Posts Tagged ‘gas leaks’

Summer is here. Be safe!

June 17, 2014

Summer SafetySafety is a top priority for us in the work we do in your home. We stress it every day.  In fact an energy audit is only partially about saving you money.  It is also about keeping you and your family safe.  As part of our audit, we check for gas leaks on the combustion equipment in your home like your furnace or gas stove.

While we keep you safe inside, here are a few tips to keep you safe outside as summer closes in:

  • Watch out for Bugs!  Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common.  Repellants are helpful for both.  If ticks are an issue in your area there are some simple landscaping efforts you can do to help deter them.
  • Enjoy the sunshine, but cover up! Hats, sunscreen and shade are encouraged.
  • If it gets too hot inside your home and even hotter oustide, maybe energy efficiency improvements are what you need for safety’s sake!

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

Photo by Steffen Flor  from wikimedia commons

Your Guide To Gas Leaks

October 12, 2010

Welcome to GreenHomes Combustion Safety Week!

Topic of the Day is Gas Leaks.

Each day this week we will be addressing a different topic on the safety of your home in regards to combustion equipment.

Today we start with the prevention and detection of gas leaks.

Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous as natural gas is highly combustible. If a gas line, connection, or any of your gas burning appliances leak you and your family are in danger of fire or explosion.

To PREVENT gas leaks (the best way to go) always have your gas burning appliances installed by a licensed contractor, and have such a contractor check your home and appliances for you as part of an annual  check-up, as the EPA recommends for all combustion appliances, and after renovation.

While you should rely on a professional, always BE ON THE LOOK OUT for gas leaks using your senses of smell, sight and hearing.

Smell: By itself, natural gas doesn’t have any odor.  To help alert us to leaks, it is doped with a harmless substance called mercaptan, which smells like rotten eggs. If you smell rotten eggs, and you don’t think you’ve left  decomposing poultry products on the counter, follow the evacuation procedure below.

Sight: On rare occasions, if you have a gas leak the pressure of gas escaping the pipes, connections or fixtures could cause dust to blow around or water to bubble. Additionally, if you have a gas leak outside your home it may cause the surrounding vegetation to whither and die. If you notice any of these problems around your home, follow the evacuation procedure.  We don’t recommend that you try to find these leaks yourself.

Sound: Also rare, hissing and blowing sounds near a gas meter, piping or appliance are a red flag.  If you experience this follow the evacuation procedure.

EVACUATION PROCEEDURE:

1.     Extinguish any open flames in your immediate vicinity including stove tops, cigarettes, candles, incense etc.

2.     Do not switch on or off any appliances or lights or make any phone calls. This can create sparks that can ignite gas.

3.     Leave the building with your family as soon as possible, leaving the door open as you exit.

4.     Call your gas company from your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone and ask them to immediately check your house for gas leaks.

Important Tip: It is not safe to use a telephone inside a home that has a gas leak, so it is wise to program your gas company’s phone number into your cell phone or leave their business card in your car or taped inside your letterbox.

Tomorrow: Carbon Monoxide Safety…

Can natural gas leaks kill you?

September 13, 2010

Because of the spike in inquires in the wake of the massive California natural gas explosions, I’m reposting an article from last year.  If you read no further, carry this away:  take gas leaks seriously.

We had a few searches hit our website with people asking if natural gas leaks can kill you.  YES, THEY CAN.   They should be taken very seriously.  The big risk is fire or explosion–enough to lose your home and injure or kill everyone in it.  [Google "gas leak house fire" for recent examples, beyond the California disaster.]

If you smell gas, it’s a bad leak and should be fixed.  Note that propone can be even more problematic since it’s heavier than air and can settle and collect in low spots like basements.  If you notice a faint smell of gas, call the gas company or a qualified contractor immediately.  If you notice a strong smell of gas, get out of the house immediately and then call the gas company from a safe location.  You may not be able to detect leaks be smell, however, and you should have your lines tested for leaks periodically–we suggest doing so along with your regular furnace maintenance.

This is not an alarmist plea to panic about using gas.  It’s what I use to heat my home, and it’s how most homes in the U.S. are heated.  It has great advantages as a heating fuel.  I much prefer it to oil, which is dirtier, smellier, and fouls equipment faster.  It also allows for much more efficient equipment.  But gas must be used safely, and leaks should be taken seriously.

That’s why you should have your home tested for gas leaks and combustion safety issues (such as proper drafting of fuel-burning appliances and carbon monoxide spillage).  This is particulary true if you’re changing your house–remodeling, adding windows, insulating and air-sealing, etc since you not only have the risk of bumping pipe and loosening joints, but you also change to dynamics of how the house operates.

Take gas leaks seriously.  And insist that anyone working in your house take them seriously, too. 

