How to tell and test for gas leaks with soapy water (stove and more)

A gas leak is a serious business. It can be super dangerous and cause catastrophic house or kitchen fires. Gas could escape from the stove, a pipeline, a cylinder, or other places. If you suspect this is happening, you can test for the leak before you go about cooking. Here is the full disclosure on how to tell and test for gas leaks with soapy water.

gas leak

What is the bubble test for a gas leak?

The bubble test involves coating the suspected area of leak with water pressure. It is commonly seen when you’re checking for punctured tires as well. There is a leak if you see bubbles when the area is dipped in water. The same happens in the case of a punctured tire and shows where exactly the puncture has occurred.

Soapy water test for gas leak

A soapy water test also creates a soap film around the suspected area of the leak. A mixture of water and soap is poured over the area. It includes pipes, hoses, valves, and other parts. Pressurize the system. If bubbles are visible, you know you’ve got a leak.

To make the solution, mix the dishwashing liquid with water. It foams better than laundry detergent. You can use a spray bottle or a bowl with a sponge. The idea is to generate a lot of foam to cover the suspected area. All in all, it’s an inexpensive method to spot problems!

Dishwashing Liquid

How to know if there’s a gas leak?

There are a couple of tips to spot leaks before you even try the soapy water test.

1. The smell

The first thing to look out for is the smell. Use your nose to figure out what’s wrong even before you decide to use your hands. Sulfur is added to most gases to make leaks more detectable. And boy, does sulfur have a strong and bad smell! It smells like rotten eggs and is hard to miss. Check for the smell near the pipe, hose, and stove.

2. The sound

Although you’ll need quite a good ear for this, you can also hear the LPG or LNG escape. A hissing noise is audible if there’s enough silence to spot it.

3. The physical effects

You can also detect the discharge through the physical effects that start to take place on the people nearby. At a lower level, you can expect the following:

  • headaches
  • memory problems
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • and trouble breathing.

At a more severe stage, those exposed to the air for longer can experience memory loss, suffocation, fainting spells, and nausea. For all physical symptoms, you should contact your family doctor right away and call a professional to check for gas leaks.

4. The plants dying

Any plants dying near your kitchen on the window sill or an LPG pipeline could mean trouble. This cooking gas usually prohibits plants from taking in oxygen. That’s why a wilting plant is a big sign of some unwanted bleeding. It starts with yellow patches and can go on to become full-on plants dying.

5. The increased usage

If you suspect that you’re not even using the gas as much as the bills suggest, there could be a leak. For instance, if you’re not even cooking three meals a day and your bills are going over the roof, you know you have to check for signs of a slit in the pipe or valves.

6. The stove

The burner of the stove usually burns blue. Blue means safety and is the normal mode for usage. But if the flame turns yellow, you know there’s a problem with the burning. It usually indicates that LPG is escaping through the valves or pipes.

Do carbon monoxide detectors detect natural gas leaks?

There are quite a few ways to detect leaks, and some suggest one is through a carbon monoxide detector. Is this true?

The simple answer is no. Carbon monoxide detectors can only detect carbon monoxide. While LNG burning does release carbon monoxide, leaks in the natural gas form will not be detected by the machine.

Best natural gas leak detectors

If you think your home has devices and cylinders whose leakage could lead to serious health damage, you should opt for detectors. These survey the air in the home constantly and alert you if the level of a certain gas in your home has gone above the normal benchmark.

Here are some great ones.

A nighthawk detector

This detector is great for both carbon monoxide and LNG too. Any kind of explosive substance in the environment will be quickly detected, and the alarm will be sounded. The display will also show the words ‘Gas’. The alarm is loud and has three different options to be placed in your home.

It could be on the wall into an outlet, on the table with a power cord, or on the wall through a retractable power cord. With a 5-year limited warranty, you won’t have to worry about breakdowns too soon.

You should test your detectors from time to time by exposing them to natural gas.

Pros

  • #1 bestseller on Amazon and 4.6 star rating
  • 3 easy ways to plug in and install
  • Detects CO as well as explosive gas
  • Digital display that displays the reading of the gas volume
  • Low battery indicator
  • Also detects natural gas

Cons

  • The sensor is sensitive to things like Candles, Vicks vaporizer and even leftover car gas in the garage. This won’t lead to beeping but may lead to a higher reading.

