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What is Mercaptan, and Is It in Your Home?

If you use a gas furnace in your home, then you’re just one of the millions of homeowners that utilize this technology. Gas furnaces are safe, affordable, and efficient for homes that require powerful heating. With all that said, we need to be clear about how the process works and when you might encounter the need for heating repair in Mandeville, LA.

We’ll start this conversation by talking about mercaptan, a chemical that you might not know much about. It exists in every home with a gas furnace and it’s something that you might want to be aware of the next time you encounter a furnace issue.

Today, we’re going to start by investigating this mysterious chemical and find out what it does for you and your family. Then, we’ll go on to discuss when you might need professional help to fix your furnace, all based around detecting this chemical.

The Science Behind Mercaptan

Mercaptan is the common name for a chemical known as “methanethiol,” which is completely harmless. It’s a gas that you can breathe in small amounts with no real side effects other than the fact that it smells extremely foul. It’s a pungent gas that gives off an odor of rotten eggs or sulfur.

Mercaptan is going to smell different to each person but one thing remains the same, our noses do not like the smell of this gas and it’s easy for us to pick up on. You’ve probably smelled mercaptan before when you’ve turned on your gas stove, or when you’ve used one of those plastic lighters.

This chemical is actually naturally found in the blood and brains of animals including humans! Therefore, our visceral reaction to it is natural and is nothing to worry about. What you should worry about is where the smell is coming from.

“Why Is It in My Furnace?”

The reason why we’re talking about mercaptan is because of the fact that it’s specifically added to natural gas. The reason why gas refineries do this is that otherwise natural gas would be impossible to detect and we would have more fire hazards and emergencies.

Mercaptan makes natural gas easy for our noses to pick up. Whenever there’s a dangerous gas leak in your furnace, you’ll quickly detect the scent of rotting eggs or smelly socks, and you’ll know that something is wrong!

What to Do When You Detect Mercaptan

When you pick up the odor that comes from mercaptan, it’s safe to assume there’s flammable gas in your home. The first and most important thing to do is to exit the premises with your family. Once your home is empty, you can call our team for support or even the fire department if you’re concerned that there’s a fire hazard. We’ll be able to help you address the problem, fix your furnace, and ensure that it only operates safely from here on out.

Just make sure your first priority is keeping you and your family safe.

When you need it done right, call Professional Heating & Air for your furnace repairs.

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