By Patricia L Johnson
Saturday afternoon I went downstairs to put some clothes in the dryer. Usually I don’t go any further than the laundry room because the rooms beyond haven’t been cleaned out since our last son moved. My intent was to have my helper start packing later that day so I figured, while I was downstairs, I’d take a quick peek in the rooms to get a general idea how many storage boxes would be needed. I never got that far.
As I walked past the furnace I smelled the very distinct smell of natural gas. It wasn’t a strong smell, just a very faint smell so I asked my helper to come downstairs. When she walked in the door to the laundry room I asked if she smelled anything and she said no, so I asked her to go into the other room and she never got that far. As she walked in front of the furnace she said she smelled gas, so I contacted our local gas company.
I told them that if there was a leak it was probably was a small leak because the smell wasn’t very strong, but they asked we follow their normal safety precautions as follows:
- Do not hang up the land line, they will disconnect from their office [they prefer you leave first and then call].
- Do not turn anything electrical on or off, leave everything running as is.
- Do not light any matches or use a flame for anything.
- Do not use any cell phones on your way out.
- Get everyone out of the house, but stay on a neighboring property so you can show the representative the problem when they arrive. Wait time 30-60 minutes.
It was just a little more than 30 minutes when the gas technician arrived. As he waved his magic wand up and down the pipes it was easy to determine that there was, indeed, a gas leak due to the sound made by his equipment.
He spent about an hour checking out the furnace and repairing the leak, which was apparently due to substandard installation of our relatively new furnace. In addition to the one pipe not being connected properly, it was also loose enough that you could move it just by touching it and sooner, rather than later, would have been a major problem.
The technician told me the leak had been there for quite a while but because of the fact natural gas travels up when released and in this instance the leak was only about 12″ from the ceiling, the escaped gas would have been dispersed into the air and gone unnoticed.
I seriously doubt that we were ever in any major danger, but the fact remains the best course of action – as determined by the gas company saying is “Smell Gas, Act Fast”.
© 2013 Patricia L Johnson