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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!