Can a gas leak from meter tampering affect my health?
When criminals tamper with or bypass gas meters, this can cause gas leaks. Gas leaks can also be caused by faulty appliances, or old or damaged pipework. Very often the leaks are small, so you may not be able to detect them. But if gas builds up over time – for example in a closed room, or if a property is empty for a period of time (when you are on holiday for example), gas levels can build.
If you are worried that someone may have tampered with your meter, but are not in any immediate danger, report it to stayenergysafe using the anonymous form.
As well as the danger that a single spark from a light switch or cigarette can cause – something you can read more about in the stories section of the stayenergysafe website – there are dangers related to breathing in the gas itself.
How to tell if there is a gas leak
Many homes use gas for heating, hot water, and cooking. Natural gas has no smell, which means a small leak would be virtually impossible to detect. A hissing sound isn’t often present either. That’s why your energy company adds a harmless but smelly chemical to the gas. The gas supplied to your home will smell like sulphur, or rotten eggs, to help you identify gas leaks. But you may not smell anything if the leak is very small.
Evacuate the area immediately if you experience the following:
- smell sulphur or something like rotten eggs
- hear a whistling or hissing sound near a gas line or meter
- see loose pipes connected to your gas meter
- your gas meter is damaged
- see a damaged connection to a gas line
- see plants that are dying or dead for no apparent reason.
If you suspect a gas leak, avoid touching anything electrical, or turning on anything that may cause a spark. Instead, leave the building, leave the door open, and head to a safe location. There you can call 999, your landlord, or your energy provider to report the leak.
How to tell if health symptoms are due to a gas leak
Gas leaks change the amount of oxygen available. As you breathe in less oxygen, you may start to develop symptoms. If you or others in your family experience sudden and unexplained symptoms, there could be a gas leak in your home.
If you spot energy theft anywhere, speak up anonymously now.