Tips If You Have a Large Tank

What Is Propane?

Propane (also called LPG—liquefied petroleum gas—or LP gas) is a widely used fuel. It is transported and stored as a very cold liquid, and can cause a “freeze burn” or frostbite if it contacts the skin. The liquid propane is turned into a gas inside a tank or a cylinder. In its natural form, propane is colorless and odorless. To make propane easier to detect in the event of a leak or spill, manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it a distinctive smell.

Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials, electrical sparks, and static electricity.

Propane vapors are heavier than air. For this reason, they may accumulate in low-lying areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and ditches, or along floors. However, air currents can sometimes carry propane vapors elsewhere within a building.

What Should I do If I Smell Gas?

  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.

  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.

  3. 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 to the right (clockwise).

  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.

  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.

  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

How to Recognize the Smell of Propane

Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.

TAKE THE SNIFF TEST. Teach everyone in your home or building what propane smells like. You can use the blue circle on the page opposite of the inside front cover. Or, ask your propane retailer for a demonstration.

CAN YOU SMELL IT?

  • It may be hard for some people to smell propane for the following reasons:

  • They have a cold, allergies, sinus congestion, or another medical condition.

  • Their sense of smell is reduced due to use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.

  • Tobacco smoke, cooking odors, and other strong odors can mask the smell of propane.

  • As people age, their sense of smell can become less sensitive.

  • If the smell of propane is present in the air over a period of time, “odor fatigue” can occur. The nose “gets tired,” and a person no longer smells the propane odor.

  • The propane smell may not be strong enough to wake up someone who is sleeping.

  • The propane smell may be in a location (basement or attic) where it is not detected by people in other areas of the building.

  • A phenomenon called “odor loss” can occur—an unintended reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane.

Facts about Propane Gas Detectors

CONSIDER INSTALLING GAS DETECTORS.

  • Under some circumstances, you may not smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors are designed to sound an alarm if they sense the presence of propane. Their operation does not depend on the concentration of odorant in the air, just the propane concentration at the detector.

  • We recommend that you consider installing one or more propane gas detectors. This is important if you or others in your home have difficulty smelling propane, or if appliances are in little-used areas in your home where the smell of propane might not be detected. Detectors can provide an additional measure of security.

DETECTOR QUALITY IS IMPORTANT. Be sure the units you buy are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). To be sure propane gas detectors operate properly, install and maintain them as the manufacturer recommends.

TRUST YOUR NOSE. Never ignore the smell of propane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm to signal the presence of propane. However, if a detector is sounding an alarm, treat it as an emergency and act immediately, even if you do not smell the propane.

CHECK YOUR PROPANE SYSTEM. Even if you install gas detectors, have a qualified service technician inspect your propane system and propane appliances periodically.

What Happens If I Run Out of Gas

DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS. serious safety hazards, including fire or explosion, can result.

  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open when the propane supply runs out, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.

  • Air and moisture could get into an empty or depleted storage tank, which can cause rust build-up inside the tank. Rust can decrease the concentration of the odor of propane, making it harder to smell.

  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly.

  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

  • SET UP REGULAR DELIVERY. Establish a regular delivery schedule with your propane retailer. Also, periodically check the fuel gauge on your propane tank. If the fuel level drops below 20%, call your propane retailer.

How Can I keep My Home Safe When I am Away for An Extended Period?

KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE WHEN YOU’RE AWAY. If you’re leaving your home for an extended period, consider closing all propane supply valves. This includes the main gas supply valve on the propane tank as well as gas supply valves located near individual appliances.

WHEN YOU RETURN to your home after an extended absence, contact your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to conduct a leak check before the propane is turned on and to re-light the pilot lights.


Propane Order Hotline:
706-344-1GAS
(1427)


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