Common Smells & Symptoms Caused By a Gas Leak
August 17, 2023
If you own a home or business in the Queens, NYC area chances are your heating and/or hot water equipment is powered by natural gas. While natural gas is a great energy source, like any plumbing system leaks are capable of occurring.
Natural gas is tasteless and odorless in its natural state, but it's also highly toxic and flammable. Because gas is such a volatile fuel source, if a gas leak does occur, it can be very dangerous.
Some of the most common symptoms of a gas leak include:
- The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur
- Ringing in your ears
- Chest pain and dizziness
- Flu-like symptoms
This article explains some possible physical symptoms that can go hand in hand with a gas leak so that you can act quickly.
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It Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Gas leaks can be dangerous and potentially deadly, and one of the most common signs of a gas leak is the smell. One of the most common smells of a gas leak is a sulfur-like or "rotten egg" smell. This smell is added to natural gas as a safety measure to help people detect leaks. However, it isn't always present. It's important to be familiar with the smell and pay attention to odor changes in your home or around your gas appliances. If you notice any unusual or strong odors, it's important to take action immediately. Gas leaks can sometimes cause a musty smell like garlic or a skunk. You should call your gas company immediately if you notice any of these smells.
It's important to note that gas leaks can also be odorless and colorless, so it's important to be aware of any other signs of a gas leak. If you suspect a gas leak, you should evacuate the area immediately and call your gas company or emergency services.
You Hear a Ringing in Your Ears
A gas leak can cause tinnitus or a ringing in the ears. This is because exposure to high levels of certain gases, such as carbon monoxide, can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear, leading to tinnitus. Additionally, exposure to high levels of natural gas, composed primarily of methane, can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea, which can contribute to tinnitus.
It's important to note that ringing in the ears is not a common symptom of gas leaks and is not typically the first sign of a gas leak. The most common signs of a gas leak are the sulfur-like or "rotten egg" smell, hissing or whistling sounds, and bubbles in standing water.
Chest Pain and Dizziness
If you experience chest pain or dizziness while standing over the stove, it could indicate a problem with your gas line. Exposure to certain gases, such as carbon monoxide and methane, can cause various health effects.
Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, and oil produces a colorless and odorless carbon monoxide. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and even death.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, can also cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea when inhaled in large quantities. Additionally, inhaling natural gas can displace the oxygen in the air and cause a person to suffocate.
Don't be surprised if you get a nosebleed after noticing a gas leak. Exposure to sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) can irritate the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, and lungs, leading to nosebleeds. Additionally, exposure to high levels of natural gas, composed primarily of methane, can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea, which can contribute to nosebleeds.
Flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue are fairly common when dealing with long-term exposure to low levels of natural gas and carbon monoxide. Burning fossil fuels, such as natural gas, produces an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas called carbon monoxide.
Long-term exposure to low levels of CO can cause flu-like symptoms, and high levels of CO can cause serious health effects such as brain damage, heart damage, and even death. Methane, the main component of natural gas, can also cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea when inhaled in large quantities.
What To Do If You Have a Gas Leak
If you notice any signs of a gas leak, immediately contact your provider to have the gas shut off until you can get a plumber out to fix the lines. It's a good idea to have your gas lines inspected yearly and to install gas detectors to monitor indoor air quality. While natural gas has an added odor of rotten eggs, if the scent fails or you have nasal congestion, you may not notice the common smells of a gas leak when it starts. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is a great way to add safety without major home remodels.
Need help with a leaky gas line?
Call Ranshaw Plumbing & Heating at (718) 767-0707 today for dependable work done right the first time. We’ve been serving the Queens area for over 60 years and have earned hundreds of 5-star reviews for our dependable and efficient service.
Our technicians give you honest and upfront pricing before going to work, and we can finish most gas line repairs in a few hours.
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