What is Propane?
Propane (also called LPG—liquefied petroleum gas—or LP gas) is a widely used fuel. It is transported and stored as a very cold liquid, and can cause a “freeze burn” or frostbite if it contacts the skin. The liquid propane is turned into a gas inside a tank or a cylinder. In its natural form, propane is colorless and odorless. To make propane easier to detect in the event of a leak or spill, manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it a distinctive smell.Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials, electrical sparks, and static electricity.
How to Recognize the Smell of Propane
Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.
TAKE THE SNIFF TEST.
Teach everyone in your home or building what propane smells like. You can ask your propane retailer for a demonstration.
What Should I do if I smell Gas?
Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. If you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder valve. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).Immediately leave the area and call 911 or your local fire department. Before you restart the appliance, have a qualified service technician inspect your cylinder and appliance. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Consider purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.
Odor fade is an unintentional reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane, making it more difficult to smell. Although rare, this can be caused by the presence of air, water, or rust in the cylinder. New and reconditioned small cylinders that sit too long before being filled are prone to internal rust when moisture and air get inside.