Propane is safe, economical fuel but like many other forms of energy it can be hazardous if not handled properly. Propane in your gas tank and system is stored under pressure. In most systems it is vaporized to gas before it leaves your tank or cylinder and is dispensed through a pressure regulator to your appliance (such as ranges, furnaces, and water heaters).
Propane has an unusual odor, which resembles that of rotten eggs. Ask your delivery man to let you smell the gas. It is important to learn to identify this odor. Electronic gas alarms can supplement a person’s ability to detect gas and sounds a warning when it detects the presence of unburned propane.
In the unlikely event your system develops a leak, a flame or spark could ignite it. Leaking propane is heavier than air and without proper ventilation can collect in low places like basements, pits, on the floor, etc. Propane is flammable and will burn when ignited or even cause an explosion.
If You Smell Gas
- Put out all smoking materials and other open flames. DO NOT operate electrical switches, light matches or use the phone.
- IMMEDIATELY get everyone out of the building, vehicle, trailer, or area.
- SHUT OFF the gas valve at the outside tank.
- Call your propane gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone. In the event you cannot reach your propane supplier, call the fire department.
- STAY OUTSIDE or at a neighbor’s and leave the gas turned off until the leak can be found and fixed by a trained service person.
The Pilot Won’t Light
Read appliance-operation instructions before attempting to light any pilot. Your pilot is designed not to light if there is a problem. If you have trouble lighting the pilot or keeping it lit, there is normally a safety feature preventing it from working. If it won’t light, shut off the gas to the appliance and call your gas supplier.
Tampering is Dangerous
Do not force the gas control knob. Never use tools. Use only your hand to turn the control knob. Forcing the gas control knob may override the safety feature and allow gas to leak. This could result in a fire or explosion. If the gas control knob becomes difficult to operate by hand, the control should be serviced by a trained gas technician.
If You Run Out of Gas
Letting your propane container run empty creates additional hazards. If you run out of gas and lose pressure in the system, a potentially hazardous condition can result. If you do run out of gas, follow these steps:
- Close the service valve on the propane tank.
- Shut off all appliances and shutoff valves.
- Contact your propane supplier immediately and arrange for delivery advising them you are out of gas.
- Ensure an adult is present at the time of delivery so that your propane supplier may test for leaks, insure the system is leak-free, and put the system back into service.
The odorant in propane can fade under certain conditions. If you suspect a leak and do not smell gas follow the same procedure for a leak with odor.
Gas detectors will detect gas with or without odorant. Call for more information on detectors. They are especially recommended for those who may have trouble smelling the gas odorant due to injury, disease or aging.
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Always call your propane supplier anytime you experience an interruption of service, or you need a gas appliance connected or disconnected. Learn More ›
Rely on qualified technicians to install and inspect gas systems and appliances.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be an authority regarding safety or regulatory issues. It is not to be an instructional medium and assumes no liability as it is intended for educational and informational purposes only.