Customer Support

Natural Gas Safety

Natural Gas Safety Overview

Use natural gas safely by taking precautions

Prevent potentially dangerous natural gas conditions by calling before you dig to avoid digging into or nicking a buried gas line. It also is a wise and effective safety measure to maintain gas appliances properly and hire a qualified contractor to routinely inspect them to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Learn to recognize a natural gas leak

It is important for you to know how to recognize potentially dangerous natural gas leaks, so use your senses:

  1. Smell: Because natural gas has no odor in its natural state, we add a harmless odorant called mercaptan to it to help you detect a leak. Many people describe the odor of mercaptan similar to rotten eggs or sulfur, but it may smell differently to you. It may also be a strong smell from an unknown source. 
  2. Hear: A natural gas leak may produce a noise that ranges from next to nothing to a slight hissing or blowing sound to a loud roar.
  3. See: A leak also may cause dust, dirt or debris to fly, or create blowing or continuous bubbling movement in water. It also can cause a spot of dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area.

How to respond to a natural gas leak

If you suspect a gas leak, get everyone out of your home or building right away, move a safe distance away, and then call for help. Because an electric spark can ignite an explosion, remember to follow these tips:

  • Do not turn on or turn off electrical switches.
  • Avoid using electric appliances such as garage door openers or telephones of any type.
  • Do not start up or shut down motor vehicles or any other electrical equipment.
  • Do not strike a match.
  • Avoid open flames or other ignition sources.
  • Move to a location a safe distance away from your home or building when the odor is outdoors.
  • Call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-2999 or 911 in an emergency.
  • Stay away until Xcel Energy or the emergency responders have told you it is safe to return.

Maintaining customer-owned natural gas lines

Xcel Energy owns and maintains the natural gas piping from the street to our customers’ gas meter; however the property owner is responsible for maintaining any natural gas lines from the meter outlet to gas appliances and equipment.  In some cases, the meter may be located at your property line or a distance away from your home or business.

The customer-owned piping may be above or below ground and buried gas lines may run from the meter to a detached garage, workshop, pool heater, outdoor gas grill, or other locations. 

Buried gas pipes can leak and metal pipes may corrode with age, causing a potentially dangerous situation. For the sake of safety, please have your buried gas pipes inspected periodically and repair them as needed. 

When excavating near buried gas piping, the piping should be located in advance and the excavation done by hand. You should always call 811 to locate underground lines owned by your utility providers; however, the natural gas piping you own will not be located as part of this process. Licensed plumbing or heating contractors can provide assistance with locating, inspection, repairs and maintenance, if necessary. 

For more information on this and other safety topics visit

Does your home have corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST)?

Across the nation for more than a decade during building construction, contractors have installed corrugated stainless steel tubing. It is a flexible, stainless steel pipe used to carry natural gas (or propane). It is often routed below, through, and alongside joists in basements or in other areas of buildings. It delivers natural gas inside the building to appliances.

At a minimum, please visit (external link) to learn more. We also encourage you to hire a licensed electrician to ensure that your CSST system is properly bonded and grounded. Doing both will better protect your safety by reducing a person’s risk to electric shock and damage to the tubing (pipe) if lightening or other electrical surges occur. A damaged pipe can result in leaking gas, a fire or explosion.

Additional Resources

Natural Gas Safety Bill Insert - March 2018 (PDF)
Public Safety Guide (PDF)
CSST Safety (external link)
Natural Gas Safety Data Sheet (PDF)
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Call Before You Dig
Call Before You Clear
Natural Gas Outage and Service Restoration Safety Information (Customers)(PDF)
Natural Gas Outage and Service Restoration Safety Information (Emergency Personnel)(PDF)
Natural Gas Safety Bill Insert Request Form

Energy Saving Tip

Create your own shade by planting a tree in a strategic location in your yard to block sunlight from pouring into your windows. It doesn't get much more green than a tree!

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Install carbon monoxide detectors and annually hire a qualified contractor to inspect your home for proper ventilation.

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