Angie's How To Check the Gases in Your House

Date Published: Nov. 12, 2019

Time: 15 Minutes

Just because you don't see dangerous gases doesn't mean they aren't in your house! Keep your house and family safe by learning how to detect these three gases in your home. If you've already taken the necessary precautions to protect your home from these gases, there's no need for you to check them again right now.

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This invisible, odorless and tasteless gas causes more than 20,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. Radon doesn't discriminate – any type of home can have elevated radon levels: old or new, well sealed or drafty, basement or no basement. If you've never checked the radon levels in your house before, it's critical that you test for radon as soon as you can. Testing is easy and only takes a few minutes. You can either purchase a DIY radon test kit or hire a qualified radon tester. For more information, read: Test for Radon.


This gas is nicknamed the –silent killer" because you can't see, smell or taste it. If you don't already have them, purchase carbon monoxide detectors for your home. A CO detector generally costs around $15, but you can get a CO and smoke detector combination for about $35. Look for a CO detector that has a UL Mark with the phrase –single station carbon monoxide alarm." Only UL certified detectors will sound an alarm when they detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide. Refer to step #1 of this guide to determine how many detectors you need in your house. Be sure to test your CO detectors at least every three months.


Raw natural gas is odorless, but gas companies manually add mercaptan, a sulfur-containing organic chemical, so that leaks are easier to detect (that's what gives it the rotten egg smell). The best thing you can do to prevent a natural gas leak is to familiarize yourself with the appliances in your house that use natural gas (such as your furnace and gas cooktop) and take certain safety and maintenance precautions. If you smell a natural gas odor, hear the hissing or whistling sound of leaking gas or notice damaged pipes/appliances, have everyone evacuate your home immediately and call 911 from a safe place. Do not turn any lights or appliances on/off, which could cause an explosion. Just leave the house!