I Smell Gas ...
Don't Panic, Act Quickly
If you smell gas ...
- Try to find the source of the odor
- Smoke or vape
- Use light switches or doorbells
- Light a match or leave candles burning
- Turn appliances or flashlights on or off
- Start a car
- Use a telephone or cell phone
Natural Gas Safety
Natural gas is a clean-burning and safe source of energy. Most gas leaks are caused by old or damaged appliances, or by actions that impact the underground pipelines. Here, we'll share some important info about natural gas, as well as some safety tips all customers should keep in mind.
Why use natural gas?
Natural gas is non-toxic and has a low combustion rate when used in properly maintained systems, allowing it to be used safely in a variety of ways. It is the primary energy used for home heating by about 55% of American homes. It is being used increasingly in electric power generation and cooling, and as a transportation fuel.
Why does natural gas smell?
Natural gas is odorless and colorless. A chemical odorant, called Mercaptan, is added to natural gas before use so that gas leaks can more easily be detected. An unpleasant "rotten egg" smell can alert you to a potential gas leak.
If natural gas is non-toxic, why is a gas leak so dangerous?
Gas that has escaped into the air could combust if it comes into contact with an ignition source, such as an open flame, or a spark from a light switch, appliance, or car engine. To avoid explosion risks, it's important to report suspected gas leaks immediately—do not assume that someone else will report the problem.
What happens after I report a gas leak?
PSE&G provides free 24-hour emergency service every day of the year. PSE&G technicians respond to gas leak emergencies within 60 minutes. Remain outside, at least 350 feet from the building while waiting for technicians to arrive.
What are the warning signs of a natural gas leak outside?
If natural gas pipes become damaged, leaking gas could cause an explosion hazard. Some signs of a gas leak include:
- You smell a "rotten egg" odor outside.
- You hear a hissing sound coming from the ground.
- You see dirt blowing from a hole in the ground.
- You see water bubbling in a puddle or around a valve box.
- You see a ring or circle of dead grass or vegetation in a lawn area.
How can tree roots and sewer line cleanouts affect natural gas lines?
Environmental factors, such as encroaching tree roots, may sometimes impact underground installations and cause natural gas leaks.
Another common way that underground utility installations are accidentally damaged is during cleanouts of sewer laterals (the underground pipes that connect your home to the main sewer line). "Rooter" type tools may become misdirected during this process and come into contact with buried utility lines. Using a camera to identify the condition of the sewer lateral and the source of the obstruction can help avoid potential explosion hazards.
How do I avoid natural gas lines while digging?
It's not as hard as you might think—you just need to do one thing. Call Before You Dig.
Before you or a contractor does any excavation on your property, you are legally required to have underground gas, water, cable, telephone, and electric utility lines marked out. Call 811 or 1-800-272-1000 for a free mark out - 24 hrs a day. Mark out requests do expire - even if you called in a mark out in the past, you may need to call again. Check out the Call Before You Dig website for more information.
Click here to download our free gas leak safety poster.