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Will A Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect A Gas Leak?

April 11, 2022 | Blog

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are life-saving tools to have in your home. Most U.S. households have at least one appliance that relies on gas to operate, so knowing the signs of gas line leaks and where to place detectors is important. These leaks can become explosive or deadly in a matter of minutes, and our gas plumbers at Mission AC & Plumbing want you to know what to do if you suspect a leak and the differences between CO and natural gas.

Carbon Monoxide vs. Natural Gas


Carbon monoxide gas is a by-product of an incomplete burn. Even if you are awake and alert, CO is extremely difficult to detect because it is odorless and is highly flammable, making it a major threat in homes. Once it enters a building, it can combust and start a fire, slowly suffocate you or cause other health issues over time.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, trouble focusing, and forgetfulness. CO binds to your lungs when breathed in and slowly builds up, making you sleepy, so you may not realize when you have been affected. People with CO poisoning can die in their sleep, so understanding CO detection and what to do if you suspect a leak is essential.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a fuel more flammable than CO, not a by-product. The dangers of a gas leak are primarily explosion and fire, but it can also cause suffocation if ignored.

Although natural gas is less dangerous and odorless on its own, the law requires it to have a noxious smell added. This is why natural gas smells like rotten eggs. The addition allows people to smell a leak and identify the problem right away, triggering action quicker than with CO.

Because natural gas is a completely different gas than carbon monoxide, CO detectors will not detect a gas leak.

Causes Of Carbon Monoxide Leaks

A poorly ventilated or faulty clothes dryer, furnace, or gas fireplace are the most common causes of CO leaks. Regular maintenance and inspection of these appliances is the best way to prevent leaks and address any other issues affecting their safe operation.

CO detectors in your home will alert you if the gas is ever-present, and most homes are required to have them. They need regular maintenance, and replacement and should be installed lower on the wall than smoke detectors. Although this tool is more than necessary to have in your home, knowing who to call when it beeps is essential.

Causes Of Natural Gas Line Leaks

Natural gas can leak into your home when a gas line is damaged or a gas-powered appliance, like a gas stove, malfunctions. Like CO, the best way to prevent and identify natural gas leaks is with regular inspection of all devices that use a pilot light. The smell of rotten eggs, sulfur, and hissing or whistling sounds around gas lines are signs of a leak and should be addressed immediately.

Your Trusted Gas Plumbers

If you suspect you have a CO or gas line leak in your Houston home, leave immediately, call the authorities and then call our team. Mission AC & Plumbing will detect and repair the leak as soon as possible using the best tools and technology to protect your family, according to industry standards. To learn more about our gas line maintenance, services, and custom advice to avoid gas leaks in your home, contact us today!


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