Because natural gas is colourless and odourless, gas companies add a chemical called mercaptan. Mercaptan has a strong, sulphur-like or rotten egg smell that helps in the detection of gas leaks.
If you smell natural gas (mercaptan) inside or outside your home:
- Do not light matches, smoke, operate electrical switches, appliances, telephones, motor vehicles, or create any other source of ignition.
- Evacuate people and pets from the area immediately. Leave the door open as you exit.
- From a safe location, report the smell of natural gas immediately:
- Stay away from the area until safety officials say it is safe to return. Our employees are available 24-hours a day to respond to natural gas emergencies.
Snow and ice on your meter can create a safety hazard because a build-up on the regulator can block the vent and allow excess gas pressure into your home. Accumulated snow and ice can put stress on the meter piping and could cause a gas leak. Learn how to care for your natural gas meter in winter.
Carbon monoxide emergencies
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless and odourless gas. Dangerous CO levels can result when oil, kerosene, gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, or wood burns without enough oxygen. A properly maintained CO detector can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your home.
If your CO detector goes off:
- Do not ignore the alarm.
- If you experience any symptoms of CO poisoning (may include: headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, weakness, vision and hearing impairment, fainting, loss of muscle control), or anyone in the building is a child, elderly or pregnant, call 911 or your local emergency services. People (and pets) affected should get fresh air by opening windows or going outside.
- If you suspect equipment malfunction, immediately turn off the fuel-burning equipment or appliance, leave the building and contact us at 1-888-624-9376.
Detailed information on how to prepare for an emergency is available at the Public Safety Canada website.