In Colorado, a great many of our furnaces, water heaters and stoves run on natural gas. It’s a prevalent and cost effective energy source that’s also a lot cleaner than wood and coal alternatives. However, gas leaks can be deadly.
So, what should you do if you suspect a gas leak? It might not be what you think.
What not to do if you suspect a gas leak
Do not play Sherlock Holmes. You don’t need to find the source of the leak and attempt to patch broken pipes or shutoff valves on your own. If you aren’t deeply familiar with the natural gas equipment and connections in your house, don’t mess with them.
Silly as it may sound – don’t light a match or lighter. Some people have tested suspected gas leaks with open flames. As you can imagine, this can be a deadly test. It’s unnecessary and dangerous. Don’t do it.
Don’t use your cell phone or start your car in close proximity to suspected leaks. Either can spark a flame and ignite the gas.
Get out and away
If the gas leak is in the home, get outside right away. If gas is filling the air, it will limit the oxygen in your space. It’s also highly flammable and can be susceptible to ignition with simple sparks from static electricity.
Call for help
If you feel the situation is fairly stable, call your utility company and report the suspected leak. The company will send repairmen right away and might even be able to shut gas off remotely. If you’re worried there could be a fire or explosion, call 911. The emergency responders will send firemen and will dispatch utility personnel.
Denver – Xcel Energy: 800-895-4999
Pikes Peak Region – Black Hills Energy: 800-694-8989
Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs Utilities: 719-448-4800
San Luis Valley – Xcel Energy: 800-895-4999
Contact the Energy Resource Center
After a gas leak has been repaired, contact the Energy Resource Center to have a technician evaluate your systems and identify areas that might need repair. In addition to focusing on safety, the ERC does home energy efficiency evaluations and free efficiency upgrades for income-qualified families in the Denver Metro Area, the Pikes Peak Region and the San Luis Valley.