Your Guide to Natural Gas Safety at Home
Gas Stove in Use
Home Security

Your Guide to Natural Gas Safety at Home

By Ring on March 1, 2024

If you live in the United States, there’s a good chance you use natural gas to help power your home. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas accounted for nearly 40% of generated electricity in 2022, and around 60% of U.S. homes use it for heating, cooking, and drying clothes.

Natural gas is a reliable energy source when used correctly, but it can become a health and safety risk if it leaks into your home. Keep reading to learn more about the causes and signs of a gas leak and what to do if you detect gas.

What Are the Dangers of Natural Gas Leaks?

Natural gas is a mix of methane, other gasses, and water vapor, and it isn’t toxic on its own. But when natural gas doesn’t burn completely, it can produce carbon monoxide (CO), according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CO can be deadly when inhaled, and since it’s colorless and odorless, it’s often difficult to detect.

CO isn’t the only safety hazard natural gas can create. At certain concentrations in the air, natural gas becomes highly flammable and can ignite when exposed to a heat source. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), around 4,200 house fires begin with the ignition of natural gas in the U.S. each year.

What Causes Natural Gas Leaks in the Home?

Natural gas can leak out of your appliances if there are issues with piping connections, breaks in gas pipes, or if the appliance wasn’t installed correctly, according to the NFPA. If your water heater, furnace, dryer, fireplace, or other appliance uses a pilot light, gas can also leak into your living space if the light is extinguished, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. When you dig in your yard, it’s also possible to hit a natural gas line and cause a leak outside.

What Are the Signs of a Natural Gas Leak?

Smelling gas is one of the best indicators that you have a leak, according to guidance from cities and states around the U.S.1 Pure gas is odorless, but your utility company adds a chemical to make it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. A hissing sound or high-pitched whistle can also signal leaking gas. Outside, you may notice dead plants or bubbles in standing water near a gas pipeline.

How to Prevent Natural Gas Leaks

gas pipe pressure gauges

Since faulty or malfunctioning natural gas appliances are often the cause of leaks, it’s important to have a professional assess them at least once a year. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends scheduling an inspection of all gas-burning equipment at the beginning of the heating season to help reduce the risk of CO poisoning.

If you plan to dig in your yard, even if it’s just to plant a tree, always call 811 first. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the nationwide 811 hotline to help prevent pipeline damage. Calling the hotline allows your local utility company to mark pipes before you begin digging, so you can avoid those areas.

While a CO detector won’t detect natural gas, it can help keep you and your family safe if a leak causes CO buildup. The detector will sound a siren if it senses CO, so anyone in the house can evacuate immediately.

You can also get a notification on the Ring App if CO is detected when you connect a compatible sensor to Ring Alarm and subscribe to Ring Protect, sold separately.2 That means you don’t have to be home to know when your CO detector goes off, and you can call for help without entering your home.

Looking for more tips to help prevent CO poisoning at home? Check out our CO safety guide.

What to Do if You Suspect a Leak

If you smell, hear, or see signs of a natural gas leak, follow these tips collected from several state safety agencies:3

  • Don’t try to find the source of the leak.
  • Avoid using anything that could cause a spark, including light switches, electrical appliances, and even cell phones.
  • Evacuate your house and call 911 and your local utility company if you know the number.
  • Keep others away from your home and wait for your gas company to give you the all-clear before going back inside.
  • Help Detect Harmful Gas With a Carbon Monoxide Detector

    While natural gas is easy to detect, CO isn’t — which means that even with regular maintenance, your gas appliances may produce it without you noticing. A CO detector can be a critical safety net if CO builds up inside your home. When you connect a Smoke and CO Listener or First Alert Smoke and CO Alarm to your Ring Alarm security system, you can get real-time alerts when CO is detected, allowing you to take action from anywhere.

    For extra peace of mind, you can also enroll in 24/7 Alarm Professional Monitoring with your Ring Protect Pro subscription, sold separately, to help ensure a CO notification never gets missed.2 4 If your detector or Smoke and CO Listener sends a CO alert, the professional monitoring company will immediately request a fire response and call your emergency contacts to let them know.

    Don’t have a Ring Alarm yet? Explore our Alarm Security Kits to find the best setup for your home. If you have existing CO detectors, check out our Smoke and CO Listeners to see how they work seamlessly with your existing devices. Or, learn more about First Alert Smoke and CO Alarms, which connect directly to Ring Alarm.

    Enhance Your Smart Home Security With Ring

    Ring Alarm isn’t just for protecting your home — it’s an essential smart home building block that can help make your life a little easier every day. From smart lights and plugs to thermostats and garage openers, Ring Alarm is compatible with some of the most cutting-edge smart devices, allowing you to automate your routine and control everything from the Ring App.

    Ready to start building your Ring smart home? Check out our smart lighting and collection of Ring-compatible smart home technology today.


    2 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View for pricing and details


    4 A compatible Ring Protect subscription is required to enroll in the Ring Alarm professional monitoring service. Professional monitoring service is available only within the U.S. (all 50 states, but not U.S. territories) and in Canada (excluding Quebec). Ring does not own its own professional monitoring center. Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for a business or commercially zoned address. See Ring alarm licenses at: Additional permit or false alarm fees may apply depending on your local jurisdiction. Additional charges may apply in areas that require permits or guard response service for alarm verification.

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