The Dangers of DIY with Gas Lines

Are you a rather handy individual and can usually figure your way around home improvement projects? There are lots of projects that can be DIY’d safely and effectively, but gas work is not one of those things. Gas lines and fixtures can be dangerous and if improperly handled, can cost you your life. 

We don’t say this to scare you, but to instead raise awareness of the risks associated with working with gas lines in your home.

Accidents Happen More Often Then You May Think

Gas explosions are not a rare occurrence. There is an average of 155 incidents that occur each year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

In Summer 2020, there was a large gas explosion in Baltimore that killed 2 people and injured 7 others. The likely cause of the explosion was due to faulty customer-owned equipment. This explosion destroyed 3 homes and damaged dozens more. More information regarding this tragedy can be found here

Another tragic incident that has occurred is the death of a 2-year-old girl due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The landlord had attempted to fix the gas furnace which resulted in the release of carbon monoxide in the home. 

What Causes Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless and odorless gas that is produced when carbon-based fuels (ex: natural gas, propane, etc.) are burned without enough oxygen. This leads to incomplete combustion.

The causes of carbon monoxide with natural gas appliances can be improper installation, poor maintenance, and appliance misuse or failure. When appliances are not functioning properly or when the combustion gases are not being vented out, carbon monoxide can begin to build up in the home. 

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to identify because they appear as sudden, unexplained symptoms like:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue, drowsiness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

If you Suspect Carbon Monoxide or Gas Leak

The most important thing to do if you suspect carbon monoxide or a gas leak is to leave the home immediately. 

  1. On your way out of the home, turn off any gas appliances and open as many windows and doors as you can. 
  2. Call 911 to receive medical attention for carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Call your gas company to notify them of a suspected gas leak.
  4. After the gas company evaluates your home, contact your local plumber to perform the necessary repairs.
  5. If you experienced a gas leak, you will want to contact the gas company after the repairs have been made so that they can inspect them.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide & Gas Leaks

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding carbon monoxide and gas leaks in your home. Have your natural gas appliances inspected by a licensed professional yearly. Perform all necessary maintenance on gas appliances.

If repairs need to be made or you need to install a new gas appliance, seek the support of a licensed professional to ensure that all gas work is done correctly and safely. Our team at Donovan WaterWorks is highly skilled and trained to safely and effectively manage gas lines and appliances. Give us a call! 

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