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How Can I Tell If There Is a Propane Gas Leak in My Maryland Home?

Gas leak smell

Propane is one of the safest home energy sources around – but like any fuel, you have to know how to use propane equipment properly, and understand what to do if you have a propane problem.

When it comes to propane safety, the most important thing to remember is how to detect a leak, and what to do if you have one. A propane gas leak will smell like rotten eggs (propane itself is odorless, but manufacturers add an odorant to make a leak easy to detect). The first precaution in a house that uses propane appliances, therefore, is to makes sure everyone in the house can recognize this telltale odor.

If you smell a propane leak, take the following precautions immediately:

  • Avoid touching any equipment that could cause a spark (lights or light switches, appliances, telephones, cell phones, etc.); a spark can cause an explosion.
  • Get everyone out of your house and call 911 from a safe distance away.
  • If it is safe to do so, turn off the propane gas at the main tank; if you don’t know how to do this, contact a service provider – this is important information for the adults in your home to know.
  • Go back in your home only after inspectors say it’s safe to do so. Don’t use your propane equipment again until a professional inspects it.
  • Remember: if your propane system is turned off for any reason – including a leak – the law requires it to be professionally inspected and pressure-tested before it can be turned on again.

Three other things to keep in mind:

  1. As of last year, virtually all Maryland homes – including all rental units and newly constructed (post 2008) homes – are required to have carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas. Compliance with this law is mandatory; see this page for details.
  2. While they are not required by law, we urge you to also install propane detectors in your Maryland home; these inexpensive units add a failsafe in the event that something inhibits the rotten egg smell of the gas (rust inside your tank, for example, can reduce the strength of the rotten egg smell).
  3. Have your propane heating and fuel-burning home comfort equipment serviced every year – it will keep you safer, lower your monthly bills, and help your technician spot a small issue that can lead to a bigger and more dangerous problem down the road.

At Q-Dog, your safety is always our priority! If you have any propane safety questions, contact us any time!