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Propane Safety Tips for North Carolina Homes

What to Do If You Smell Propane Gas and More

propane safety north carolina First and foremost, rest assured that propane has a remarkable safety record, thanks to stringent codes and regulations developed by the propane industry and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Your North Carolina propane company also complies with all state regulations that require periodic testing and training. These North Carolina propane professionals invest time and money to ensure the safety of their customers and everyone else who relies on propane.

With all that said, you should never take safety for granted and you need to know what steps to take if a problem should occur.

What to Do If You Smell Gas

While propane is odorless, manufacturers incorporate an odor into it to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. Many people say the odor smells like rotten eggs or the spray from a skunk.

If you think you smell propane gas in your home, camper, RV or the area around any gas equipment, or if a propane gas detector alerts you to the presence of propane, you should IMMEDIATELY follow these steps.

  • Extinguish all smoking materials and any other open flames or sources of ignition. Everyone should vacate the general area.
  • Move away without using any electric switches, appliances, thermostats, or phones that could create a spark, such as static electricity.
  • If you feel it’s safe to do so, close the gas shutoff valve on your propane tank or cylinder.
  • Call your propane supplier and/or your local fire department from a mobile phone far enough away from the source of the gas leak.
  • Even if you do not continue to smell propane, do not open or turn on the propane supply valve. Do not re-enter the building, vehicle, or general area. Let a qualified propane service technician and/or emergency personnel check for leaking propane.
  • Have a properly trained propane service technician repair the leak. The propane service technician or emergency responder needs to determine that the leak situation has been fully resolved. The propane service technician should check all your propane gas appliances and relight any gas pilots on your appliances.
  • Return to the building, camper, RV, or area only when the service technician or emergency responder indicates that it is safe to do so.

If at any time you have safety concerns, remember that your propane service company is well trained and properly equipped to visit your home and address the situation.

To keep any safety issues to a minimum, your propane company recommends that you schedule a service visit from a licensed propane contractor at least once a year so that all your propane tanks and appliances can be checked—and repaired if necessary.

What to Do If a Storm Is Forecasted

Do the following if severe weather is forecast.

  • Make sure you have enough propane to last for at least a week after the storm ends in case there are road blockages or closures.
  • Monitor local media and websites for instructions on the appropriate actions to take.
  • Charge your phone and other electronic equipment in anticipation of a power outage.

Steps to Take After the Storm

  • If there’s been snowfall or an ice storm, please clear a path to your propane tank at least one foot wide to provide easy access for propane delivery teams and tank maintenance.
  • Use a broom to clear snow or ice from all vents and flues to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) gas backing up into your home. Be gentle so you don’t do any damage.
  • If you believe that any of your propane equipment has been damaged, contact your propane service provider immediately for an inspection. Remember, if your propane gas supply is shut off, you are required to have a pressure test performed by a licensed propane contractor before you can use your propane equipment again.

Other Reminders for Staying Safe with Propane.

  • Make sure all adults in your household know how to shut off the flow of gas from your propane storage tank. This is a recommended step if you ever smell propane gas—but shut off the valve only if you feel it’s safe to do so.
  • It’s important to confirm that everyone in the home can recognize the smell of propane—and what to do afterward. If you or others in your home have trouble smelling odors in general, you should install one or more propane gas detectors.
  • Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
  • Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. You should never use your kitchen gas stove for heat either. Carbon monoxide from these devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard.
  • Test and replace batteries in all carbon monoxide and propane gas detectors in your home, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding maintenance. Know how to spot the symptoms of CO poisoning, and what to do if someone is experiencing them. Make sure your smoke detectors are operating properly also.

Do you want to learn more about propane safety? The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has produced short videos to help you be better informed about propane safety. View our PERC propane safety videos.