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Know What To Do if You Smell Gas

Keep Everyone Safe With These Important Tips

gas leak emergency mainePropane is well known as a safe and efficient energy source. But an unchecked leak can result in a dangerous situation. Make sure you know the smell of gas and learn these steps to keep your family and home safe.

  1. Know the smell: Because it’s naturally odorless, all propane has an additive (it’s called mercaptan) that smells like “rotten eggs” or “skunk” so that it’s quickly and easily identified.
  2. Leave immediately. If you smell gas, get people out of the house and away as quickly as possible. Do not do anything that could create a spark: do not use a phone, turn lights on or off, or switch on or off any appliances.
  3. Call for help. As soon as you are away—across the street or down the block is good—call 911 and then your propane provider.

If you can safely access the shut-off valve on your propane tank or cylinder, turn it off. It’s typically located on the top of the tank (see photo here for reference); turn it to the right until it’s completely tightened. Do not return to your home until first responders have told you it’s safe, even if you no longer smell gas.

turn off propane maine

Identifying Potential Leaks

An outdoor gas leak may be harder to detect because the smell can dissipate. Signs of a gas leak outside can include a white, cloudy appearance around the outside of the tank or bubbles forming in water when poured on the exterior of the tank. Additionally, you may also hear a steady hiss or whistling noise near the tank. Follow the same precautions if you notice any of these. Walk away from the area avoid creating any sparks and call 911.

You should always treat any potential leak as serious. However, keep in mind that when you light a stove or other propane appliance, there may be a faint propane smell. But it shouldn’t last long. A faint propane odor could also be a sign that the pilot on your propane fireplace, stove, or water heater has gone out. If this happens frequently, call for service.

If you are concerned that you may not be able to smell a propane leak, consider placing propane gas detectors in your home. Much like the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, these units will alert you to any potential leaks.

There’s no question that propane fumes can be dangerous. However, serious leaks are rare and are typically only brought on by long-term neglect of your tank and/or heating system. If you suspect any signs of trouble, the pros at PitStop Propane and Fuels can help you ensure that you are protected with safe, reliable propane delivery top-quality and propane system maintenance. Contact us today for more information.