Imagine coming home and smelling gas, so you inspect your home only to find no gas leak. What could be the source of the smell?
For better or worse, a gas leak isn’t the only thing that can make your house smell that way.
Here are 12 main reasons your house might smell like gas without a leak:
It’s important to get to the bottom of what it is to avoid dizziness, fatigue, irritation, etc. Search for a hissing sound or propane smell around vent pipes, your gas meter, electrical equipment, thermostats, etc. Safety precautions are important.
1. An Appliance Is Leaking
You may have checked your home for a gas leak, but it can be easy to forget about your appliances.
Whether you have a gas stove, dryer, or water heater, gas could be coming from one of those things.
After you check your home for a gas leak, don’t forget about any appliances you have. The gas leak may be near the appliance or along the gas line.
Fixing the leak or replacing the appliance should solve the problem. If you don’t have any gas appliances or are all fine, there may be no gas leak.
You might also have some electronic devices that are over-powered, like a smart TV that’s
2. A Neighbor Has a Gas Leak
If you smell gas primarily on one side of your home, maybe your neighbor is the one with a gas leak. If you have a neighbor who has a natural gas leak (smell of natural gas leak smells like eggs – though the natural gas itself has no smell. It’s an added smell).
This is possible in apartments or other shared buildings.
Consider where the gas smell comes from, and knock on your neighbor’s door. Ask if they’ve noticed a gas smell in their home and are willing to inspect it.
You can contact your landlord if your neighbors don’t answer the door. They should have a key to the unit where they can look for the smell.
3. You Have Poor Ventilation
When you have good ventilation, you may be unable to smell a gas leak from your neighbor’s place. However, you may have poor ventilation if the smell enters your unit.
Consider opening a window or an exterior door to let some of the gas smell out. If not, ask your landlord about ways to improve the ventilation.
Maybe you can get an air purifier or scented room spray to mask the gas smell!
Now, you’ll still want to figure out the cause so that the gas doesn’t make you sick, but a room spray is a good, temporary solution.
4. The Sewage Drain Has a Problem
Another possible reason you smell gas when there’s no leak is that something’s wrong with the sewage system.
One cause is that the sewage system is dirty, which can lead to the smell of sulfur, similar to that of gas.
But it could also be that the sewage drain has ruptured. When this happens, sulfur and other smells can escape from the pipes beneath your building. A U-shaped fixture can help here (called a “trap”) to create a blockage to the odor.
This can cause the entire building to smell like gas. So while it may be more common in houses than apartments, you should still consider this issue if you live in a larger building.
5. Your Furnace or Water Heater Has Bacteria
Bacteria love to live in moist, warm environments, making a furnace or water heater especially appealing.
Depending on the bacteria, it could grow and release sulfur that smells like gas.
If you notice the smell at the beginning of winter, there’s a decent chance the furnace is the source. If you get a gas-like smell after using hot water, consider if your water heater is to blame.
Unfortunately, preventing bacteria from getting into your heating system can be hard. However, you can have a professional clean your furnace and water heater to eliminate any organisms there.
6. The Trash Chute Is Blocked
If you live in an apartment building, consider if your building has a trash chute. When the chute accumulates a lot of trash, it can get backed up.
Of course, if something nasty is in that pile of trash, the smell can get into your apartment. Whether you or your neighbors threw out some bad eggs or something else, you may start to smell gas.
Even if there’s nothing particularly pungent in the trash, it could still release sulfuric gas.
Luckily, you should be able to contact your landlord and have them check on the issue to get rid of the smell.
7. Rotten Eggs Are in the Trash
Speaking of trash, consider if you or someone else in your apartment recently threw out rotten eggs. They can start to smell like gas as they sit in your trash can.
You may even be able to smell it if your neighbors put rotten eggs in their trash if you live right next to each other. Regardless, try to take any trash to the trash chute or the larger trash bin outside regularly.
And if trash only gets picked up once a week, consider when that is, and take your trash out just before that.
Then, you can toss rotten eggs and similar foods the night before so they don’t have time to start generating a bad smell.
8. Someone Used Bleach
Sometimes, bleach can smell super strong to the point where it almost smells like a gas leak.
For example, if you recently used bleach to clean your kitchen or bathroom, you may notice the smell more in those parts of your home.
Ask your family or roommates if they just used bleach to clean. If so, there’s a possibility that’s what you’re smelling, so you may need to be patient while the smell goes away.
You could also spray some room freshener to cover the bleach. Alternatively, spend some time in parts of the house where you don’t smell the bleach, or take this time as an excuse to run some errands.
9. Plastic Is Burning
The smell of burning plastic can be very reminiscent of gas.
If you’ve checked everything else, go through your home and look for any plastic that may be sitting on something hot.
It could be as simple as a piece of plastic resting on the stove and the stove burner is on. Or maybe you used a straightening iron and forgot to turn it off, and the cable is touching the surface of the iron.
Get rid of the burning plastic as quickly and safely as you can.
Then, open a window or use other ventilation methods to help make the smell go away.
10. You’ve Been Out of Town for a While
A bit of water sits in the curve of the pipes under your sink even when you aren’t running water.
This is a good thing, but that water can evaporate if your sink goes unused for a long time.
If you just got back from a long trip, you may notice the smell of gas. That’s because the water in your pipes helps keep sewer vapors from getting into your home.
Even if you’ve been home, consider if there are any sinks you don’t regularly use.
You may want to plan to run water at least once a week or so to keep the smell from coming back.
11. Your Drywall Is the Problem
You may want to consider when the drywall was installed in your home.
If it was installed between 2001 and 2009, it could release sulfuric acid into your home.
This drywall was most commonly used in the southern US to help protect against damage from hurricanes. Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord when they last used drywall.
If nothing else seems to be the cause of the gas smell, it could be coming from the walls.
In that case, you’ll want to replace the drywall with something newer and less toxic.
You may also want to look into:
- Lighters that leak
- Hot water heaters
- Gas services and suppliers
- Garbage chutes
Make sure you don’t have sparks, candles, or open flames anywhere until you know what causes the symptoms. If you cannot find the source of the gas smell, make sure to consult a qualified technician (preferably from a gas company, gas supplier, or plumber) to go over the gas supply line, sewer gas, etc.
Apart from the commonly known sources of gas leaks like faulty stoves and heating systems, integrating technology into our living spaces opens up new avenues to monitor and prevent potential hazards. For instance, smart homes equipped with modern technology can now be outfitted with detectors that can identify gas leaks at the earliest stages, sending notifications directly to our smartphones or other connected devices.
Speaking of modern comforts and technology, televisions have undergone a remarkable transformation in the past few years. Not just a medium to watch shows and movies anymore, smart TVs have now become a hub for controlling various aspects of a smart home. By installing the appropriate applications on your smart TV, you can now monitor and control various safety systems within your home, including those designed to detect gas leaks.
James Williams from TechPenny.com says smart TVs are starting to get more apps from Apple’s App Store, including smart home apps such as SmartThings. It lets you connect your TV to everything from light bulbs to speakers. It’s only a matter of time before they also connect to gas leak detectors etc.
Remember, integrating safety features into the smart home system, including gas leak detection, is not just a luxury but a necessity in today’s world. By staying informed and taking preventive measures, you can create a home that is both smart and safe.