Gas leaks can create fires and explosions. It's important that you and your family know how to recognize a gas leak and what to do if you suspect a leak.
If you suspect a gas leak, find a phone away from the area and call 1-800-533-LEAK (5325), 911, or your local gas provider.
How to Recognize a Gas Leak
Smell—A distinctive, strong odor similar to rotten eggs
See—A white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, blowing dust, or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason
Hear—Roaring, hissing, or whistling
Why Natural Gas Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Methyl mercaptan (methanethiol) is a chemical that is added to natural gas to make it easier to detect in case of a leak. Mercaptan has a very distinct and unpleasant odor that is produced by sulfur—many people compare the smell of Mercaptan to rotten eggs.
Mercaptan is added to natural gas so that customers will know that natural gas is leaking from a stove, furnace, water heater, or other gas-fueled appliance.
What to Do If You Think There Is a Gas Leak
- If the odor is strong, leave immediately and take others with you.
- If you are outside, leave the area immediately.
- Do not light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone, or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode.
- Find a phone away from the area and call 1-800-533-LEAK (5325), 911, or your local gas provider. You can report leaks anonymously.
- Do not assume someone else will report the condition.
- Follow directions from emergency responders who are on site.