How to check for gas leaks at home: effective ways to check and deal with leaks

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Alina Zlobina
Last update: November 2019

Gas appliances are convenient, highly efficient, economical, make our life more comfortable and simple. But you must be extremely careful in handling them, since blue fuel is a source of increased potential danger.

Due to violation of the operating rules and untimely identification of problems with the equipment, explosions, fires occur, serious poisoning, suffocation occur. To eliminate unpleasant consequences, it is important to be able to recognize emergency situations and take appropriate measures. This knowledge will help protect yourself and your family.

The main factor that indicates a malfunction is leakage. We will tell you how to check a gas leak at home and what to do if it is detected. We also consider the probable causes of the problems and recall what preventive measures must be followed when using gas appliances.

The main causes and places of gas leakage

Sometimes a normal household leak is enough for a powerful explosion. An explosive mixture is formed when the concentration of blue fuel in the air reaches 5-15%. Under such circumstances, the "trigger" will even turn on the light in the room.

In everyday life, two types of gas are used: naturalwhich is centrally supplied through the main pipeline, and liquefiedstored in special containers. Often, troubles are associated specifically with gas cylinders. They explode if dropped, improperly stored and used.

Gas leak choking
Once in the surrounding air, methane helps to reduce the amount of oxygen available. As a result, people in a gassed room experience oxygen starvation, which leads to suffocation

Besides basic negligence and ignoring device operating rulesAmong the common causes of leakage are the following:

  • re-equipment, unauthorized installation of gas boilers and stoves in an inappropriate place, without prior coordination with specialists;
  • illegal connection of devices by private individuals who do not have permission for such work;
  • gas pipe wear;
  • low-quality welding, rupture of welded joints;
  • corrosion damage to the walls of the gas pipeline;
  • tears and damage hosesconnecting equipment to the highway;
  • erasing sealing materials on taps and hoses, poor quality of threaded connections;
  • leaking gas valve;
  • extinct flame when the burner is on (due to draft, spilled water, contamination of the structure);
  • burner malfunctioning.

One of the most commonplace household reasons is the incomplete closure of the gas burner.

Typically, a leak occurs at the point of deformation of pipes and valves outside and inside the house, in the area of ​​rupture gas stove hoses, leaky threaded, flange connections. This results in wear and aging of materials.

How to check for leaks in an apartment or house?

The identification and timely liquidation of a leak is the main condition for the safe operation of gas appliances. Noticing any signs of a problem, it is advisable to immediately call the gas service.

There are several verification methods that can help you determine if there is a gas leak and whether to sound an alarm.

Method # 1 - by smell and by ear

The main sign indicating a likely leak is the characteristic specific smell in the room.

The smell of gas in the apartment
Ethyl mercaptan, a toxic substance with a rich, specific odor, is a fragrance for blue fuel. It is added to the mixture in an insignificant amount, safe for health, which is sufficient to make the aroma clearly felt in the air.

The gas itself, designed for domestic use, is neutral in both color and smell. But to prevent emergency situations, special substances are added to it - odorants. It is these components that give the mixture an unpleasant aroma that allows you to accurately determine the excess gas concentration in the air.

If there is a sharp smell of rotten cabbage, rotten eggs or fresh hay in the room, then somewhere there is a leak. Often it is taken for stench from spoiled products, the aromas of fuels and lubricants and paints. However, if you suspect something is wrong, you should definitely make sure that there is no problem.

Emergency gas leak check
Having felt the characteristic smell of gas in the room, you need to contact the gas workers or use additional verification methods. The emergency service responds to such messages quickly enough and arrives at the site on average within 40 minutes

Another sign of leaks is the whistling sound that appears in depressurization places. In areas with damage, gas escapes with a strong stream with a whistle and hiss. Such a sound indicates obvious, serious malfunctions.

Method # 2 - touch leak test

Despite the fact that the gas is invisible, its leak can be felt by touch. To do this, hold your hand along the joints, joints, flange connections of the gas pipeline. The mixture coming out feels like a stream of cold air.

Touch gas leak test
Since methane is colder than air, during a tactile check it slightly cools the skin. To increase sensitivity, it is better to manipulate with wet hands

The tactile method is suitable only for easily accessible places where gas pipes not closed by the kitchen. In restricted areas, other verification methods are used.

Method # 3 - soap solution testing

To confirm the presence of a malfunction and identify the problem area, a visual inspection of the pipes is carried out using a soap solution to check for gas leakage.

A specially prepared foamed solution is applied with a thick brush or shaving brush to hoses, pipes, joints. Especially carefully recommend lubricating valves, connecting elements.

After application, it is important to carefully review each area smeared with the solution. If soap bubbles appear somewhere, this indicates the release of gas in this zone.

Soap leak detection
To prepare a "diagnostic" solution, any shampoo, shaving foam, soap, laundry detergent will do. It is necessary to dilute the product in water and beat in foam

When checking the external gas pipeline outside the house, you need to pay attention to brown spots on the snow, yellowing of the vegetation, disturbance of the ground cover and the formation of snow frost. All these are signs of a possible leak.

Method # 4 - pressure residual pressure testing

Next, we consider how a gas leak is determined in hard-to-reach places in the apartment. The method of pressure testing for residual pressure is ideal if it is inconvenient to wade with soapy water and instruments. It allows you to check all connections: from burners to the tap. It will take several minutes to complete the manipulation.

First you need to open the burners and pass gas through them. Then turn them off, shut off gas valve on the pipe. Thus, the system will not remain completely burnt to the end.

