SMO Energy partners with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to remind our propane customers of the importance of propane safety. As part of our yearly reminder below is a quick guide for how to detect a propane leak and what to do in the event you or a family member smells propane gas.
What does propane gas smell like?
Propane is a colorless and odorless gas, therefore an odorant called ethyl mercaptan is added to make the presence of propane detectable. Thanks to ethyl mercaptan, propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. However, some people can’t smell this foul odor because of age (less sensitive to smell), medical condition, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
If you smell gas:
- NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Any flame source, the source of electricity, or spark can trigger an explosion or fire.
- LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect the gas leak. No time to collect any necessities, get outside and to a safe space.
- SHUT OF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, as long as it is safe to do so. Turn the valve to the right (turn clockwise) to shut the gas off.
- REPORT THE LEAK. Call your propane provider right away from a safe location, such as a neighbor’s home. If you can’t reach your propane provider, call 911 or your local fire department.
- DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA. Stay away from the area until propane provider, emergency responder, or a qualified service technician has deemed the area safe to return.
- GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before attempting to use your propane appliances again, your propane provider or qualified technician must check the entire propane system to ensure there are no leaks.
The Dangers of Running Out of Propane Gas:
There are serious safety hazards associated with letting your propane tank go empty. It is always best to keep your propane tank filled and monitored by a propane provider. If you are monitoring your propane tank, it is best to not let the tank go below 30 percent of the tank capacity.
- If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the tank is refilled with propane.
- If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This creates an extremely dangerous situation and is highly recommended that a qualified service technician light any pilot light that has gone out.
- A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. Many states require a propane provider or a service technician to perform a leak check on your propane system before turning the gas back on.