FAQs: Natural Gas Safety

Blue natural gas flames with question marks

SCANA Energy is committed to your family’s safety. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the premises. Once you vacate, call 911 or Atlanta Gas Light at 770-907-4231 (inside metro Atlanta) or 1-877-427-4321 (outside metro Atlanta) to report it.

How safe is natural gas?

In an enclosed space (e.g. a pipe), natural gas doesn’t present any danger and is an efficient, cost-effective energy source for homes and businesses. The use of natural gas appliances and heat is completely safe when those appliances are properly maintained. Natural gas can be dangerous, however, when it leaks and emits carbon monoxide, which is toxic to those who inhale it. To prevent this risk, it is important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, in addition to regularly inspecting your natural gas appliances. As an extra safety measure, a sulfur-like scent is added to natural gas so that our noses can act as built-in safety detectors.

Natural gas safety is a family effort, and it’s never too early to start learning about it. Check out SCANA Energy's Naturally Awesome Guide to Natural Gas coloring book and share it with all the little loved ones in your life to help encourage proper safety practices.

 

What natural gas safety measures should I take in my home?

While natural gas is a safe energy source, there are several safety precautions you should keep in mind when using this resource in your home.

  • Basement: Keep your water heater below 130°F to prevent scalding.
  • Laundry Room: Clean the lint trap of your dryer after each use to prevent fire hazards.
  • Kitchen: Be sure to keep your natural gas oven clean and your natural gas range free of debris. Also, never use these kitchen devices to heat your home – they can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Living Room: Avoid fire hazards by keeping rugs and other furniture away from heating vents. When using your fireplace, make sure the damper is open for ventilation and occasionally give it a good, thorough cleaning (check out our fireplace cleaning guide for step-by-step instructions).
  • Outside: Keep the natural gas grill outside and away from your home and any deck rails.

And remember: natural gas appliances should be inspected annually by a licensed professional to ensure you’re not at risk for a natural gas leak.

 

What is a natural gas detector? Do I need a natural gas detector for my home?

A natural gas detector is a safety device that alerts you to an unsafe level of natural gas in your home. The method of detection varies by device, but includes electrochemical, infrared, semiconductor and ultrasonic devices. Detectors can vary in price and ease of installation, and you can find one to suit your needs at your local hardware store. You may even consider a multi-gas detection device that will alert you to unsafe levels of propane, carbon monoxide or radon in addition to natural gas. Learn more about the safety detectors you may need here

Early detection of a natural gas leak helps prevent negative health effects from overexposure and reduces the risk of fire or explosion. If you use natural gas as an energy source in your home, a natural gas detector is recommended to ensure your family’s safety.

 

What are the signs of a gas leak?

Although extremely rare, natural gas leaks inside and/or outside your home or business could lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Luckily, we have a simple method to help you and your family detect if there is a natural gas leak; simply remember the word “L.E.A.K.”

  • L: Listen for warning signs both inside and outside your home. A faint hiss from your natural gas appliances and/or from within the ground may signal a larger problem. 
  • E: Eyes should watch for discolored flames or excess soot around a pilot light. Outside, look for blowing dirt, dead vegetation and bubbling water.
  • A: Aromas are a great indicator of a natural gas leak, as this odorless substance has an added sulfur-like scent for safety. If you smell something skunk-, trash- or rotten egg-like, that may be a sign of a natural gas leak.  
  • K: Keep Away! If you suspect there is a natural gas leak, don’t stop to investigate. Instead, immediately leave the area. Once you vacate, place a call to 911 or Atlanta Gas Light at 770-907-4231 (inside metro Atlanta) or 1-877-427-4321 (outside metro Atlanta) from a safe distance.

Want to learn more about natural gas leaks? Test your knowledge in our natural gas leak symptoms quiz.

 

If I suspect there’s a gas leak inside or outside my home, what should I do?

Remember the K in “L.E.A.K.”: Keep away! While rare, natural gas leaks can be extremely dangerous, as inhaling high concentrations of natural gas could lead to fatigue, lightheadedness or even loss of consciousness. In addition, because natural gas is highly combustible, a leak could lead to increased risk of fire or explosion.

If you suspect a natural gas leak inside or outside your home, immediately stop what you’re doing and leave the premises. Once you’re a safe distance away, place a call to 911 or Atlanta Gas Light at 770-907-4231 (inside metro Atlanta) or 1-877-427-4321 (outside metro Atlanta) to report it.

See All Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Other questions? Call the SCANA Energy Contact Center at 1-877-467-2262 Monday through Friday from 7am to 8pm and Saturday from 8am to 5pm. You can also contact us on Twitter at @scanaenergy Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

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