Gas Leaks and Safety Tips
Knowing what a natural gas emergency is and how to react will help keep you and your family safe. Examples are natural gas leaks and damaged underground pipelines or service lines. Leaks can occur on indoor lines or when outdoor lines are damaged.
Safety tips to help prevent gas emergencies in your home
The 3 Rs of Natural Gas Safety
If you think you have a natural gas emergency, go to a safe location. Then call Consumers Energy toll-free at 1-800-477-5050. It is important that you call -- DO NOT E-MAIL -- and report the emergency. Feel free to print this page and leave it with your emergency numbers in case you have a gas emergency.
Knowing how to recognize, react to and report natural gas emergencies can eliminate or minimize their consequences.
Signs of a natural gas leak include:
- A "rotten egg" odor
- A blowing or hissing sound
- Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
- Flames, if a leak has ignited
- Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground
- Bubbling in wet or flooded areas
If you suspect a natural gas leak, follow these steps:
- Leave the area immediately and call us at 1-800-477-5050, then follow our instructions
- Do not use any electrical device, such as light switches, telephones or appliances such as garage door openers. They could spark and ignite the gas.
- Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters
- Do not try to locate the source of the gas leak
- Do not try to shut off any gas valves or appliances
- Do not start vehicles
- Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until a Consumers Energy employee says it's safe to do so
- If the natural gas ignites, let it burn. Do not put out the flame; burning gas will not explode.
- If you are digging and think you may have damaged a natural gas pipeline, leave the area immediately. If you are using motorized equipment and can turn off the motor safely, do so to prevent the ignition of any leaking gas. Then abandon the equipment and leave the area. Never restart equipment until the surrounding environment has been checked and declared safe.
It is important that you call about natural gas emergencies. Do not e-mail us.
- If you think you have a natural gas emergency, go to a safe location. Then call Consumers Energy toll-free at 1-800-477-5050.
- If you see unusual activity near a natural gas pipeline or facility, call us immediately at 1-800-477-5050
Calls can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will respond promptly and at no charge.
Help prevent a gas emergency in your home with these safety tips:
- Natural gas lines should not be installed from the meter to any other buildings in which people live
- No building or other structure may be built over any natural gas pipeline
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in operating and caring for natural gas appliances, and use each appliance for its intended purpose
- Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids indoors or in the same room or area as a gas appliance or other ignition source
- After a flood or other disaster, check for the odor of gas before entering any area. If gas is detected, leave the area immediately and call (800) 477-5050. Replace any appliance submerged in water
- Ensure fuel-burning appliances are installed, used and maintained properly and safely. Hire a qualified technician to inspect heating and venting equipment annually, and use a carbon monoxide alarm that meets current standards.
- Use a broom to keep gas meters, pipes and other service equipment clear in winter. Gas-appliance chimneys and vents must be cleared after snow and ice storms to ensure proper venting and prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
- Ensure gas space heaters are installed by a qualified professional and used and maintained properly
- Don’t use fuel lines for storage. Heavy coats or other items hanging from a fuel line (often located near the ceiling in basements) can stress the joints in the pipe and cause gas leaks. Don't allow children to swing on the pipes, either
- Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees or lower. Check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub, and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.
- Replace flexible connectors. Cracks can form and cause serious gas leaks in these flexible pipes that attach appliances to fuel lines. Limit the number of times you move natural gas appliances, and replace flexible connectors at least every 10 years with an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved model.
Raise the Flags and Dig Safely . Call MISS DIG at 811 or 1-800-482-7171 at least three full working days before beginning an excavation project – even for simply planting a tree or digging a hole for a mailbox post. The call and service are free. Utilities in your area will locate the general vicinity of underground pipes and cables with color-coded flags and/or paint at no charge. Those excavating in the area should then dig carefully to avoid damage to underground utilities.
To get important facts about natural gas safety and learn what we're doing to keep the areas safe and secure around natural gas pipelines, please see our brochure Pipelines and People: Your Link to Natural Gas Safety and Awareness (Spanish version).