Propane Safety

You’ll see convenience and cost-effective savings with propane.

That’s why millions of homes, farms and businesses choose it
 for heating, water heating, motor fuel and other uses.
And, as a valued customer, we want you to know how to
properly use propane. It’s a flammable fuel that may explode if
not properly handled.

For your safety, propane has an odor added so you can detect leaks.

You and each member of your household must know the smell
 of propane. Ask your serviceman for a scratch and sniff
 brochure to demonstrate the odor. If anyone in your household
 is unable to recognize the odor of propane, call us immediately.

A note on odor fade.

The odorant in propane can fade under certain conditions (i.e.
leaching through soil). If you suspect a leak and do not smell
 gas – follow the same procedure for a leak with odor.

Gas detectors.

Gas detectors will detect gas with or without odorant. Call us 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.

How to check for a propane leak.

Carefully smell at floor level and in low spots- Remember that propane is heavier than air, and will collect at the floor level.

If you smell gas:

  1. Put out all smoking materials and any other open flames.

  2. Do not operate any appliances, switches or thermostats.

  3. Get everyone outside and away from gas equipment.

  4. Shut off the gas supply, using the shut-off valve at the tank
or cylinder.

  5. Call your propane supplier – use your neighbor’s phone – if
 gas smell is in the house.

  6. Stay outside and leave the gas off until the leak has been
found and fixed.

A note on relighting your pilots.

We recommend that you call a qualified technician to relight 
pilots. However if you relight the pilots yourself:

  • Turn all gas controls to the “OFF” position.

  • Slowly open the tank shut-off valve.

  • Carefully smell for the presence of propane at floor level and
 in low spots before attempting to relight the pilots.
  • If gas is detected- STOP – See “What To Do If You Smell
 Gas” above.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for pilot lighting.

Your propane system and appliances have built-in safety features.

To help 
keep these features working:

  • Don’t allow unqualified personnel to service your propane
system or appliance.
  • Don’t tamper with gas controls on appliances.
  • Have wet or flooded appliances and controls serviced
  • Some suggest that propane odor can fade or be covered up
by other strong odors. Do not light pilot lights in areas where 
there are strong odors- completely ventilate the area first.
  • Repeated pilot outages could indicate a hazardous condition. Don’t attempt to relight the pilot- call your serviceman.
  • Have your appliances and propane system periodically
 checked by a qualified technician for proper operation and
  • Understand that improperly vented appliances can cause
carbon monoxide poisoning as indicated by sharp odors,
 eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, or excessive moisture buildup on the inside of windows- ventilate 
immediately and call a qualified gas appliance repair 

Run out of gas?

Running out of propane in your residential tank can be a dangerous situation if not handled properly. If you do find yourself out of gas, follow these steps:

  • Close all valves, the valve on the tank as well as all the valves to your gas appliances.

  • Call your propane dealer to arrange for refueling and be sure to inform them that your tank ran out of gas.

  • Schedule the delivery when an adult will be at home, so the delivery person can safety-check the gas system and re-light the pilots. Don’t attempt to turn the gas on or re-light pilots yourself.

  • Note: The safest method for propane delivery is to never run out of gas. Most tanks will have a gauge that measures the amount of propane remaining. Discuss with your propane dealer methods to keep your system fueled at all times.

Identifying a leak.

Always be sensitive to even the slightest gas smell. If you smell propane, no matter how strong or weak the smell, treat it as a serious gas leak. Some warning signs that may indicate a gas leak has occurred are:

  • When the smell of gas lasts more than an instant after igniting stovetop burners.

  • When the presence of a foul odor persists and you cannot find the reason.

  • When you hear a hissing noise near a gas appliance, piping, or storage tanks and cylinders.

The smell of Propane.

Learn to recognize the odor of propane gas. Because propane gas in its natural state is both colorless and odorless, a distinctive odorant (ethyl mercaptan) is added for the purpose of detecting its presence. To become familiar with the smell of propane (similar to sulfur, or rotten eggs), feel free to contact us for a scratch and sniff brochure. Click here to email us.

Why you may not smell a leak.

Under some of the following conditions, you may not smell a gas leak, so we recommend you install a gas detector in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Some people (especially the elderly) are unable to detect the smell of gas.
  • Colds, allergies, sinus congestion, and the use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, may diminish your sense of smell.
  • Cooking odors or other strong odors can cover up the smell of gas
  • On rare occasions, propane gas may lose its distinctive odor, this is called ‘odor fade.’ Air, water, and rust in a propane tank or cylinder may weaken the gas odor, especially if the valves were left open after the container has been emptied.
*Sometimes propane gas can lose its odor if a leak occurs underground.

Take the situation very seriously. If you smell gas in your house, RV, workplace, or around any gas equipment or appliance you should:

  • Put out all smoking materials and other open flames immediately.
  • Any spark or flame in the area where propane gas is present may ignite the gas. This could include the spark of a light switch, telephone, fan, or refrigerator motor, and even static electricity from walking across a room or flame from a burner, pilot light or cigarette lighter.
  • Do NOT operate electric switches.
  • Do NOT light matches.
  • Do NOT use your phone.

  • Immediately get everyone out of the building, vehicle, camper, or area.
  • Close all supply valves on gas tank or cylinder.

  • Use your neighbor’s phone to call a trained propane service person and the fire department.
  • Do NOT re-enter the building, vehicle, camper, or area until a trained service person or the fire department advises it is safe to return.
  • Let the trained propane service person or firefighters check for escaped gas. Have them air out the area before you return.

  • Have the trained propane service person:
    • Repair the leak.
    • Pressure check the system.
    • Turn on the gas.
    • Check all the gas appliances.
    • Re-light the pilots on the appliances.

  • Re-enter the area only when the trained service person or firefighters say it is safe.

Our safety program.

Here at Global Propane we strive to provide the best possible energy service to our customers. Because we feel that safety is ‘Number 1’, we have established a safety program to help educate and distribute important safety information about propane to each of our customers. Each safety mailing includes a safety pamphlet ‘Propane Users Safety Guide’ and a copy of our Out-of-Gas Policy. The safety guide has a scratch and sniff area inside, so that all members of the family can become familiar with and be able to detect the smell of propane. Also, the back of our propane delivery tickets contains additional safety information. In addition, we do periodic pressure and leak tests on all of our tanks to ensure they are maintained and in good working order.