If You Smell Propane

Safety Precautions to Take in the Event of a Propane Tank Gas Leak

Did you know that propane is an odorless gas? Ethyl Mercaptan is added to propane to give it a tell-tale stench of rotten eggs or sulfur to be able to easily identify a leak. This enhanced characteristic of propane is very important for the safety of individuals as a propane gas leak can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if undetected.

If you smell propane, immediately do the following:

  1. Eliminate any source of flames or devices that could create sparks.

When propane mixes with the air it immediately becomes flammable. In an area where propane is in the air, lighting a match, appliance or a spark from an electronic device like a cell phone or outlet could ignite a blaze. Immediately extinguish all possible fire sources including cigarettes and other smoking apparatus.

  1. Vacate the premises.

To protect all persons, it is best to leave the area that is believed to be contaminated with the gas leak. Leave the area to be inspected by the officials or the propane tank retailer.

  1. IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, Turn off the gas line.

If you are safely able to access the propane tank, turn the propane valve to the right (remember, righty tighty to be tightly closed) until it stops turning to ensure there is no gas coming out of the tank.

  1. Call the professionals to inspect the area of the suspected gas leak.

Once all parties have safely vacated the area of the gas leak, make a call to the local fire department or 911 and your propane supplier to inform of the situation and to proceed with the proper safety procedures.

  1. Remain clear of the gas leak area until given the “all clear”.

Just like fire drills in grammar school, no one could re-enter the facility until the professionals inspected the situation to deem the area safe to return inside. This is the same situation, to ensure all parties’ safety, do not re-enter the building until fire department and/or the propane supplier technician has claimed it safe to do so.

  1. For all safety purposes, get your system inspected by a professional technician before using again.

To avoid another emergency situation, call your trusted propane tank service technician for a thorough and proper inspection and system check to make sure the propane tank is leak free.

Click HERE for a video on what to do if you smell propane.

 What causes a propane gas leak?

It is human nature to forget to turn off the propane tank valve, say, to a grill or other appliance, which causes gas to run out of the tank. The reason why it is crucial to always turn off tank valve is because when tanks are refilled after running out a leak could occur due to the recharging of the propane.

With the gas valve left open and the tank now empty, air and moisture now have access inside the empty tank. The moisture inside the aluminum or steel propane tank can create rust. The Ethyl Mercaptan added to the propane tank to give it a distinct odor in case of a leak is then less detectable as it combats with the chemical reaction of the rust.

With an empty propane tank, the pilot typically goes out as well. It is highly advised for homeowners to not try to relight their pilot in order to gain access to the gas source. Trying to relight the pilot without the expertise of a trained professional could result in a fire or explosion.

Leak Test

Propane Bubbles

Regular System Checks are a Must

Propane Warehouse highly recommends a routine propane system check to ensure all components are in working order. If parts are old, loose, no longer fitting correctly, or not the right part to begin with. Give us a call to help get the right propane accessories for proper use and handling of your equipment.

Your qualified repair person may an LP Gas leak detector fluid like this;

Propane Leak Detector

Of course, always make sure your qualified technician installs these parts for you and rechecks the system for the utmost safety precautions.