Can I Always Smell a Propane Gas Leak?
Periodically, your propane company will mail you information that explains steps to take if you smell gas, as well as topics like propane gas detectors, carbon monoxide safety, general appliance safety tips and more. You may also recall that the safety materials you received contained a “Scratch and Sniff” test—allowing you to easily recognize the distinct smell of propane.
In its natural form, propane is odorless, but manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it a strong unpleasant smell. This odorized propane is usually described as something similar to the odor of rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Some people say it mimics the smell of a dead animal.
Did You Know Propane Can Stop Smelling Because Of Your Home?
There are situations that may prevent you from detecting the smell of propane gas and a leak. Sometimes, conditions in your home – or in your body – can make it harder to pick up propane’s scent.
Commonly known as “odor loss,” this can be caused by:
- Too much air, water, or rust in your propane tank
- A propane leak underground (soil diffuses propane’s odor)
- Odor “sticking” to the inside of the propane distribution pipes
- Diminished sense of smell, caused by old age, sinus congestion or other medical conditions
Propane Safety Tips For North Carolina
With all this in mind, it is important to take these two precautions for propane leaks:
1. Install a propane gas detector (or detectors, depending on the size and layout of your home). A propane gas detector is an inexpensive but vital piece of safety equipment; follow manufacturer’s instructions for placement and maintenance.
2. When in doubt, follow propane safety procedures. React immediately to even the faintest propane odor, following propane safety measures to get your family to safety.
- Have everyone leave the house or affected area IMMEDIATELY.
- Extinguish all smoking materials, open flames or other sources of ignition.
- Don’t use electric switches, appliances, thermostats or telephones. They can create a spark.
- If it is safe to do so, close the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder by turning it all the way to the right. If you have multiple tanks, do this for all of them.
- Call your propane supplier or emergency services from a mobile phone or a neighbor’s telephone.
- Even if you do not continue to smell propane, do not open or turn on the propane supply valve. Do not reenter the building or affected area. Let a qualified propane service technician or emergency personnel check for escaped propane.
- Have a properly trained propane service technician repair the leak. The propane service technician or emergency responder must determine that the leak has been fully resolved. The propane service technician should check all gas appliances and relight any appliance pilots.
- Return to your home only when the service technician or emergency responder indicates it is safe.
- Have your system inspected by your propane company to ensure it’s running safely and efficiently.
You can review these steps by watching the video below from the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC). You can also watch many more helpful PERC videos on propane safety.
If you have additional questions or concerns about propane safety, be sure to consult with your local North Carolina propane company.
If you have questions or concerns about propane safety, be sure to consult with your local North Carolina propane company.