Check Your Balance
- Propane is flammable and may cause fires and explosions.
- Propane is heavier than air and can collect initially at low levels.
- Always be sensitive to the slightest propane gas odor. Any propane gas odor may signal a serious leak.
- Investigate all foul odors. What you think may be garbage, sewage or a dead mouse may be a serious propane gas leak.
But Don't Count On Smelling It...
Under some of the following conditions, you may not smell a gas leak. We recommend you install a propane gas detector(s) in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.
- Some people (especially the elderly) are unable to detect the smell of gas.
- Colds, allergies, sinus congestion and the use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs may diminish your sense of smell.
- Cooking odors or other strong odors can mask the smell of gas.
- On rare occasions, propane gas may lose its distinctive odor. This is called "odor fade." Air, water and rust in a propane tank or cylinder may weaken the gas odor, especially if valves were left open after the container was emptied.
- Propane gas can lose its odor if a leak occurs underground.
- Odorant in leaking gas can adsorb (stick) to building materials such as unpainted or untreated masonry and rough wall surface, to furniture, fabrics and drapes, and to the inside walls of gas piping and static or periodically used propane storage containers and distribution systems.
If you smell propane gas, follow these emergency steps:
- Put out smoking materials and other open flames.
- DO NOT:
- Operate electric switches
- Light matches
- Use your phone
Any spark or flame in the area where propane gas is present may ignite the gas: the spark in a light switch, telephone, appliance motor or static electricity from walking around the room.
- Immediately get everyone out of the building, vehicle, RV trailer or area.
- Close all gas tank or cylinder supply valves. (see diagrams below)
- Do not re-enter the building, vehicle, RV trailer or area. Use a neighbor's phone and call a trained propane service person and the fire department. Even though you may not continue to smell gas, do not turn on the gas again.
- Let the service person and the firefighters check for propane gas leaks. Have them air out the area before you return.
- Have properly trained propane service people repair any leak, then check and relight all gas appliances for you.
Important Safety Reminders:
- Don't enter an area where you suspect a gas leak. If you are in such an area, leave immediately!
- Be alert for propane odor when working in areas where propane is used. Even a faint odor may indicate a hazardous situation. If you suspect a gas leak, follow the instructions above.
- Do not try to judge for yourself the danger level of a gas leak by trying to determine if the smell of gas is weak or strong. All gas leaks pose a serious risk.
- Repeated pilot outages could indicate a hazardous condition. Don't attempt to relight the pilot or service the equipment. Call your propane dealer.
- If you choose to light your own pilots, call your propane dealer for instructions.
- Before lighting a propane gas appliance, sniff around the area at floor level. If you smell gas, don't light the appliance.
- If your appliance has been flooded, shut off the gas immediately at the tank. Do not use your gas system again until the wet or flooded equipment has been checked and serviced.
- Improperly vented or defective appliances cause potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your propane systems and appliances periodically inspected by your propane dealer.
- Don't tamper with or use tools to operate controls. If controls are difficult to operate by hand, call your propane dealer immediately.
- Keep combustible products, like gasoline, kerosene or cleaners in a separate room from propane appliances. Your appliance pilot lights could ignite fumes from these combustibles.
- Don't operate any propane gas appliance without reading the instructions carefully.
Some people mistakenly believe that the smell of propane gas is a signal that their tank is nearly empty and should be refilled. When a tank is low you may get a momentary whiff of gassy smell when stovetop burners are ignited. However, if the smell of gas lasts more than an instant, the continuing gas odor means you may have a serious propane gas leak. Any persistent gassy smell is your signal to TAKE IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY ACTION.
For more detailed information, contact your local MFA Oil propane plant.