Public Awareness

Natural gas is odorless, but it is a common practice to add a distinctive chemical odorant called mercaptan. ORUD has done this so that you can more easily recognize the presence of natural gas, should you have a leak.

The chemical odor is frequently compared to the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell something like this, please call us immediately.

In the event of an emergency, call the 24-hour emergency line at (865) 483-1377 or (888) 483-1377.

How to determine if you have a gas leak

  • Is there an odor?
  • Do you hear air hissing or leaking?
  • Are you aware of any damage to the gas line?
  • Are you or another member of your family feeling dizzy, faint or ill?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact us at (865) 483-1377 or (888) 483-1377.

**Please leave your home to place the call to us**

If you have determined (or suspect) you have a gas leak, please take the following precautions:

  • DO NOT Operate electrical Items, including your home telephone
  • DO NOT Use your cellphone inside the home
  • DO NOT Operate electrical switches
  • DO NOT Light matches
  • DO NOT Hang up the phone. Instead lay it down.
  • DO Evacuate the building, but be nearby/available for our service technician
  • DO Extinguish any open flame

The best way to promote safety is through education and awareness. We’ve compiled the following list of natural gas safety tips to guide and inform consumers about issues that might be relevant to you. As always, please call our 24-hour emergency phone number if you have any questions or need assistance with anything safety-related.


  • Always read your appliance manuals thoroughly
  • Be especially aware of your water heater’s temperature setting (temperatures over 125F can cause severe burns)
  • Use appliances only for their intended purposes
  • Adhere to recommended maintenance schedules
  • Call a professional when/if service is needed


  • Always use combustible materials only as directed
  • Keep paper, fabric and flammable fluids away from pilot lights, open flames and any surfaces that may become hot when the appliance is in use

Safety precautions for family, including children

  • Familiarize yourself and your family with gas appliances
  • Educate family members about all surfaces that may get hot when in use, including vent pipes
  • Never allow children to play with or adjust appliance controls
  • Schedule annual inspections and cleanings of heating systems, vents, flues and chimney with a professional service provider
  • Stay alert by conducting your own visual inspections, looking for improper connections, rust, stains or water build-up
  • Never leave your car running in a garage
  • Never use gas or charcoal grills in an enclosed area
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, especially near bedrooms
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide is present, get fresh air immediately and call 911