Gas Services

Gas Leaks Can Be Dangerous

Gas Leaks NYC can be dangerous and should never be ignored. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the property in a safe location and call your local utility company.

Gas Leaks

Natural gas has a distinctive odor that many describe as rotten eggs or sulfur. Utility companies add a chemical called mercaptan to the gas to make it easier to detect.

The pipes that connect to your home’s gas meter and supply natural gas to appliances like stoves and ovens have a limited lifespan. Over time, these lines can corrode or break, resulting in a leak. When this happens, the leaking natural gas can create a dangerous situation that could result in fire, explosion, property damage, or serious bodily injury. The best way to prevent these types of problems is to check the condition of your gas pipes regularly and have any issues repaired immediately.

When a damaged pipe occurs, you should first shut off the gas to your home at the meter. After that, you should take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family before proceeding with a repair. These steps can include pressurizing the line with air, soaping down all exposed fittings, isolating lines, accessing lines in the wall and excavating pipes underground.

These measures will help you identify the location and severity of the leak and give you an idea of how much the repair will cost and a possible timeline for when it can be completed. Once the repairs are done, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs that your pipeline is at risk again. These signs include a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near an appliance or the gas meter. Another common indicator of a gas leak is dead or dying vegetation in the area.

If you suspect that your gas pipeline is leaking, it’s critical to evacuate your home and call the utility company. They will send an inspector to evaluate the problem and determine if it’s safe for you to return home. In the meantime, you should make sure that you’ve installed carbon monoxide detectors and air out your home before returning to avoid any long-term health effects.

While gas pipeline leaks can be dangerous, they do not pose a significant threat to plant and animal life. However, they do release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is a concern for many environmental groups. They are also a major source of water pollution, which is especially harmful to the environment in areas where the leaked gas is found.

Leaking Regulators

Unlike transmission lines, which are typically underground, gas regulators sit exposed to the elements. The pressure of the regulated gas can increase dramatically, causing regulators to open and leak. The problem is often caused by a cracked diaphragm, which controls how much air flows downstream. This can occur due to improper lubrication or too many pressure change cycles. Larger regulators may require replacement of the entire unit, while smaller units can be repaired by replacing the diaphragm.

Regulators are also vulnerable to mechanical failure due to internal and external corrosion. Stainless steel components are susceptible to oxidation, and corrosion accelerates under harsh service conditions. Regulators are constantly subjected to high pressures from cylinders, which put strain on the materials of construction. Additionally, most regulators are installed outside and are exposed to rain, snow and ice, which can cause gauges to rust or springs to corrode.

A leaking regulator can be dangerous, especially if the gas escapes into a residential or commercial building. It can cause an explosion, resulting in property damage and loss of life. For example, a 2016 explosion at a apartment complex in Silver Spring was caused by a leaking regulator inside the meter room.

Leaked natural gas can also create a fire hazard, and the fire can be difficult to extinguish. It can also lead to toxic fumes, which can poison people and animals.

For this reason, it is important to keep your gas meter and regulators in good working condition. The best way to do this is by regularly checking your regulators for leaks and repairing any damage as soon as possible.

As we’ve seen, distortions in price regulation can cause utilities to misallocate resources to avoid commodity leaks. This can have negative consequences for climate, safety, and the quality of gas delivered to customers. Fortunately, this problem can be corrected by implementing incentive-compatible leak abatement policies. In particular, a carbon tax would help to align incentives with the full social cost of leaks, which is an order of magnitude larger than commodity costs. This can reduce distortions and help bring about the theoretical first-best outcome.

Leaking Valves

Although natural gas is an inexpensive and reliable energy source, it can become dangerous when there are leaks. This is because natural gas (composed of methane) is flammable and can displace oxygen in the air, resulting in an asphyxiation risk for people near the leaking gas.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent leaks and protect your health. Regularly maintaining gas lines, appliances, and gas meters will help you spot a problem before it becomes serious. It is also a good idea to regularly clean the areas around gas lines and appliances. If you suspect a gas leak, shut off the gas supply using the shut-off valve located next to the appliance and call your local utility company or a licensed plumber immediately.

A slow gas leak can go unnoticed for a long time. The most common symptom is the occurrence of an odor similar to that of rotten eggs. In addition, you might notice that your house plants are unhealthy or dead despite being surrounded by healthy ones. This is because a slow gas leak deprives the plants of oxygen.

Gas leaks can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which causes dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. It is especially hazardous for infants, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory or cardiovascular problems. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Another danger of gas leaks is that they can create explosions or fires. This is particularly true if the leaks occur in gas meters or the pipes that connect them to appliances. In these cases, the resulting fumes can spread throughout the home and become highly toxic.

Aside from faulty installation or maintenance, the most common cause of a gas leak is corrosion. This can happen in old or deteriorating pipes, which are often exposed to water and other elements that corrode the metal. Corrosion can also occur in the joints where two pieces of pipe meet. When this occurs, the joints may become loose or completely break apart. As a result, a gas leak can occur in the space between the pipes or at the joints.


The gas explosion that rocked a New York City neighborhood last month was an unfortunate reminder of how old and corroded our gas pipelines are. The good news is that overall pipeline safety is much better than it was 20 years ago, thanks to companies and regulators doing their jobs. The bad news is that natural gas (NG) leaks still kill a dozen people a year and cost consumers $2 billion a year in unnecessary costs.

Corrosion occurs when metals react with their environment to form a different material, usually an oxide. Common examples include the rusting of iron and the tarnishing of silver. Whether it is harmless, like the greenish patina on the Statue of Liberty, or deadly, as in the case of the East Harlem disaster, corrosion can affect all kinds of materials and structures.

Age and constant exposure deteriorate gas lines, especially older copper and cast-iron pipes. The corrosion erodes the outer layers of the pipe until it develops hairline cracks or completely breaks. These cracks are often caused by improper installation or unprotected areas where the pipe meets other pipes, fittings and other structures.

Leaks can also occur when flex lines and other connectors to appliances are not properly fitted, or when the seal on a gas valve becomes weakened. Pure natural gas is colorless and odorless, so it cannot be detected by human senses, but a small amount of an odorant such as mercaptans is added to help detect leaking gas. People who detect a rotten egg or other unpleasant smell should evacuate the area immediately and call their local utility to report the leak.

In addition to a potential fire or explosion, a gas leak can lead to the release of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, both of which are harmful to humans. Exposure to these gases over long periods of time can cause respiratory problems, depression and other health issues.

Our analysis of leak density by metro shows that leak rates increase with increasing median housing age in eight of the nine metropolitan areas we studied. In Staten Island, the correlation is even more pronounced, with leak density rising by an estimated 15% for every 10-year increase in median home age.