We learned a scary lesson while working on our basement remodel this past weekend. Last week, we had all the framing done by our contractor.
Since he was finished with the framing, that meant it was time to move on to electrical. That’s where things went wrong.
While my electrician was drilling a hole to run wires, he drilled into a gas pipe. The house quickly filled with natural gas, and because of where the puncture occurred, the shut off valve didn’t work.
It took 30 minutes before we were able to shut off the gas from outside the house. Meanwhile, we quickly got everyone out of the house, including the dogs, because there was a very serious risk of the house exploding.
Thankfully, the gas company made an emergency visit and once the house was aired out properly, they declared it safe to return inside. They did say we were pretty lucky – since we have a gas furnace, the pilot light could have easily caused a spark that would have turned our home into a fireball.
After the service tech left, I realized that not once had our carbon monoxide detectors gone off. I checked them, and they all appeared to be fully functional.
I mentioned the issue to the repair guy that returned to fix the broken gas pipe the next day, and he explained that carbon monoxide detectors do not detect natural gas leaks, because natural gas isn’t carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is actually a byproduct of incomplete combustion of natural gas – the most common time for that to happen is when a gas appliance doesn’t function correctly.
Now I understand why it’s so important to have and frequently test your carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide, according to the EPA, is an odorless, tasteless, colorless deadly gas. Natural gas, on the other hand, does have an odor, so you can smell it when there’s a leak. Both are very dangerous, and even though I wish the gas leak had never happened to us, I’m glad I learned the difference so I can research more how to make sure my family stays safe in case of another accident.
Have You Ever Experienced A Gas Leak?