Because gas is natural and more efficient than electricity, many people choose gas-powered products over their electrical counterparts. One downside to such products, however, is that they have the potential to malfunction and send gas throughout the home. Gas leaks within the home can have a variety of effects on those living within the home and on the home itself.
Many gas leaks are slow and undetectable. This can eventually lead to natural gas poisoning, which can have serious effects on the health of all of a home's living occupants: humans, pets and even plants. Symptoms of natural gas poisoning include gastrointestinal problems, an increase in allergic reactions, fatigue, forgetfulness, high red and white blood cell counts, migraines, pain and discomfort.
Smell and Sound
Gas leaks typically emit a rotten-egg smell throughout the house. However, if the gas leak is slow and steady, this smell can be undetectable. The rotten-egg smell can dissipate over time so that it's not detectable, which can lead people to assume incorrectly that the problem has been resolved. Another sign of a gas leak is a hissing sound that may be coming from the damaged line or appliance that is causing the problem.
Another harmful effect of a home gas leak is the potential for a fire. If gas builds up enough in a home, something as minor as lighting a match or igniting an oven burner could cause the entire home to go up in flames. A fire caused by a gas leak could also cause further explosions in household appliances that commonly use natural gas, such as clothes dryers, furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
Resolving a gas leak can be a costly endeavor. People should never attempt to repair gas leaks themselves because it could potentially worsen the problem; instead, residents should hire a professional. In more extreme cases, an entire appliance may need to be replaced to resolve a gas leak. Another cost is related to health expenses from the ailments residents may suffer from if they succumb to natural gas poisoning.
Scott Cornell began writing for professional publications in 2004. His early writing appeared in "The State News" and he has since been published in a family of newspapers in northeast Indiana, "Sports Illustrated" (Campus Editions) and on several sports blogs. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.