Updated December 1, 2023
Natural gas is highly flammable and dangerous when you inhale. That means you should take necessary precautions when you smell gas from your furnace. It’s not normal to smell gas near a furnace unless the unit is faulty. If you smell a faint gas smell near the unit when it’s running, it’s probably nothing to stress about. Gas furnaces can sometimes emit small gas amounts when running. However, you may need furnace repair services if the faint gas smell gets stronger or becomes persistent by the day.
Signs of a Gas Leak
So, how do you know what a gas leak smells like? A gas leak is often accompanied by a distinctive odor that is likened to rotten eggs. This smell is intentionally added to natural gas to serve as an early warning sign, as the gas itself is colorless and odorless. If you detect this strong, sulfur-like odor in or around your home, it is crucial to take immediate action.
Other signs of a gas leak may include a hissing sound near a gas line, dead or dying plants in the vicinity of gas pipes, and a visible white cloud or fog. Additionally, symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing may indicate exposure to natural gas, requiring prompt evacuation and professional assistance. In any suspected gas leak situation, it is essential to prioritize safety and contact emergency services for assistance.
- Distinctive odor similar to rotten eggs
- Hissing sound near a gas line
- Dead or dying vegetation around gas pipes
- Visible white cloud or fog
- Symptoms like dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing
What to Do
A gas smell around the furnace is a sign of gas leaks. You need to take immediate precautions if you smell gas around your furnace as you wait for an expert in furnace repair. The first step should be to turn off the furnace via the thermostat and ventilate the house to get rid of the gas. You should also turn off the main gas supply to the heater and call a furnace professional for diagnosis and repair.
If you suspect a gas leak, it is imperative to evacuate the premises promptly. Avoid using electrical devices, light switches, or anything that might generate a spark, as this could potentially ignite the gas. Additionally, refrain from lighting matches or using lighters and steer clear of open flames, including candles and gas appliances.
Contact your local gas company’s emergency line or emergency services immediately to report the gas leak. Provide crucial information, such as your location and the noticeable gas smell. Meanwhile, open doors and windows to facilitate ventilation and disperse the gas. However, avoid using fans, as they could spread the gas further.
Turn off all gas appliances, including stoves, ovens, and heaters. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to extinguish pilot lights. Implement preventive measures by regularly inspecting and maintaining gas appliances to mitigate the risk of leaks. Installing a gas detector in key areas of your home can also provide an early warning system.
If you or others experience symptoms of gas exposure, such as dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention. It is crucial to stay outside and refrain from re-entering the building until it has been declared safe by professionals. Professionals should assess and address the gas leak before occupants return.
During the gas leak incident, avoid smoking in the vicinity and stay away from designated smoking areas until authorities give the all-clear. Once the gas company or emergency services have resolved the leak, schedule a professional inspection of gas lines and appliances to ensure long-term safety.
Quick and decisive action is paramount when confronted with a gas leak. Adhering to the guidance of emergency services and gas professionals is essential to minimize risks, prevent potential hazards, and ensure the safety of individuals in the affected area.
Now that you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions, what causes a gas leak from a furnace?
Cracked Heat Exchanger
The heat exchanger component of your furnace is responsible for heating your home’s air. Several things cause cracked heat exchangers, but the common cause is overheating. A cracked component allows the gases to mix with the heated air that enters your indoor air. It’s essential to repair a cracked heat exchanger because it can be hazardous to your family.
Back-drifting happens when combustion gases leak from the furnace into your house, rather than exiting the residence through the exhaust flue. Some possible causes of back-drafting may include leaky ducts and a leaky, disconnected, or clogged flue. Additionally, running too many exhaust fans in the house can cause back-drifting.
Gas Line or Valve Leak
Natural gas gets to the furnace through gas lines. The gas valve controls gas flow into the furnace through gas lines. If a gas line or valve leaks, you’ll notice a strong gas smell around the furnace. Gas lines leak due to improper installation, age, and accidental damage.
You’ll require a professional to inspect and repair your furnace if you smell gas around it. We have a team of trained and experienced professionals in Sonora for furnace and air conditioner repairs You can also rely on us for humidifiers, ventilation, zoning systems, thermostats, and air purifiers. Contact Gatewood Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today if you can smell gas around your home’s furnace.