Well it is not as bad as elevators, but it is not unusual to smell gas at a home inspection. Natural gas (as opposed to “un-natural” gas) has an odor added to the otherwise odorless gas that is not easy to ignore—-like the other kind—-“silent but deadly.”
It is designed that way.
When you smell it, you are supposed to know that you have a problem and do something about it—-and I am not talking about asking someone to pull your finger, excuse yourself, leave the room or pull the covers over your sweetie’s head.
Whenever you smell gas, you should call the gas utility (except the personal kind of course). They are more than happy to come and figure out what is going on. Now I am not talking about an incidental amount that occurs when you the light the gas stove. I am talking about that lingering smell that you might encounter when there are no combustion appliances operating. One very common place to find a gas leak is around the gas meter.
During my walk around the exterior of a home I sometimes notice the smell of gas near the gas meter. The nose is a really good tool for sensing gas leaks. When possible I like to see if I can pin-point where the actual leak is. If you get really close to the leak the odor intensifies. (I think I better stop the allusions to “un-natural” gas right here.)
Gas leaks are invisible and they can be made “visible” with a little soapy water—-as can bee seen in this picture.
I showed the buyer and their agent the gas bubble. I then asked the buyer’s agent to call the listing agent and the gas utility to get the leak fixed. Within about twenty minutes the gas company arrived and fixed the leak. The gas company is very prompt at answering these kinds of calls—-as one might imagine.
If you have bad gas—-make sure you call the gas company right away! For the other kind, just open a window and smile.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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