A gas leak at your property is an emergency that requires immediate attention and action. This article will focus on what you or your tenants should do if they suspect a gas leak.
By Phil Schaller
Luckily it’s pretty easy to know if there’s a gas leak at the property. Gas companies inject a non-toxic odorant called mercaptan into the gas. This provides the rotten egg or sulfur smell to alert the resident that there’s a leak.
If you or your tenants smell gas, leave the property immediately. When you can no longer smell gas you should be safe – if you smell gas outdoors, leave that area as well. Keep your distance from the property until the issue has been resolved.
As you exit the property, leave the doors open if possible. This won’t stop the leak but it’ll allow some gas to escape and reduce the risk and potential damage to the property.
After you or the tenants are a safe distance away from the property and don’t smell any gas, call the fire department (911) and the gas company. They’ll be able to assist with shutting off the gas to the property.
Do not under any circumstances create a spark if you smell gas. Here are a few household items that can create a spark:
- A telephone, or any mobile device that has a battery
- Matches, a lighter, or another source of ignition
- Electrical switches, including lights
- Car ignitions/spark plugs
- Garage door
Once the gas has been shut off, it’s time to call in a pro to assess and repair the piping or appliance that caused the leak. Leaks are most likely caused by faulty appliances or because someone hits and/or ruptures a gas line. Your RentalRiff property specialist can help with this as can many HVAC companies.
Gas leak checklist for tenants
Here is a checklist you can provide tenants on what to do if they smell gas (often we’ll print cards with these instructions for our customers/tenants to put on the refrigerator):
- If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur leave the property immediately.
- Leave doors open as you exit the property.
- Once you’re a safe distance away, call the fire department (911) and the gas company – they’ll be able to shut off the gas.
- Call in a pro (either your RentalRiff property specialist or an HVAC company) to assess your gas pipes and make the necessary repairs.
Hope this quick guide is helpful and provides a baseline for what to do if there’s a gas leak. Any questions on this topic please feel free to reach out any time – your local gas company will also be a great resource.
About the author:
Phil Schaller is an experienced landlord and the founder/CEO of RentalRiff – an alternative service to traditional property management that provides ongoing oversight and upkeep of rental properties, while serving as the main point of contact for tenants. You can reach him at 541-600-3200. Maintenance and repair costs are included and property specialists are licensed/insured. Phil is a Pacific Northwest native, father of two, and fly-fishing addict.