When someone suffers from anosmia, he or she is unable to smell the odorant used to odorize natural gas. A hyposmia sufferer may also be unable to detect the gas. With both medical conditions, a dangerous situation would present itself if there was ever a natural gas leak.
Anosmia or Hyposmia Smell Disorders
Unfortunately, not everyone has an ordinary sense of smell. While some people may have a diminished sense (hyposmia), others are unable to smell at all (anosmia). Some studies have suggested on average 1-2 % of North Americans have impaired smell. Causes of reduced olfactory perception range from aging, allergies, viral infections attacking the olfactory nerve, medications, hormones, diseases, and other conditions, though some people are born with no sense of smell (congenital anosmia). Continue reading
Pickling or pre-odorization is a process used to prep new gas pipe before commissioning for use. In new gas lines, it is very common to experience odor fade or have the natural gas odorant scrubbed or removed from the gas stream, therefore making it odorless, a significant safety hazard.
In a new pipe, odorant molecules attach to the pipe wall. Therefore, the odorant no longer remains in the gas stream, and it becomes odorless. The pipeline continues to adsorb the odorant until the line becomes saturated, then the odorant begins to stay in the gas. It is unclear, however, how long this process can take which is why it is common to “pickle” the line to speed up the progression.
When an odorant level in a natural gas stream depletes, it is scrubbed, resulting in odor fade. This causes safety issues as the natural gas odorant is no longer able to be perceived by smell. What are the causes of scrubbing and odor fade?
Why can’t I smell natural gas?
In an earlier post, we share that the regulations require the odorant level in a natural gas stream to be based on a person having a “normal” sense of smell. Did you know that there are very common factors that may impede your ability to smell natural gas? Are you at risk? Visit Why can’t I smell natural gas? to learn about the factors hindering the capacity to smell natural gas.
Aside from having a perception concern, if the odorant is removed or scrubbed from the natural gas stream it becomes odorless and that represents a considerable safety hazard. Continue reading
Some factors hinder our ability to smell natural gas, aside from scrubbing, which depletes the odorant level injected into the gas stream. Do you know if you are susceptible?
Odorize Natural Gas
As an odorizer manufacturer, we design systems to inject odorant (the scent) into gas. In fact, it’s federally regulated and stipulated that any odorless gas within a distribution or transmission line (exceptions noted in the regulations) must contain odorant at the level of 1/5 the lower explosive limit so that a person with a normal sense of smell can detect it.
Factors Effecting Odorant Perception
Some factors hinder our ability to smell natural gas, aside from scrubbing which depletes the odorant level injected into the gas stream. Are you susceptible?
While we all may think we have a “normal” sense of smell, our ability to perceive odors changes from time to time. Here is a list of several factors that impede a person’s ability to smell: Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why natural gas smells differently from one place to another? While the mercaptan family compounds are the most used to odorize natural gas, other chemicals, and blends of compounds are developed to satisfy specific applications.
In earlier posts, we share that the government requires natural gas be odorized as a safety measure since it is combustible and odorless. We also discuss that odorant is introduced by either chemical vaporization or chemical injection. We further share the advantages and disadvantages of various odorization systems, whether wick-type, bypass, pulse bypass, drip injection or pump injection systems.
From water gas to natural gas, the addition of an odorant to gas, or gas odorization has always been driven by the desire to keep people safe.
Town Gas Naturally Reeks
In Europe, during the early 1800s and the initial stages of the gas industry, town gas was manufactured for lighting and heating. This gas was produced from the carbonization of coal and contained mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide and was obviously poisonous. The gas also contained sulfur compounds and innately had a gassy odor so that if there ever was a leak it was perceived through the sense of smell. Continue reading
What do you do if you smell natural gas in your home or a building? Alternatively, what if you smell it outside?
Smell gas? MercapMan says, “Take action!”
Of course, this is a trick question since natural gas is odorless and technically you are smelling the odorant in the gas stream. In any case, if you are sensing that rotten egg, sulfur-like odor then you know that there is a good chance that natural gas is present, and you need to take action. Continue reading