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Contact Us If You Smell Natural Gas

If you smell natural gas inside or outside of your home, contact us immediately at (800)-276-2722.

Learn the Smell of Natural Gas

Natural gas is naturally odorless and colorless. To make natural gas detectable, a chemical, known as Mercaptan, is added. Mercaptan has a smell that is similar to that of rotten eggs. If your nose detects this unique odor, you know you need to act. Request a free “Scratch and Sniff” booklet if you are not familiar with the smell.

However this chemical cannot be added to Carbon Monoxide (CO), a gas that can be produced by any fossil fuel when it doesn’t burn properly and cannot be detected by the senses. Learn more about how to protect yourself from CO poisoning.

What to do if you smell gas inside a building:

14bullet_check_smallDO leave the building immediately. Take everyone with you (including pets) and leave the exit door open if possible.14bullet_check_smallDO proceed to a safe location where you can no longer smell the odor of gas.

14bullet_check_smallDO call UGI ‘s gas emergency line from a safe location. The gas emergency line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers should call 800-276-2722.

14bullet_check_smallDO call 911 from a safe location outside of the building if you hear or see natural gas blowing.

What to do if you smell gas outside a building:

14bullet_check_smallDO call UGI’s gas emergency line from a safe location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you smell or detect natural gas outside or near a meter.

14bullet_check_smallDO call  911 from a location outside of the building if you hear or see natural gas blowing.

What not to do if you smell gas in or outside a building:

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT re-enter the building to open doors and windows.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT use phones (standard or cellular), computers, appliances, elevators, lamps, garage door openers, or electrical devices inside the building if a smell of gas is present.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT touch electrical outlets, switches or doorbells.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT smoke or use a lighter, match or other open flame.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT position or operate vehicles or powered equipment where leaking gas may be present.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT try to re-light a pilot light.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT e-mail us or post on social media if you smell gas or suspect a natural gas leak, PLEASE CALL UGI OR 911.

14bullet_donot_smallDO NOT re-enter the home or building until it has been thoroughly inspected by our service technician.

Remember, there is no charge to respond to and investigate a natural gas odor.

How to Recognize a Gas Pipeline Leak

As we mentioned above, natural gas is colorless and odorless so Mercaptan is added so leaks can be easily detected. In addition to odor, indications of a gas pipeline leak also include:

  • A hissing sound
  • Blowing dirt, grass or leaves near a pipeline
  • Water bubbling or blowing into the air at a pond, creek or river
  • A patch of dead grass or vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • Flames coming out of the ground or burning above the ground

Additional Information Regarding Mercaptan

faq-iconCan I get nauseous from the smell of mercaptan?

Only a very small amount of mercaptan is added to natural gas. While the smell is unpleasant, most people are otherwise unaffected.
In circumstances where there is a higher concentration of mercaptan than normal or where someone may experience prolonged exposure to the mercaptan odor, you might experience nausea, headache, or irritation to the nose and throat.


faq-iconHow much mercaptan is added to the natural gas system?

It takes only a few parts per million of mercaptan to give natural gas an odor that can be detected by someone with a normal sense of smell. Leaks from furnaces and hot water heaters would be nearly impossible to detect without expensive equipment. So mercaptan’s smell is a very valuable safety feature.


Purging natural gas

Never purge the contents of a natural gas line into a confined space. Purging a gas line should be performed by a qualified professional and should be done in a well-ventilated area or by venting the contents to the outside atmosphere.

Always use gas detection equipment during purging operations and when working on gas piping systems, to ensure that no natural gas is present that may result in a combustible or hazardous atmosphere.

The personnel conducting the purging process must be and remain in attendance at all times and may not leave the immediate area.

Do not rely on your sense of smell to detect the presence of natural gas.

Consult your local plumbing code, mechanical code, fuel gas code and/or your department of building and safety for more information.

When installing gas appliances or equipment, the manufacturer’s instruction manual should be followed in accordance with the guidance of the local code authority.