How To Detect a Propane Leak

propane leak Kingsport, tnPropane leaks are rare, but they can happen. They can be caused by a runout or near-runout, when pressure changes in lines cause joint compound at connections to contract, or by incorrectly installed equipment, among other things.

Propane is a clean-burning and safe way to heat your home and water, and run many appliances. But propane is a highly flammable gas under certain conditions. As with any fuel, there are certain steps to take to ensure you and your home are safe and comfortable.

Knowing what to do if you smell gas can help ensure the situation is resolved safely and quickly.

Here’s what you need to know if you suspect a propane leak:

How to Recognize a Leak

Propane has a distinct rotten-egg smell to help you quickly notice leaking gas. Make sure everyone in your home can recognize the odor. If you smell gas:

  • Leave the area immediately
  • Avoid all flames or sparks—including lights, appliances, phones or cell phones—which could ignite the gas and trigger an explosion
  • If you can, shut off the gas at the main valve on your tank—turn the valve clockwise
  • Call us, or 911 from a safe area.
  • Stay away until help arrives

Propane Safety Dos and Don’ts

  • Don’t store cleaning fluids and flammable substances near your propane tanks.
  • Do clean furnace filters regularly.
  • Don’t let your tanks hit empty. The loss of pressure can lead to a variety of problems and will require pressure tests before refilling.
  • Do set up automatic delivery to avoid running out of gas.
  • Don’t attempt to relight a pilot light if you smell gas. If you do relight a pilot light yourself, follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly.
  • Do call us if a pilot light goes out frequently.
  • Do let us know if flames are yellow or you notice a significant amount of soot. Gas flames should be mainly blue when burning correctly.

When & How to Shut Off Your Tank

Under certain conditions, you may need to turn off your gas at the tank. It’s not hard—but it’s important to familiarize yourself with your tank so you know what to do when it’s an emergency.

  • Know where the shutoff valve is. You tank should have a large round lid with a hinge. When you lift the lid, you should see the gauge and a round knob that looks like a small steering wheel. That’s your shutoff valve.
  • To stop the flow of propane, turn the knob all the way to the right, or clockwise. If you have more than one tank, turn them all off.

When to turn off your propane:

  • If you smell gas and suspect a leak, turn off the gas at the tank (if it’s safe to do so) and stay outside and away. Call 911 and Midway once you are away from the building.
  • If there has been severe weather, flooding, or a natural disaster and your tank appears to have moved, or if there appears to be damage to the tank or the gas lines. Once you’ve turned off the gas, move away from the area, then call Midway or 911.

If it feels unsafe to turn off the gas, first move a safe distance away and outside and then call for help.

Once you’ve turned off your propane, do not go back in the house until a certified technician has confirmed that it’s safe. Also, never turn the propane back on yourself. Turning the gas off changes the pressure in the lines, which can cause the seals around pipe fittings to contract and create a leak. A professional propane technician needs to perform a leak test to check the integrity of these joints and seals. Pressure tests are required by state and federal law, as well as insurance rules.

Safety First and Always

Your safety is important to us! All our technicians are trained and certified to provide safe propane delivery and services. If you have any questions about this information or any other propane safety issues, contact us.