Multi-gas detector

This multi-tasking machine can detect several gases at once. It includes:

  • LPG
  • coal gas
  • natural gas
  • liquified natural gas
  • and artificial gas.

The alarm system is quite effective with an alarm system of 85dB. The LED sign also flashes red when the gas exceeds recommended levels.

Both audio and visual sound help to determine house members about the leak.

It plugs right into the AC outlet and provides super-easy installation.

Pros

  • Amazon’s choice
  • Detects as many as LPG, Natural gas, methane, coal gas, artificial gas and more.
  • Easy to install plug in design
  • Sound alarm of 85dB as well as light alarm

Cons

  • Sensitive to even air fresheners so you might have to be cautious around it
HSTMYFS Store
1,617 Reviews
HSTMYFS Store
It won't break the bank.

Sleek and modern

A gas detector that looks like a simple AI device. No more ugly monitors! Just plug it into your outlet, and it’s installed. It can detect everything from:

  • butane
  • methane
  • ethane
  • LNG
  • LPG
  • and propane.

It hasn’t gotten any tacky cords and is a simple wireless design to fit seamlessly in your home.

SpecificationsDescription
Installation AC plug in
Working voltage110/220V
Gas detection concentration0-10000ppm
Alarm Siren/LED flashing light/Voice output
Detection area323 sq. ft
Alarm sound level 85dB
Sale
GasKnight Store
1,616 Reviews
GasKnight Store
We love the design.

Portable Alarm

This little gas alarm looks like a pen but does much more. It can detect more than ten gases and has both an audio and visual alert to warn you against a possible leak. The best part is that it’s fully portable, and you can use it to sniff out the exact location where the gas might be escaping from. A LED bar graph indicates the high level of concentration followed by a 75dB beeping alarm.

It comes equipped with 2 triple-A batteries that can be installed and thus is ready for use instantly! It is easy to hold in pen form and promises detection in 0.5 seconds.

The gases it claims to recognize are:

  • LPG
  • methane
  • sewer gas
  • coal gas
  • propane
  • butane
  • ethane
  • LPG
  • and LNG.
SpecificationsDescription
Sensor Gas Sensitive Semiconductor
Detection range50-1000ppm
Alarm typeVisual bar graph and Variable tone frequency buzzer
Power source Battery
Dimensions6.5 in x 0.79 in x 0.79 in
Type Portable
Sale
TOPTES Store
977 Reviews
TOPTES Store
It's great and portable.

Big display LED Gasknight

This round LED display is the stuff of modern interiors. A big LED Display to warn and inform you against threats is used. It has a round design and subtle air inlets to scan your air. You can install it anywhere in the home, as the six-foot power cord gives you varied flexibility.

Additionally, it’s even been rated 4.6 stars for accuracy in detection and ease of installation and use. What’s not to love? Placed on your wall, it only looks like a little device like Alexa.

Highly-rated gas sniffer

This gas sniffer does more than your regular alarm because it’s movable. You can lead it around like a loyal dog who sniffs out the threat in the environment. The 12-inch sensor helps reach the most remote areas in factories, homes, or offices. It’s got 6 LED lights and an 85dB alarm to notify the nearby members about a possible leak. There’s even a lifetime warranty in case it ever breaks.

Sale
Y201 
7,954 Reviews
Y201 
Here's another portable option.

Klein tool for extra accuracy

This detector goes a step ahead and tops it off with an 18-inch sensor head. The body is molded for a comfortable grip while you go about your business. It’s got automatic zero-point calibration when it starts up. It’s got two levels of sensitivity – high and low. The range of detection is between 50 to 10000 ppm.

A storage pouch and batteries are included for the benefit of consumers.

Sale
Klein Tools ET120
1,464 Reviews
Klein Tools ET120
It has a great range.

Sniffer pen

This sniffer pen has a catalytic combustion sensor that puts all your worries to rest. It’s great for professionals and plumbers who want to find the source of the problem without much time quickly. It comes pre-calibrated and requires no setup before use. Just use it right away!