Further, having waited from 1 to 3 minutes, perform the following actions:

  • remove the lid from any burner;
  • a lit match is brought to the middle;
  • the hotplate switch suddenly opens to its maximum position.

In the absence of leaks, the remaining gas in the system will burn out. Otherwise, the remainder will have time to go outside through the damaged area and nothing will happen when the fire is brought to the burner.

Method # 5 - using sensors and a gas analyzer

The safest, most reliable and practical way to detect a leak is to install a gas detector in the room. This is a special device equipped with sensors that detect the presence of methane in the air and carbon monoxide.

If the concentration of these substances is exceeded, light and sound signals are triggered, notifying the owner of the problem. The device is installed at a distance of not less than 30 centimeters from the ceiling.

Gas leak detector in the kitchen
There are different types of sensors that differ in design, connection method, degree of autonomy, and operating principles. Their range is represented by simple models and multifunctional devices that work with several types of substances (combustible mixtures, carbon monoxide)

Wired sensors work from the network, wireless - from batteries. The former are easier to maintain and do not need to be controlled over the battery level. The second is mobile and independent of electrical power.

The main difference between the models is the method for determining the concentration of fuel, according to which there are three types of gas analyzers:

  • catalytic;
  • semiconductor;
  • infrared.

Catalytic gas analyzers are more often used in industrial facilities; they can operate both from the mains and from batteries. They are equipped with a chamber in which a small amount of gas is burned, which is triggered even with slight excesses of its concentration. At the same time, the temperature of the coil changes, to which the electronic microcircuit responds by triggering notifications.

Semiconductor sensors are affordable, designed for domestic use. They work only from the network, while their energy consumption is minimal.

The device of semiconductor gas sensors
The devices are equipped with a plate of semiconductor material coated with a specific chemical composition. If gas enters the plate, its electrical resistance changes. This is fixed by an electronic circuit that includes an alarm.

Infrared models are the most reliable and comfortable. They function from batteries and from the mains.Among their advantages are instant response, a minimum of false alarms, and economical energy consumption.

Model of infrared gas analyzer
Infrared sensors analyze air with radiation, easily detecting gas particles due to the difference in light scattering. When pollution is detected, light and sound alerts are turned on.

In addition to stationary equipment that provides continuous analysis of the gas environment, there are portable gas analyzers, which are used to search for leaks in pipes or for short-term measurement of gas concentration. Usually they are used by gas service specialists.

Leak Detection Procedure

If you suspect a leak, you should not fix the probable damage yourself. Instead, you need to immediately call the emergency gas service by telephone “104” or call the single emergency call number - “112”. And to do it better, leaving the apartment.

Do not use mobile and landline phones in a gas-filled room.

Prior to the arrival of specialists, it is important to adhere to certain rules of conduct.

First of all, it is necessary:

  1. Shut off the gas supply as quickly as possible by shutting off the gas pipe valve located behind the stove, the column tap.
  2. Open all windows, windows and the front door of the room, provide through ventilation.
  3. Take people out of the room onto the street or to a safe place.
  4. Turn off the power to the shield.

In no case should you turn on and off the light, electrical appliances. Any tiny spark can become a detonator of an explosion.

Gas emergency service
If there is a suspicion of a gas leak or fire, emergency services must be called and neighbors must be warned. Do not try to solve the problem on your own: you need to wait for the arrival of specialists and then follow their instructions

If gas has ignited in the damaged area, do not extinguish the flame yourself. As long as the mixture burns, it will not explode. In this case, you should urgently leave the room and call the rescue service.

Preventive measures

A number of preventive measures will prevent gas leakage, extreme situations associated with it, and other undesirable problems.

Rules binding on all household consumers:

  • when leaving the house, turn off all gas appliances, close the valves responsible for supplying gas;
  • Do not connect or repair the equipment yourself or with the help of dubious specialists, nor can you make any changes to the design;
  • control the functioning of the supply and exhaust ventilation, require a draft check at gas company specialists, ventilate the premises regularly;
  • do not use the stove for the purpose of heating, drying things and other objects from combustible materials;
  • remember the correct sequence for turning on the devices: first light a match, and then open the gas;
  • Do not leave the equipment turned on unattended, do not allow children or persons unfamiliar with the operating rules to it;
  • When checking for leaks, do not use lighted matches or a lighter.

As for gas cylinders, refuel they need exclusively at specialized points. Keep containers should be in well-ventilated rooms, but not on balconies, not in apartments and garages. They should be in an upright position in the shade, since heating from sunlight is contraindicated for them.

Identification of problems by the color of the flame in the burner
Possible problems can be judged by the color of the flame in the burners. It should be calm, have a deep blue color. Red, green and orange shades on fire - an occasion to contact gas workers

The most important rule is not to neglect the rules prescribed in the instructions for safe operation of appliances.

The gas equipment installed in the house must be in good condition, comply with technical requirements, undergo regular maintenance and checks. Using faulty appliances is strictly prohibited.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Useful information about a gas leak from the Ministry of Emergencies:

An overview of the most effective home leak detection methods:

Whatever gas equipment is used in everyday life, it is important to adhere to the operating rules and respond in time to signals indicating a possible gas leak. In order to recognize these signals and check whether gas is really coming out somewhere, use the methods suggested above, and if you have problems, immediately contact specialists.

Remember that the extremely careful handling of gas in homes and apartments, and compliance with the rules of operation can protect and preserve health, life and property.

Have you personally encountered a gas leak problem and successfully solved it? Share your experience with other users - describe your method of detecting a leak, tell us how quickly you managed to eliminate the problem. Leave useful recommendations, participate in the discussion of this urgent topic - the feedback form is located below.

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