Propane Safety Best Practices

Learn this information to keep your home and loved ones safe

propane safety wilson, ncThanks to strong governmental regulations and the high industry standards upheld by propane companies like Tidewater Energy, propane has an excellent safety record.

Although propane is generally safe to use in your home, it’s important to understand how to use it safely and what to do if there is a rare propane leak. To help you learn more about propane safety, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers.

What does propane smell like?

This may be the most important thing you can learn in terms of propane safety. After all, you can’t detect a leak if you don’t know the smell of propane gas.

Propane does not naturally have a smell. However, an odorant such as ethyl mercaptan is added to propane during its manufacturing process to give it a distinct scent. This is done so that any leaks can be easily detected.

If you smell a strong odor that resembles rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray, it’s likely that there is a propane gas leak.

What should I do if I smell propane gas?

The first thing you need to know is what not to do if you detect propane gas in your home.

DON’T panic. Our propane leak safety guidelines below will help ensure that you’re prepared so that you can calmly deal with the situation.

DON’T try to find out where the smell is coming from. Let the professionals handle it and prioritize your the safety and that of those around you.

Now, here’s what you DO:

  1. Evacuate the house immediately, including all pets.
  2. Before leaving, make sure to extinguish all possible sources of ignition, such as candles or cigarettes.
  3. As you are leaving the house, avoid using any items that could generate a spark, such as light switches, telephones and vape pens.
  4. If it’s safe for you to do so, please turn off the propane supply valve located on your propane tank. It’s important that all adults living in your home know how to do this. If you’re unsure of how to do it, please contact us for help.
  5. When you are a safe distance away from the gas leak, contact 911 and Tidewater Energy immediately.
  6. Keep a safe distance until the first responders and service technicians find the source of the leak and make any necessary repairs. You may only return to your home after they have given you approval.

How do I protect my home from propane leaks?

One way to prevent propane leaks is to regularly schedule expert maintenance for all your propane appliances. During a tune-up, a qualified propane service technician will inspect your appliances in detail. If they discover any problems that could lead to a gas leak, they will be able to repair them.

Invest in propane leak detectors to improve the safety of your home. Place them near propane appliances like water heaters, stoves and fireplaces. Remember that propane gas is heavier than air, so position the sensors at a level lower than your bed pillows.

It is important to know that carbon monoxide detectors and propane leak detectors serve different purposes. Some people mistakenly believe that carbon monoxide detectors can also detect propane leaks, and vice versa. However, this is not true. Carbon monoxide detectors only detect carbon monoxide, while propane leak detectors only detect propane leaks. To ensure your safety, it’s important to have both kinds of detectors in your home.

To stay safe, stay informed about the handling and use of propane. Watch the propane-safety-themed videos provided by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) below to enhance your knowledge.

Topics under Residential Propane