Natural gas safety: report gas smells, obey alarms

November 26, 2018

Natural gas safety: report gas smells, 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 they suspect a gas leak or hear their 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. Request a scratch-and-sniff sticker so you know the rotten egg smell associated with natural gas: e-mail community@utilitieskingston.com.

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

As winter approaches, and more gas-fueled appliances are in use, Utilities Kingston urges its 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 goes off, immediately evacuate all occupants (pets, too!) and call 911.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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

For more details on natural gas and its safe use, see www.utilitieskingston.com/Gas/SafeFuel.