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Bolton, ON, 905-857-0025

What you should know about Natural Gas or Propane

  • Both gases are colorless and odorless. The smell of gas is due to an added odorant called Mercaptan. This is the strongest smell known to man and is added by the distributor of the gas.
  • Natural gas is lighter than air and will rise to the ceiling of a building where it may not be readily detected
  • Propane is heavier than air and will stay near the floor or in recesses such as pits and ditches
  • There has to be a shut off valve for every appliance using a fossil fuel such as natural gas or propane by Code. Some valves require a wrench or tool to turn the supply off
  • Both natural gas and propane require a specific mix of air to gas for the gas to be combustible or explode. For example a room filled top to bottom with gas will not ignite because there is no air to support the process of combustion
  • When gas burns cleanly (blue flame), one of the products of combustion is Carbon Dioxide (CO2). When a gas does not burn completely (yellow flame) one product of combustion is carbon monoxide (CO). Both CO2 and CO are equally dangerous / deadly. The effects on the human body begin with headaches, nausea, vomiting. The more the concentration or exposure, the more severe will be the effects and can lead to unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death by asphyxiation
  • It is easy to blame the seasonal flu for the above symptoms. If the person feeling these symptoms feels "better" after leaving the building or getting fresh air, then the problem is most likely CO or CO2 poisoning and no one should be permitted back into the area until the problem is resolved. If all of the people in the area have the same symptoms, call 911 and evacuate the area.
  • Common causes of the CO or CO2 poisoning from a faulty appliance are, blocked chimney vent, broken chimney, dirty burners from lack of maintenance, improper gas / air mixtures, cracks or perforations in the heat exchanger (see "Cracked Heat Exchanger" description under the heading of "Learn About" on our home page)


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