How to Find a Gas Leak

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When using a gas fuel source, it’s important that you know how to check gas leaks.  Every leak is dangerous, no matter how small.  Every leak will also increase your fuel cost since you are steadily losing fuel over time.  It’s a good idea to have your entire fuel system inspected regularly for leaks anyway, but if you’re noticing a consistent fuel loss then it’s best to perform a quick check for leaks.

Homemade Detector

Gas leaks and air leaks from a tire are similar in principle (air isn’t dangerous but leaks out just the same).  You can check for leaks from your gas lines the same way you would from a tire.  Fill a spray bottle with dish soap and spray it over the area you think has the leak.  The most likely place will be where the gas line meets your appliance.  If you see air bubbles begin to form, you’ve found the source of your leak.  Once you know where the leak is, you can replace the faulty component and restore your appliance to service.

Carbon Monoxide

A major component of propane is carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide is hazardous to humans, but it is also odorless and colorless.  The only way to detect it if an odorant is not present is with a carbon monoxide detector.  CO detectors are inexpensive safety devices that should be placed near any gas-based appliances.  Since CO is heavier than air, it sinks to the bottom of the room.  CO detectors should be placed low, along the floor if possible for the earliest detection of CO leaks.  If there is a CO leak, shut down your feed lines and open exterior windows to air out the room and the building.

Gas Detector

Then again, you can always use an electronic detection device to identify leaks in a system.  These work similarly to CO detectors, but they search for abnormal pockets of gas in the air.  They aren’t able to identify exactly where on the pipeline that a leak exists, but they will alert you to the presence of a leak so you can find it or call a repair technician.

Deduction & Repair

Of course, you can always identify a leak using your senses as well.  Keep an eye out for these signs that you’re system is leaking gas:

  • Higher fuel costs each month
  • The steady loss of fuel even when not using your appliances
  • Hissing noise from pipes not in use
  • The smell of rotten eggs

The last point is especially important.  The scent of rotten eggs is added to propane to give it an easily detectable smell.  If you can smell gas, you should immediately clear the room and cut off your gas at the source to prevent more from filling in.  Call a service technician to help find and repair the leak quickly.

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