What Does A Propane Leak Smell Like?
Valuable propane safety tips for you & your family.
Unlike some other home energy sources, propane is a true year-round fuel. Even though you’ve likely powered down your propane-fired furnace or boiler for the year, you could very well be using a propane-powered water heater, stove, clothes dryer or fire pit — not to mention a freestanding grill that uses a propane cylinder.
It’s crucial to be prepared in case of a propane leak. While rare, gas leaks are a serious matter. But as a trusted propane delivery and equipment services partner in Morris, Somerset, Union and southern Sussex Counties, Dixon Energy can give you some valuable safety tips.
The smell of propane
Propane is a natural co-product of natural gas extraction and oil refining (although renewable propane production, using organic feedstocks, is more common every day). It has no scent. Producers add gas to propane called ethyl mercaptan or methanethiol. This additive gives the fuel an instantly recognizable odor which people describe as being like rotten eggs, spoiled meat or a skunk’s spray. This odor is an indication that there might be a propane leak.
How can you prepare for a propane leak?
Although propane leaks are not a common occurrence, it is essential that you and your loved ones prepare for the possibility. Here are some concrete steps you can take:
- Tell everyone in your home what propane smells like and how to respond if they smell it. (See below for a step-by-step safety plan in case of a gas leak.)
- While it’s vital to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors throughout your home, a CO detector won’t alert you to a gas leak. We recommend that you install UL-listed gas detectors near your propane equipment.
- Prominently post contact information for local emergency services and your propane supplier.
- Learn how to turn off the supply valve on your propane tank .
What do you do if there’s a gas leak at your home?
- Get everyone out of the house or whatever area you smell gas in IMMEDIATELY
- Extinguish open flames, cigarettes or other sources of ignition.
- Don’t use thermostats, electric switches, telephones or any other appliances until you are safely out.
- If you can safely access the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder, turn it off.
- Once you’re away from where you smelled gas, use your mobile phone or a neighbor’s phone to contact Dixon Energy and emergency personnel.
- Stay away from the area. Don’t return or try to reopen the propane supply, even if you don’t smell gas anymore.
- Give propane service technicians and/or emergency personnel time to check for escaped propane gas and repair the source of the leak.
- Once the leak is repaired, the propane service technician also needs to carefully inspect all the gas appliances and relight all pilots.
- Wait for the propane service technician and/or emergency personnel to give you the all-clear to return.
The Dixon Energy team is always available if you have propane safety concerns. Never hesitate to reach out to us.