Thanks,
Mike

Some sobering home maintenance statistics

November 5, 2009

I work with a great group of people at GreenHomes—and they help me look at things in new ways every day.  Thanks for this eye-opener from Frank at our Simi Valley (formerly Air King) office.

  1. 15,600 dryer fires occur each year resulting in property damage exceeding $75 million dollars. The leading cause? LACK OF MAINTENANCE
  2. 15,260 injuries and 2,660 deaths annually due to failure or problems with smoke alarms, sprinklers and fire extinguishers
  3. 38,300 reported home electrical fires including 120 deaths and 390 injuries associated with electrical wiring, circuit breakers, fuses and meters
  4. 49,200 heating equipment related home fires

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; National Fire Protection Association, 2008

Add this to the discussions of carbon monoxide, gas leaks, and moisture problems. Professional maintenance just doesn’t save you money and protect your property … it saves lives!

Spring and fall are good times to get your heating and cooling equipment checked and tuned to make sure they’re operating safely and efficiently.

Thanks,
Mike

“Can gas leaks kill you?”

October 28, 2009

Had a few searches hit our website with people asking if natural gas leaks can kill you.  YES, THEY CAN.   They should be taken very seriously.  The big risk is fire or explosion–enough to lose your home and injure or kill everyone in it.  [Google "gas leak house fire" for recent examples]

If you smell gas, it’s a bad leak and should be fixed.  Note that propone can be even more problematic since it’s heavier and can settle and collect in low spots like basements.  If you notice a faint smell of gas, call the gas company or a qualified contractor immediately.  If you notice a strong smell of gas, get out of the house immediately and then call the gas company from a safe location.

This is not an alarmist plea to panic about using gas.  It’s what I use to heat my home, and its how most homes in the U.S. are heated.  It has great advantages as a heating fuel.  I much prefer it to oil, which is dirtier, smellier, and fouls equipment faster.  It also allows for much more efficient equipment.  But gas must be used safely, and leaks should be taken seriously.

That’s why you should have your home tested for gas leaks and combustion safety issues (such as proper drafting of fuel-burning appliances and carbon monoxide spillage).  This is particulary true if you’re changing your house–remodeling, adding windows, insulating and air-sealing, etc since you not only have the risk of bumping pipe and loosening joints, but you also change to dynamics of how the house operates.

Take gas leaks seriously.  And insist that anyone working in your house take them seriously, too. 

Thanks,
Mike

Gas leaks (and combustion safety)

August 17, 2009

Just an example from Sharon T., a customer in Central New York on why we test every home for gas leaks and combustion safety issues.

I called [National Grid] immediately and someone was here within 20 minutes.  There was a leak and the man said “whoever the fella was that found the leak had it pinpointed perfectly”….   They had the leak repaired (put in a new connection) and were on their way in no time.

 I thank you for taking the time to check for leaks. 

Note, Sharon is a window customer.  Most window contractors would NOT test for gas leaks and combustion safety issues.  We believe it is very important, whether you’re getting heating or cooling equipment, windows, insulation & air-sealing, or about any other significant change to your home.  If your contractor won’t do it, find someone who will.

Last week in NJ as part of an inital home assessment, we found a backdrafting water heater, with melted pipe insulation and plastic fittings on the top of the heater.  And this unit had just been installed (not by us!) in November.  We find things like this in 20-25% of the homes we visit.  And the homes and the people who live in them are at risk.

Please do get this stuff checked!

Thanks,
Mike

Gas leaks and Carbon Monoxide Problems in CA

July 23, 2009

This is a bit disconcerting, folks.  In 14 of the last 18 homes we’ve visited on home assessments in California, we’ve found either significant gas leaks, carbon monoxide or combustion issues or all of the above.   In New York, it’s more like 20-25% of the time.  Either way, this is serious stuff.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuels like gas, oil, and wood—and it can kill you.  At lower doses, CO can worsen heart conditions, and cause fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness.  

Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating and venting correctly.  And install a CO alarm.  We are required to install a UL listed alarm, and I have several in my own home.  As an additional level of protection, I also have a CO Experts monitor which provides readings at a much lower level.

NOTE:  ANYONE WHOSE CO ALARM IS GOING OFF SHOULD IMMEDIATELY GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, CALL 911, and seek help from a professional to locate and fix the source of the problem.

Don’t wait for an alarm to go off, though.  Check out the National Safety Council’s general recommendations.   As mentioned, all homeowners should get at least an annual check-up on their heating and hot-water system to make sure they are operating properly.  And anytime you make changes to your home, from building an addition, to adding air-conditioning, to changing your windows, you should have an expert make sure that all equipment is operating and venting properly.

Regarding the gas leaks, the big risk there is fire or explosion.  While you’re getting your appliances serviced, ask to have your gas lines checked, too.

Safety is more important than energy-efficiency–and that’s why we begin and end every project with safety testing.

Be safe!
Mike


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,068 other followers

%d bloggers like this: