Tips in case of a natural gas leak

Credit: Ameren Illinois
Credit: Ameren Illinois

PARIS, Ill (WTHI) – Nobody wants trouble with the heat come wintertime, especially if you use natural gas to warm the home.

If you ever smell natural gas in your house, you need to get outdoors immediately. Shut off any lights and leave doors open so you can help vent gas out of your home and help stop it from igniting. Leave your phone off until you get outdoors to call 9-1-1 and the utility company.

Ameren East Illinois Director George Justice says familiarizing yourself with the smell could save your life.

“It’s a really obnoxious smell and we put that smell in the gas,” explained Justice. “The gas itself is naturally odorless. We put that smell in there so if there’s a leak in the piping system inside or out, customers will be able to smell that.”

That obnoxious smell is akin to rotten eggs, and Ameren even offers scratch and sniff papers featuring the “lovely” scent just for familiarity.

Bad stove connections are often the culprits for indoor gas leaks.

“Our main cause of gas leaks is the connector from the wall pipe that attaches to the stove,” said Justice. “Over time that flexes and may get a small hole in it, that sort of thing. Inside the home the fittings may come loose. A lot of times we can just tighten something and correct a gas leak.”

Brown patches in the grass and any blowing dirt are signs that you might have an outdoor leaks. Especially if they appear around the gas meter.

Careless digging is often the culprit.

“If you’re going to dig any kind of hole, planting a tree, or doing whatever in your yard, you need to call 8-1-1 in Illinois to have our gas lines and other facilities marked,” urged Justice.

You can call that number in Indiana as well.

Here are some links for further gas safety information:

Ameren Illinois: https://www.ameren.com/customer-service/gas-leak

Duke Energy: https://www.duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/natural-gas-safety