Gas is a valued source of fuel in many homes, businesses, and industries. Properly harnessed, it is a safe and economical source of power, heating, and cooling. But the slightest gas line leak can be deadly. Gas line explosions occur more frequently than many people realize, causing much damage and horrendous injuries, as well as fatalities.
If you use gas in your home, you should be aware of the risks and dangers surrounding underground gas lines that run into your home, as well as natural gas lines, flexible gas lines, and gas appliances. Here are five causes of gas line explosions in residences and residential areas.
Gas Line Leak
The smallest gas line leak can fill a room with gas and cause asphyxiation. A single spark in a room filled with gas can prove catastrophic. The explosive power of propane or natural gas is like keeping a stack of TNT in the room.
You should do a periodic check for a gas line leak in your home to detect even the slightest problem. Whenever you do discover a gas line leak, turn off all gas appliances and open flames immediately and leave the premises.
Call 9-1-1 and report the gas leak.
Faulty Gas Line Installation
All too often, gas leaks are due to a faulty gas line installation. Although contractors that install gas lines are required to be trained and certified for their work, for their safety and the safety of their clients, mistakes can be made. Joints can not be sealed properly. Pressure valves can malfunction, allowing too much pressure to rupture a line. This is often a problem with flexible gas lines.
If you suspect a faulty gas line installation, call 9-1-1 to report a possible gas leak. Then, call your gas line contractor for an inspection.
Random Excavations Near Underground Gas Lines
Another common cause for gas line explosions are excavations near underground gas lines. Most municipalities have a number that contractors can call to get help discovering the locations of underground gas lines. This is to prevent an inadvertent breakage while digging. Too many contractors ignore this precaution and dig indiscriminately. Digging into underground gas lines near homes can cause serious injuries and damages.
Be sure if you are having any work done around your home that will require any kind of digging, that you call the local gas company and ask about the locations of underground gas lines. They will send someone to mark the line locations to help prevent an accident.
Faulty Gas Appliances
Faulty gas appliances can also malfunction and cause gas line explosions. Even without an explosion, a faulty appliance or fixture can allow gas to leak into your home, filling rooms with toxic gas and setting the stage for a terrible explosion.
- HVAC Units
- Central Heaters
- Gas Lights
- Outdoor Grills
- Pool Heaters
- Water Heaters
You should regularly examine any gas appliances for signs of wear or gas leaks. Replace any appliance that appears worn or aged, or that leaks gas.
Static Discharge Near Natural Gas Lines
A little-known cause of gas line explosions is static electricity. Have you ever shuffled your feet across thick carpet and then touched metal or another person – only to receive a surprising shock? That is static electricity that can accumulate in your home. A static spark from your finger that occurs near natural gas lines can ignite an explosion and fire.
Static can also come from other electrical devices or components. A spark from static electricity that reaches 3000 volts can exhibit a temperature of about 1200 F. Natural gas will ignite quite suddenly at temperatures of 1163 F. A static discharge near natural gas lines or a nearby leak could prove catastrophic.
Gas line explosions are preventable occurrences with some sound thinking and by taking the necessary precautions. Always be careful around gas lines and gas appliances. Beware of open flames or sources of excessive heat near gas lines. Take the time to regularly inspect the gas lines and appliances in your home for leaks or wear. If there is any question about a gas line leak or other issue, leave the home immediately and call 9-1-1, and then the local gas company.