Propane is considered one of the most efficient and relatively safe fuel sources for both household and commercial applications. In rare cases, an unpleasant odor may linger on your property after propane home delivery. While this should not be cause for alarm, a persistent propane smell is something you want to take seriously.
Why Does Propane Smell Like After a Propane Home Delivery?
In its pure state, propane has no odor. Propane distributors add Mercaptan, a non-hazardous organic compound, to help detect potential leakage. This additive is responsible for the intense, pungent odor akin to rotten eggs or skunk spray.
If you detect a faint smell near your appliance after a propane home delivery, don’t panic. When a burner valve is not fully closed or an open pilot light blows out, it is typical for the propane smell to linger for a few minutes.
However, if the odor does not dissipate after an extended period of time, it could indicate a gas leak.
What Should You Do if You Smell Propane Gas?
Here are the safety measures you should take if you smell propane for an extended period of time:
Turn off All Potential Ignition Sources
Propane is highly flammable; even the faintest spark or electrical charge can trigger an explosion. Promptly extinguish any open flames or smoke sources, including cigarettes, candles, incense, and pilot lights on appliances. Do not turn on or off any light switches, doorbells, televisions, and other electrical devices.
Identify the Underlying Problem
Confirm the smell comes from your appliances and not from another source in your home. It could be a dead animal on your property, nearby sewage, or a skunk spraying in your backyard.
Once you’ve ruled out these possibilities, there are two other ways to recognize a propane leak apart from the smell.
- Listen for an audible hiss coming from one of your appliances like a water heater, furnace, or stove.
- Check for sizzling water, moving dirt, or unusual patches of dead plants near or around the gas pipes.
Do not attempt to fix the problem yourself.
Get Yourself and Everyone Out of Danger
Quickly but cautiously, leave your home and evacuate to a safe distance. Once outside, don’t attempt to start your vehicle or any other electrical equipment that could cause sparks.
Turn off the Gas
Locate the main gas supply valve in your home and shut it off by turning it clockwise until it’s fully closed.
Call Your Propane Company/Distributor
Report the leak immediately to your propane vendor, but from a safe location, preferably your neighbor’s house. They’ll promptly dispatch a skilled technician to investigate and resolve the issue. Call 911 or your local fire brigade for assistance if you cannot reach them.
Stay Away From the Leak’s Source
Do not approach or enter your home, as this may result in injury or death in case of a fire. Stay a safe distance from your property until the emergency responder, propane technician, or your propane vendor deems it safe to re-enter.
Have Your Propane System Inspected
Even after a leak has been resolved, a qualified technician should inspect your entire propane system before use. A simple household accident, such as bumping into a pipe could trigger another leak.
Your propane company should offer monitoring and service plans to help keep you aware of your tank levels, deliveries, and safety concerns.
How To Stay Safe Around Propane
Long-term neglect of the propane tank and heating system can lead to severe gas leaks. Routine maintenance and preventative measures can eliminate these risks.
Some of the preventative measures include:
- Installing propane detectors in your home as an early warning system.
- Keeping the propane tank clutter-free by following safety guidelines for storage.
- Paying attention to any unusual odors or smells.
- Familiarizing yourself with the owner’s manual on the best practices for handling and storing propane cylinders.
- Hiring qualified professionals to service your propane tank and heating system.
Hire Qualified Propane Providers
Never disregard the smell of propane. If your home smells like rotten eggs for a long duration after a propane home delivery, contact your propane provider and report the situation immediately.