What to do if you smell gas in your home

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The natural gas you find in your home is mostly made up of methane — and there’s a reason it has that distinct smell.

The gas is naturally odorless; what you smell is actually a scent utility companies must add so you know right away when the gas is present, according to the Massachusetts Pipeline Safety Division website.

Here’s what to do if you smell it in your home:

  • Leave — Evacuate your home immediately. “Warn others to stay away from the area,” Columbia Gas of Massachusetts says on its website.
  • Do not touch lights or appliances — Do not turn off anything, the Pipeline Safety Division advises. It’s best not to touch anything that could generate a spark, which includes phones, power tools, and flashlights, the gas company says. Do not light candles or matches.
  • Do not open windows and doors — You may be tempted to ventilate the area, but both the state agency and gas company advise against it. Simply put: Do not open or close windows and doors, other than the door you are using to leave your home.
  • Do not attempt to find the leak or shut off the gas — Leave that to the professionals. Columbia Gas says you should get to a safe place and then call 911 and your gas company. The state has a list right here.

Another thing to keep in mind, according to the Columbia Gas website: “An odor of gas outside your home should be reported just as you would report an inside odor. Gas leaks from service lines could migrate into your home through walls or drain lines.”