After the 7.0 earthquake that rocked south central Alaska, many people are wondering what to do in the event of a natural gas leak. What appliances are safe to use? Should I turn off my gas before a leak is detected? How to I turn it off? What do I listen for?
These are all very important questions to have, and they're the reason we have the folks at ENSTAR to talk to when we don't know the answers!
According to our friend Lindsey at ENSTAR, it's important NOT to shut off your gas if you are not experiencing a natural gas leak. The signs of a gas leak are a 'rotten egg' smell and/or a 'hissing' sound. If you are not experiencing a natural gas leak according to these signs, it's recommended that you DO NOT turn off your gas. The reason for this is that it takes a while for ENSTAR to get to all of the places that need their gas turned back on, and you could be left without gas (heat anyone?) for multiple days if the demand is high enough. That being said, only turn off your gas if you are experiencing the signs listed above.
If you do NOT have a gas leak according to these signs, it's pretty safe to use your appliances like gas/electric ranges. If you ARE experiencing a gas leak, avoid using anything that can be an ignition source. This can be anything from those stoves to your electronics. Pretty much anything that causes a spark.
Another great tip is to make sure that all of your gas appliance ventilation is clear. During earthquakes, things shift/fall and this can cause the ventilation for those appliances to be blocked. This in turn can cause gas to get trapped in a concentrated area which leads to bigger problems down the road.
Always make sure your Carbon Monoxide detectors are functional and low to the floor on the first floor, as this is where the majority of gas leaks occur. Gas rises, similarly to heat, so making sure it's low to the ground helps detect a leak much sooner than if it were higher up. Since Carbon Monoxide is odorless and tasteless, it's impossible to detect without the help of these devices.
As for other questions about leaks and what you should be looking for at home, check out this awesome video by ENSTAR below. It's really educational and helped us learn a lot about our homes and safety!