When compared to many other home heating options, propane is a relatively safe and efficient fuel source. However, even with the modern safety measures that have been put in place, it is important to know how to handle a propane leak.

Propane is a flammable gas, so even a small spark can cause it to ignite, leading to property damage or worse. A propane smell, either in the home or outside, is something to be taken very seriously. Here’s what you should do if you think you smell propane.

Step One: Identify the Problem

A faint propane smell may not be cause for alarm. It’s normal for a propane odor to linger when lighting a stove, or if the pilot light in a gas fireplace, hot water heater or other appliance goes out.

While any potential leak should be treated seriously, be especially careful if the smell is particularly intense, if it won’t go away or if it is accompanied by a hissing sound.

Is Propane Odorless?

Propane is naturally odorless, but it contains a chemical additive that gives it a distinctive smell, most often described as being similar to rotten eggs. Make sure what you are smelling is propane and not from another source, such as garbage, sewage, skunk spray or a dead animal.

Step Two: Get out of Danger

If you smell propane inside, get yourself and your family out of the home as quickly as possible. Avoid the use of anything that can create a spark or electrical charge — this includes not just lighters and open flames but also mechanical devices such as rotary telephones, light switches, doorbells and thermostats.

If you smell gas outdoors, leave the area with a similar degree of caution. Be aware that vehicles or electrical equipment can pose a safety risk. Walk to a safe distance, if possible, and don’t attempt to correct or pinpoint the issue yourself.

Step Three: Contact Foster Fuels

To ensure everyone’s safety, propane leaks must be handled by a professional. One call to Foster Fuels is all it takes to have an experienced technician come and assess the issue. We’re available around the clock to provide service to any customer.

Stay Safe and Know the Risks

There’s no question that propane fumes are dangerous. However, serious leaks are rare and are typically only brought on by long-term neglect of your tank and heating system. The best way to avoid an issue is to invest in regular maintenance from a qualified professional.

Don’t wait until you smell leaking propane in your home to call Foster Fuels — get in touch today and have one of our team members put together a maintenance schedule that keeps you safe all year round.