Rotten eggs. It’s the smell most closely associated with propane. And if you’ve ever been close to a leak, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the noxious odor for yourself.
But what you may not know is propane itself is actually odorless in its natural state. The odor comes courtesy of an additive called Ethyl Mercaptan. It’s added to the propane, so you can detect a leak and react accordingly.
And that’s important, because a propane leak could cause deadly Co2 poisoning if left unchecked. So, if you do smell that telltale rotten scent, here’s what you should do.
- Leave the area immediately and get everyone out of the building.
- Shut off the gas. If it's safe to do so, turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank. Turn the valve clockwise - to the right - to close it.
- Report the leak. Call your propane retailer and 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s home or a nearby building away from the leak.
- Don’t return to the building or area until the authorities tell you it's safe.
- Get your system checked. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, make sure a professional checks your entire system to ensure it’s free of leaks.
Propane is perfectly safe if you follow your nose and act quickly in the event of a leak. For more safety information, watch this safety video.
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