Top 3 causes of a building gas leak

Top 3 causes of a building gas leak

There is no doubt that New Zealand's ageing building infrastructure is beginning to cause a number of problems. Everything from asbestos to maintenance can begin as a small problem but exponentially grow into something much larger. However, one issue that has expanded in recent years is gas leaks. With appliances and building structures getting older, there is a much higher chance that problems will arise. This might be the release of high amounts of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in a commercial or residential environment, reducing indoor air quality.

For building managers and maintenance teams, it is important to have an idea where gas leaks are most likely to occur and how they can be managed in a timely manner.

Here are three areas where gas leaks are common:

1) Ageing pipes

In many New Zealand homes and commercial buildings, gas is the primary source of heating. The gas is usually pumped into the structure from an outside source and the gas pipes only have a lifespan of around 40 or 50 years. One this time period has passed, it is possible for pipes to lose their seal or break because of general wear and tear. This has the potential to result in gas flowing throughout the building without warning. This means it is important for building managers to conduct regular maintenance on piping to ensure it is still up to standard

2) Ventilation issues

Many building's in New Zealand (especially commercial) are fitted with air conditioning and ventilation systems. These play a crucial role in keeping the air fresh and clean.

However, as these machines begin to age and malfunction, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can be released into the atmosphere. Without a detailed inspection, it can go by unnoticed that the system is not working because the gas is odourless and colourless.

Ventilation and air conditioning systems are built to last anywhere between 10 and 20 years. However, if the system is in an environment where the air quality isn't particularly clean, the lifespan can be drastically reduced. This highlights the importance of regular checks from industry professionals.

3) Appliances

There are a number of appliances in both the commercial and residential settings that use gas to operate. This includes fireplaces, stoves and water heaters.

However, much like the pipes, these appliances are prone to ageing and their seals can deteriorate without warning, resulting in a gas leak. There are many documented cases in the past where appliances were left on and the gas leaked around the building, resulted in illness or fire.

Many of these appliances are used on an everyday basis with changes invisible to the naked eye. Professionals are likely to carry indoor air quality detectors which can highlight what appliances are functioning and what others need to hit the scrap heap.

For more information on keeping your commercial or residential building safe from gas leaks, contact the Testo New Zealand team today!