Natural Gas Leaks
Natural gas leaks can be hazardous
- Natural gas vapors are lighter than air and will generally rise and dissipate. They may gather in confined spaces and travel to a source of ignition.
- While natural gas is non-toxic, in high concentrations, it may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning.
- Under certain conditions, natural gas leaking into the atmosphere can result in flammable mixtures that can ignite. Keep ignition sources away.
CenterPoint Energy's actions during an emergency
CenterPoint Energy immediately dispatches personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and provide information to public safety officials to aid in their response. Our personnel will restrict the flow of gas as needed to protect people, property and the environment.
The best way to
recognize a natural gas leak is to use your eyes, ears, and nose. Find out more information
Look for signs of a possible leak
Listen for any unusual noise
Distinctive, strong odor, often compared to rotten eggs or sulfur
*Some persons may not be able to smell the odor because they have a diminished sense of smell, olfactory fatigue (normal, temporary inability to distinguish an odor after prolonged exposure to it) or because the odor is being masked or hidden by other odors that are present in the area, such as cooking smells or damp, musty, or chemical odors.
In addition, under certain rare circumstances, odor fade (the loss of odorant so that it is not readily detectable by smell) can occur. Odor fade is caused by physical and chemical processes. Other factors that may cause odor fade include: construction and configuration of the customer’s gas facilities; presence of rust, moisture, liquids, or other substances in the pipe; gas composition, pressure, and flow; intermittent, little, or no gas flow over an extended period that normally lasts until the gas flow increases or becomes more frequent; new pipe installations; steel and larger pipes; and certain types of dry soil.
Residential methane detectors are available and can provide an additional ability to detect the presence of gas. These alarms must be selected and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Learn more at the
Gas Technology Institute.
For more detailed information on odorant fade, refer to the Safety Bulletin for contractors who work on natural gas piping, appliances, and equipment and customers.