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.

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 csstsafety.com (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 (Nov. 2016) (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

Make sure to regularly change the air filters on your HVAC system (at least once per month). Old, clogged filters are far less efficient than new ones.

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Call 811 Before You Dig

The safe and legal way to dig is to know what's below ground before you start.

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