DARLINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Homes and businesses typically run on either propane or natural gas and lines are fed through a hot water tank or meter.
Chris Laderer, the fire chief for the Darlington Township Volunteer Fire Department, recommends having your furnace and water heater looked at one to two times a year to prevent devastating and tragic explosions.
“Every time you change your furnace filter, go down and check. There’s a lot of connections in these pipes that can leak; they can leak anywhere,” he said. “If it fills a small area up with that thimble gas, and it lights that igniter and it lights, then it could blow up.”
Chief Laderer, however, said home explosions caused by gas leaks are rare.
“Don’t be living in fear about it,” he said. “Just get your stuff checked.”
According to data recently collected, 18 people have died and 36 people were hurt from gas explosions throughout the state in the last three years.
There are warning signs to look out for when it comes to a possible gas leak.
The smell is the most obvious. Propane or natural gas leaks have a bad odor, like rotten eggs that’s added by companies.
Other warning signs include a hissing or whistling noise; dead or discolored grass or plants; and continuous bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
At that point, get out of your home right away. Don’t turn on or off any lights or appliances. Don’t even your cell phone. Any little spark could lead to an explosion.
Once outside, call 911 or your propane supplier.
A natural gas alarm could be another way to alert a person to any danger. The device works like a smoke detector. You hang it no less than 12 inches from the ceiling. The alarm beeps if it detects natural gas.
“It’s really a smart technology that people should invest in,” said Julie Harris, the safety & education director with DeNova Detect.
Harris said their DeNova Detect alarms are extremely effective and can help save your life. When seconds matter in a gas leak, she said you shouldn’t rely on smell alone.
“Oftentimes, natural gas leaks can occur when you’re sleeping,” Harris said. “We have to think about older populations, such as seniors, or COVID patients who have a diminished or completely removed sense of smell.”
The alarm only alerts you to natural gas, but Harris said plans are in the works for a propane detector.
For information on where you can get the DeNova Detect Natural Gas Alarm for a discount, head to denovadetect.com and look for the link for Pennsylvania residents. Then, enter the code, ‘PA.’
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