What’s that smell? Tips to prevent natural gas leaks at home

WASHINGTON -There is a lovely autumn chill in the air, and a lot of folks are getting ready for the cold, wintry months ahead.

For those who heat their homes with natural gas, it’s the perfect time for a little Utility Safety 101.

The main thing to remember is a natural gas leak can be deadly, so it is important to know the signs of trouble.

Natural gas is odorless and colorless. That’s why utility companies add the obnoxious smell of rotten eggs as a warning sign. If you smell it, get out of the area at once, says utility company BGE.

BGE offers the following advice:

  • Do not try to fix the leak or find the cause. Instead, evacuate quickly and then call the local gas company’s toll-free number for reporting emergencies. BGE’s number is 1-800-685-0123.
  • Extinguish open flames before leaving. Natural gas is highly combustible and any electrical spark could set off a fire.
  • Don’t mess with electrical switches or stop to unplug anything. All of these devices, including battery operated equipment, can cause sparks and ignite natural gas.
  • Do not start any motorized equipment.

A safety check-up can reduce the risk of natural gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning, BGE says. A qualified heating contractor can perform this service.

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