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Smell Gas?

Natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel. As a safety precaution, we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan that gives natural gas an odor often associated with rotten eggs. This distinctive scent allows you to smell a potential leak if it occurs. Always leave if you suspect a leak. Natural gas is non-toxic, lighter than air and displaces oxygen. In severe cases, if not used properly, it may lead to asphyxiation, and has a risk of ignition near a spark. It's important to know that some people may not be able to detect the odorant because they have a diminished sense of smell, known as olfactory fatigue, or because the odor is being masked by other odors in the area. Certain conditions may cause the odorant to diminish so that it is not detectable. 
Never try to find the leak yourself.

LOOK for discolored vegetation, blowing dirt or continued bubbling water in the area of a buried gas line.

LISTEN for a hissing sound.

SMELL for the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas.

LEAVE the area immediately, warning others in the area as you leave. Keep everyone away from the area until emergency assistance arrives.

AVOID touching anything that may cause a spark. This includes lighters, matches, cigarettes, flashlights, light switches and telephones in the area of the suspected leak. Wait until you are a safe distance away before using your cell phone.

CALL 911, then call Virginia Natural Gas at 877.572.3342 once you are out of the area of the suspected leak and in a safe place. Stay away until emergency personnel and/or Virginia Natural Gas indicate it is safe to return.


Severe Weather Safety

Severe Weather Safety

Find out what to do to prevent interruption of service in case of severe weather.

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Appliance and Equipment Safety

Equipment Safety

Keep your natural gas appliances and/or equipment in good working condition by following these safety tips.

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Natural Gas Detectors

Natural gas detectors may be installed by homeowners for an additional safeguard to detect leaks.

Here is What to Know

  • The natural gas detector measures the concentration of methane in the air and sounds an alarm to alert you before dangerous levels are reached.
  • The methane detector works by pulling in air from the surroundings and, if it detects a dangerous level of natural gas in your home its light will flash and/or it will emit a loud noise.
  • Refer to your user’s manual for the detector for specific natural gas alarm characteristics.
  • Test the device regularly. Please refer to your user’s manual for testing intervals and the procedures that explain the light and sound patterns to ensure the detector and alarm functions are working properly.
  • If the natural gas detector alarm sounds, respond immediately!
  • Assume there’s a natural gas leak. Leave the area quickly, taking everyone with you.
  • Follow the guidelines for when you smell gas - DO NOT use the telephone or any electrical appliances including light switches, garage door openers, doorbells, radios, TVs or cell phones. A spark from any of these sources could ignite the gas, causing a fire or explosion.
  • DO NOT disconnect the gas detector battery to silence the alarm. A spark could cause an explosion.
  • DO NOT assume someone else will report the leak.
  • DO NOT go back inside your home or building until company or emergency personnel say it is safe to return.