I Smell Gas ...
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.
Natural gas is naturally odorless, colorless and tasteless. An odorant called Mercaptan is added to natural gas before use, so that gas leaks can more easily be detected. An unpleasant "rotten egg" or sulfur-like smell can alert you to a potential gas leak.
However, do not rely only on your sense of smell to detect a gas leak. There may be times when the smell of the odorant is weak, not present or otherwise hard to detect, even though there is a leak.
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" or sulfur odor outside
- You hear a hissing, roaring, whistling or blowing sound coming from the ground or a gas appliance
- You see Dust, dirt or debris blowing from a hole in the ground
- A white cloud, mist or fog
- Water bubbling in standing water or around a valve box
- A ring or circle of dead grass or vegetation in an otherwise green area
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.
Environmental factors, such as encroaching tree roots, may sometimes impact underground installations, such as gas lines, and cause natural gas leaks.
Another common way that underground gas lines may be inadvertently damaged is during cleanouts of sewer laterals (the underground pipes that connect your home to the main sewer line). Sewer cleanout tools may become misdirected during this process and come into contact with buried utility lines. Before conducting work, and to help avoid potential ignition hazards, you or the contractor should use a camera to identify the condition of the sewer lateral and the source of the obstruction.
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 markout —24 hrs a day. Markout requests do expire —even if you called in a markout in the past, you may need to call again. Visit the Call Before You Dig website for more information.
Download our free gas leak safety poster.