The best point about it is the weight. Weighing just 0.51 pounds, it can be carried around. You’ll even forget you’ve got it!

Sale
General Tools
247 Reviews
General Tools
The design is sleek.

Best tools for pipes

Here are some tools and equipment you are bound to come across when fixing those pipes. We can help you find the right pick.

Homewerks valve

Sometimes you might find the cause of the problem was a loose valve. In this case, we recommend this gas ball valve in brass and female thread. It has satisfied many customers, who have rated it 4.7 stars.

It’s certified for use underground, on appliances, and appliance connectors.

Homewerks 
818 Reviews
Homewerks 
Homewerks is great.

Flexible supply line

When there is a tear or breakage in your supply line, you’ll need something extra strong to replace it. Here is a flexible and durable line that promises longevity. It works for natural gas and propane, although it is used as a connector. It’s great for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Pipe thread sealant

You might across a need for thread sealants as well. We recommend this one by Rectorseal which has a lower friction coefficient than its competitors. It does not damage or gall the threads and is great for immediate pressurization on pipes.

Sale
Rectorseal Pipe Thread Sealant
1,793 Reviews
Rectorseal Pipe Thread Sealant
Here is great pipe sealant.

What symptoms do gas leaks cause?

If you are not able to spot a leak in time, it may lead to damage to one’s health. It means having:

  • breathing difficulties
  • eye irritation
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • and headaches.

In extreme cases of prolonged exposure, oxygen reduction in the air may cause:

  • nosebleeds
  • depression
  • pain in the chest
  • blistering
  • and ringing in the ears.

Losing consciousness also occurs due to the reduction of oxygen in the air.

Who should you call for a dryer gas leak?

Sometimes due to poor airflow, your dryer can smell like gas. When this happens, it’s important to follow the following instructions.

Leave the area

Isolate the area where the dryer is. Exit the house or building and take others with you.

Call the local supply company.

The local gas company often conducts free inspections and safety checks to check for leaks. Once they give the all-clear, you can go back to your house.

Call a professional plumber.

If the supply company has decided that some parts are faulty, it removes them until further repair. A plumber should be called to look at the dryer and gas line. Until it is fixed, the meter will not be allowed to be re-installed.

The provider company will only reinitiate the supply once the safety checks are passed.

What would a gas leak smell like?

A gas leak usually shouldn’t smell like much. Especially liquified petroleum gas has no smell of its own. However, sulfur is added to LPG to make it more detectable when it escapes. Sulfur smells a lot like rotten eggs. So if you don’t have bad eggs but are smelling them in your kitchen – you know it’s the LPG talking.

You can test for LPG leaks using a soapy water test. Simply make a soapy water solution. The ratio of soap to water for leak testing is one part dish soap and 4 parts water. If the soap is concentrated, you can increase the water. Pour it over the pipeline and check for bubbles. The leak is likely in that spot if you see bubbles.

FAQ

Here we answer some of your most-asked questions about gas leaks in the home.

Can you use Windex to check for a gas leak?

Windex is a hard surface cleaner or glass cleaner. But it doesn’t generate the same surface tension as a soapy water solution. It is why it cannot be used for checking for leaks. Use one part of dish soap with four parts water to check for escaping LPG in pipes.

Can you see gas?

No gases, especially LPG and those used in the home, are not visible to the naked eye. Sometimes a cloud of dust might gather in the place of a leak, but that’s also rare. Only the smell of sulfur can make it possible to detect the gas.

How do plumbers find gas leaks in walls?

Although previously, plumbers had to rely on audio and visual clues to detect leaks. Nowadays, there is plenty of technology to rely upon. Carbon monoxide alarms and gas detectors for explosive and natural gas leaks are some of the equipment they rely on. These are portable but can also be installed in your home permanently if you want additional safety.

For water leaks, there is also camera equipment available to detect leaks inside walls.

Can you have a gas leak and not know it?

Yes, it is possible. Although supply agencies try their best to make it detectable with added sulfur, small leaks might go undetected too. You may have to rely on watching out for a yellow and weak flame on the stove or feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or fainting. Physical symptoms like these will warn you against escaping gases.

Plants dying and wilting around supply lines are another indicator of the same.