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What to Do if You Smell Gas

Posted: February 14, 2022

Know the Distinctive Odor of Propane Gas

Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert consumers to propane leaks. If you are concerned that you or others in your home may have difficulty smelling propane, consider installing one or more propane gas detectors.

Seven Safety Steps

If you think you smell propane in your home, camper, RV or the area around any gas equipment, or if a propane gas detector signals the presence of propane, you should follow these suggestions right away.

  • Extinguish all smoking materials and any other open flames or sources of ignition. Everyone should vacate the building, vehicle or area.
  • Move away without using any electric switches, appliances, thermostats or telephones (landlines or cell phones).
  • If it is safe to do so, close the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder.
  • Call Wilson Oil and Propane if you’re our customer and/or your local fire department from a mobile phone or a neighbor’s telephone from outside the house.
  • Even if you do not continue to smell propane, do not open or turn on the propane supply valve. Do not re-enter the building, vehicle or area. Let a qualified propane service technician from Wilson and/or emergency personnel check for escaped propane.
  • Have a properly trained propane service technician from Wilson repair the leak. The propane service technician or emergency responder needs to determine that the leak situation has been fully resolved. The propane service technician should check all of your gas appliances and relight any appliance pilots.
  • Return to the building, camper, RV or area only when the service or emergency technician indicates it is safe to do so.

Preventive maintenance

Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your Delaware Valley home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.

More safety tips

When appliances operate properly, propane burns with a blue flame. If you see yellow flames—or notice significant amounts of soot on any equipment–the gas may not be burning completely. This can create carbon monoxide. Contact us for service if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.

You should also regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. To prevent any damage, use a broom or a soft brush to gently remove any obstructions you find in your vents.

Propane: A Remarkably Safe Fuel

Propane has an enviable safety record due to the stringent codes and regulations developed by the propane industry in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Wilson Oil and Propane plays a large role as well. We make a sincere commitment to training so that our employees know precisely how to deliver fuel safely—and know what to do in case of a leak or other emergency.

We can visit your property at any time if you have safety concerns. It’s a good idea for you to schedule a service visit at least once a year so we can check all your propane tanks and appliances.

To learn more, please view the propane safety videos on this page.