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Natural gas safety: report gas smells, install and obey alarms

Natural gas safety: report gas smells, install and obey alarms

Using natural gas is safe.

Modern gas appliances are certified to high standards, they have built-in safety features, and the contractors who install them are specially trained and licensed. Still, we want people to know how to react if you suspect a gas leak or hear your carbon monoxide alarms go off. 

Did you know that an odourant is added to natural gas so that you can smell it in case of a gas leak?  This compound – mercaptan – has a strong ‘rotten egg’ smell that helps keep you safe. 

If you don’t have a sense of smell, it’s important to install a natural gas alarm in your home, in accordance with manufacturer directions

Safety tips

As winter approaches, and more gas-fueled appliances are in use, we urge our customers to heed the following gas safety tips:

  • Report gas smells or “hissing”:  If you are inside and smell gas or hear hissing, leave immediately. Do not do anything that could create a spark – don’t switch a light on or off, and don’t use cell phones or lighters, for example. If you are outside, clear the area and do not use lighters or start vehicles. Call 911 when you are safe.
  • Install and obey carbon monoxide (CO) alarms: 
    • CO is an invisible, odourless gas that can kill you in high concentrations.
    • If your CO alarm sounds, and no one is suffering from symptoms of CO poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing, or the alarm has reached its "end-of-life" before calling 9-1-1. (Low battery and end-of-life beeps are normally different than the alarm.  If you’re not 100 per cent sure why the alarm is activating, dial 9-1-1 and wait outside.)
    • Ontario Fire Code requires all homes (whether single-family, semi, or other) with fuel burning appliances (including fireplaces) and/or attached garages, to be equipped with CO alarms. These alarms should be located outside of all sleeping areas. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    • If you live in a condo or apartment building that has a service room, CO alarms must be installed in the service room and adjacent to each sleeping area of all units above, below and beside the service room.
    • In condo or apartment buildings that have a garage, CO alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all units above, below and beside the garage.

Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) in your home

Help prevent CO in your home by getting all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually, by a registered contractor. Visit to find a registered contractor near you.

Utilities Kingston has been providing safe and reliable gas services since 1847 when it was known as Kingston Gas Light Company.  

Get more details on natural gas and its safe use.