What Does a Propane Leak Smell Like?

Written By: on April 3, 2023

Essential Propane Safety Tips Your Family Should Know

propane leak Flagstaff, az At Superior Propane Inc., we like to say that propane is a reliable energy source for everyone. Our propane delivery team serves homes and businesses in Flagstaff, Williams, Prescott, and nearby Northern Arizona communities.

Many customers have smaller tanks that fuel one or two propane appliances. Others have 500-gallon propane tanks for their heating and hot water.

Whatever your fuel usage, we are committed to ensuring that you have the propane you need to live your life, but we also want to guarantee that you know what to do if there is ever a propane leak.

Propane Is Designed to Smell Bad

When propane is separated during the natural gas extract and oil refining processes, it has no natural odor. But propane producers want to ensure that homeowners and businesses can quickly identify a propane leak. So, they add a gas called ethyl mercaptan or methanethiol. This additive is composed of carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur.

People describe the smell as like rotten eggs, spoiled meat, or skunk spray. If you have a sense of smell, you’ll notice this odor immediately.

How To Respond to the Smell of Propane

If you smell propane, there could be a leak in the immediate area. You need to react immediately and follow these steps:

  1. Evacuate the house, building, or affected area immediately.
  2. Extinguish any flames, cigarettes, cigars, or other ignition sources.
  3. Don’t touch any light switches, telephones, or thermostats in the affected area, as they can produce a spark.
  4. Close your home’s propane shutoff valve if it is safe to do so.
  5. Once everyone is clear of the area where you smelled gas, call emergency services and your propane company on a neighbor’s phone or your cell phone.
  6. Stay away from the affected area and keep the gas shut off—even if you no longer smell propane.
  7. Allow propane service technicians and/or emergency personnel time to check for a propane leak, repair any issues and ensure the area is safe.
  8. The propane service technician will inspect all gas appliances and relight all pilots. Only then will they give you the all-clear to return.

Be Better Prepared in Case of a Propane Leak

Here are some simple precautionary measures that will prepare you and your loved ones for the possibility of a propane leak.

You can also check out these propane safety videos from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) right on our website!

Are you in need of a propane company that takes your family’s comfort and safety to heart? Become a Superior Propane Inc. customer today and let us show you the difference we can make.