Gas Leak Hazard
One of the common signs of a gas leak is the smell of rotten eggs. The smell is considered to be dangerous because it could also indicate a fault in your electrical system. Electrical faults can be risky, especially around gas systems, as they can quickly start a fire.
A critical sign of gas leaks is if there is a rotten egg odor that you can detect across the interior space. If you have to sniff around the room, the odor is probably the small amounts released during cycling. You can open the window to allow for air circulation. But if the smell persists, it is advisable to seek a certified technician to inspect the furnace.
Another sign is the sound of hissing from the furnace. If you hear a continuous hissing behind the walls, you may want to shut down your system and consult a professional.
If there is a leakage in one of the underground supply lines, there may be patches on your lawn with discoloration. Plants growing over a leaking gas line will begin to die slowly. If other signs, such as an odor of sulfur, there is probably a leak. You can call Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating‘s certified technicians in San Antonio for an evaluation of your system and its connections.
Physiological Symptoms of a Gas Leak
Exposure to leaking gas has adverse effects on the human body. After exposure to natural gas or propane, you may experience several physiological symptoms. Mild symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and irregular breathing. In extreme cases, exposure can be fatal.
The leak may have other significant quantities of compounds such as methane, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory failure and long-term heart problems. While methane is considered to be a mild toxin, it has the potential to cause asphyxiation. Its symptoms include rapid breathing, convulsions, and even loss of consciousness.
Other than physical symptoms like migraines, exposure may also affect the central nervous system. You may experience depression and memory difficulties. You may have difficulties staying alert, and it may affect your vision.
Additionally, when partly burned, natural gas may contain significant quantities of carbon monoxide. It could be that your system cannot properly dispense exhaust fumes. A backdraft of the fumes can raise carbon monoxide to dangerous levels.
How to Prevent a Gas Leak
The installation of a furnace or anything involving a gas supply line is best left to professionals. Substandard installations are fraught with problems, and they can pose hazards if you are using gas equipment.
You ought to have the gas pipelines inspected once a year. Your local authority may require the inspection before making new extensions for furnaces and other equipment. Working with a professional from the start of the installation can prevent issues with compliance.
Another way to prevent gas leaks and hazards in your home is to observe routine maintenance of your HVAC. Toxic gases like carbon monoxide are colorless and odorless. A sensor can warn you when there is a threat of CO poisoning. Ideally, you should schedule an inspection of the sensors and the furnace before winter. During the cold season, many combustion appliances are running, and there is a high risk of CO poisoning.
You can sign up for Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating furnace maintenance service in San Antonio. Our plan includes a 21-point inspection process by our certified HVAC system technician. You will get reminders, and as a member, you also get a warranty for repairs.
What to Do After Detecting Gas Leaks
If you suspect there is a gas leak, switch off the furnace and ensure the pilot light is not burning. Open the doors and windows to prevent the accumulation of gas. Avoid turning the lights on or off. Electrical appliances should also not be running as electrical arcs can ignite the gas and cause fires.
If you must use a phone to call emergency service, do it away from the source of the leak. Do not attempt to fix the leaks; call our professional technicians for prompt and professional service. If you suspect you have any symptoms, it is wise to seek medical help immediately.
You must also organize for an inspection of your gas appliances, pipelines, and furnace. Our certified technicians have advanced tools such as a gas analyzer to detect the precise source of the leak. They can offer valuable insights that can help you prevent hazards in your home in the future.
Professionals from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating have vast experience troubleshooting different models of heating systems in San Antonio. Our team can also address your indoor air quality concerns and system replacement. Whether you are looking for duct cleaning and repair or the installation of a ductless system, you can depend on our team. Our services also include new constructions and renovations.
For dependable and timely heating solutions, contact Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating in San Antonio today.