Propane Safety Tips
Propane People goes above and beyond to ensure our customer’s safety when handling propane.
The safety of customers, employees, and the communities that we serve is paramount to America’s propane industry. Whether you are a first-time customer or a veteran member of the propane workforce, this site offers a wide array of valuable resources for the safe delivery, storage, and use of propane to power homes, businesses, fleets, and farms.
Although the risk of a propane leak is extremely low, here you will find some helpful safety tips to ensure your family and home are protected.
Although naturally odorless, an odorant is added to propane in order for customers to identify a leak. Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. During your initial propane delivery, our driver will provide you with a welcoming kit, including a scratch & sniff card featuring this specific scent. If you require an additional card or welcoming kit, please contact us.
In the event that you suspect a leak, immediately:
- NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately extinguish all flames and smoking materials. Turn off all appliances, telephones, cell phones, and lights as any spark can result in an explosion or fire.
- LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Evacuate everyone from the building or area where gas is suspected of leaking.
- SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it clockwise (to the right).
- REPORT THE LEAK. Once you are away from the leak location, call 911, your local fire department, and then Propane People to report the leak.
- DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until Propane People, emergency service responder, or qualified service technician determines that is safe to do so.
- GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances again, Propane People or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to confirm that it is leak-free.
Can you smell it?
Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (elderly people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause this, including:
- The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder.
- The passage of leaking propane through the soil.
If there is a known possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.
Propane Gas Detectors
Under some circumstances, you may not smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors sound an alarm if they sense propane in the air. They can provide an additional measure of security. You should consider the purchase of one or more detectors for your home.
Guidelines regarding propane gas detectors:
- Buy only units that are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Follow the manufacturers regarding installation and maintenance.
- Never ignore the smell of propane, even if not detector is sounding an alarm.
Carbon monoxide AND your safety
WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?
You can’t taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that becomes blocked.
CO CAN BE DEADLY!
High levels of CO can make you dizzy or sick. In extreme cases, CO can cause brain damage or death.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
- Shortness of breath
IF YOU SUSPECT CO IS PRESENT, ACT IMMEDIATELY!
- If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
- If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
- If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.
TO HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CO POISONING:
- Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season.
- Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
- Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
- Never use a barbecue grill (propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
- Have Propane People check your propane appliances and related venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season begins.
- Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
- Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.
SIGNS OF IMPROPER APPLIANCE OPERATION THAT CAN GENERATE HIGH CO LEVELS:
- Sooting, especially on appliances and vents
- Unfamiliar or burning odors
- Increased moisture inside windows
Lighting Pilot Lights
IF A PILOT LIGHT REPEATEDLY GOES OUT . . .
If the pilot goes out or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. It is strongly recommended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out.