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General Safety Information

Natural gas is a clean and efficient fuel that helps heat your home, warm your shower, cook your food, dry your clothes, fire up your grill and even fuel your car. It is a domestic and abundant source of fuel and is safe when used with proper care.

Properties of Natural Gas Fun Fact

Lighter than air so it will disperse into the atmosphere

Odorless, colorless, tasteless

Vapor consisting primarily of methane and ethane

Contains approximately 1,000 BTU's per cubic foot


 Natural gas arrived in the home during the first century A.D. in Persia. It seeped from the ground and was ignited by lightning, producing an 'eternal flame' that burned day and night. Seeking to take advantage of this continuous heating source - and since pipelines wouldn't come around until the 1800's - the king of Persia built his royal kitchen next to it.

About Natural Gas                                                

NGC Molecule

Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon composed of methane (CH4), which is principally found in underground formations of porous rock. The natural gas used in the United States primarily comes from North America.
Colorless2 Odorless2  Nontoxic2
Natural gas is colorless. Natural gas is odorless. Natural gas is nontoxic. 

When mixed with the proper amount of air and ignited, invisible natural gas burns with a clean, blue flame. It is one of the cleanest burning fuels, producing primarily heat, carbon dioxide and water vapor.


When taken from the ground, natural gas is odorless. A non-toxic odorant called mercaptan is added, making leaks easy to detect (the distinctive “rotten egg” smell).


Natural gas contains no toxic poisonous ingredients that can be absorbed into the blood when inhaled.


Reliable2 Safe2 Lighter than_Air2
Natural gas is reliable. Natural gas is safe. Natural gas is lighter than air.
Natural gas is energy we can count on, day in and day out. Whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, plentiful supplies of natural gas are available for immediate dispatch, via an existing interconnected, efficient, and highly reliable delivery system. Many natural gas appliances continue to work even when the power is out.

Accidental ignition is unlikely with a high ignition temperature and it only ignites if there is an air/gas mix of 5-15% gas. Top safety standards govern exploration, production, transportation, distribution and use of natural gas. North America's continental natural pipeline system is the safest mode of energy transportation in the world today.


Generally, if natural gas is accidentally released, it will rise and vent harmlessly into the atmosphere, dissipating from the site of a leak. Proper ventilation is important when using natural gas appliances.

If natural gas collects in a confined space, it can accidentally ignite.


Efficient2 US _Canada2 Cleaner Environment2
Natural gas is efficient. Natural gas is domestic and abundant. Natural gas contributes to a cleaner environment.

While the number of natural gas residential customers in North America has grown by 70% over the last 40 years, customers today actually use nearly 40% less natural gas. Greater efficiency in production, delivery and usage means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Nearly all natural gas consumed in North America is produced in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the U.S. has a nearly 60-year supply. Discoveries of new reserves have expanded our supply to well beyond 100 years.


It is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available, producing 45% less CO2 than coal. It helps improve air and water quality, especially when used in place of more polluting energy sources. When natural gas burns, virtually no harmful pollutants are produced.


Natural gas is versatile.


It generates electricity, runs our manufacturing plants, provides raw material for a range of products, heats and cools our homes and fuels transportation.



What is Mercaptan?

Natural gas is one of the safest, most efficient and most reliable forms of energy available. But, like any energy source, natural gas must be used properly. Since natural gas is colorless and odorless, a harmless, non-toxic chemical is added that makes it easier to detect a gas leak before it can create

a hazardous situation. This chemical, mercaptan, has an odor similar to rotten eggs. The smell is almost unbearable in its concentrated form, and it takes only a few parts per million of mercaptan to give natural gas an odor. Mercaptan contains sulfur, which is what gives it that unmistakeable odor.

The kind we use blends well with natural gas and, in a gaseous state, has much of the same properties as natural gas, so it will also rise and dissipate with the natural gas.

Mercaptan’s smell is a valuable safety feature. There are other uses for mercaptan in industry, including jet fuel, pharmaceuticals, chemical plants, and livestock feed additives. Mercaptan is less corrosive and less toxic than similar sulfur compounds found naturally in rotten eggs, onions, garlic and skunks.


Other Safety Tips

•Use licensed heating and plumbing contractors who will install your equipment according to state and local codes.

•Always insist on proper installation of all natural gas equipment.

•Perform routine and preventive maintenance on all natural gas equipment on a regular basis.

•Change filters and keep appliances clean and free from trash and dust.

•When purchasing a natural gas appliance, make sure it carries the Blue Star Seal.




The Blue Star Seal

Any source of energy, including

natural gas, can be dangerous

if misused. Respect all energy 

sources and use them properly.












Suspect a Leak?

If you do, leave the premises immediately and call the dedicated emergency line from a cell phone or a neighbor's phone:


or call 911 

Quick Guide: Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

What You See

  Abnormally high pilot flame

  Vapor cloud/mist

  Dirt/debris blown in air

  Collection of dead insects

  Abnormal dead/dying vegetation

What You Smell
  Rotten egg-like odor
What You Hear
  Unusual hissing/roaring

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