Natural Gas Resources

Propane FAQ

Propane is blended with mercaptan, which makes propane vapors smell like rotten eggs. If you detect a gas leak (rotten eggs), leave the building as quickly as possible and make sure all others go with you.

Why would a propane tank leak?


Overfilled propane tanks can leak due to excessive pressure, even causing explosions. The proper fill level is typically 80%, and an overfilling prevention device (OPD) can help prevent this issue.

Corrosion and Wear and Tear

Propane tanks are designed to last 30 years, but wear and tear can occur within five years. Corrosion from moisture exposure can weaken the tank and valve, leading to potential leaks.

Improper Storage and Handling

Incorrect storage in damp or humid conditions can cause corrosion and potential leaks. Dropping or mishandling the tank can damage the valve, leading to leaks. Using the wrong tools when connecting or disconnecting the tank can damage the valve stem.

Open Bleeder Valve

An open bleeder valve during filling can cause gas leaks. Ensure the bleeder valve is completely closed by turning it clockwise to prevent further gas flow.

What are the signs of a leaking propane tank?

You smell rotten eggs

Propane gas has a distinct smell that is there to alert you of a leak

A hissing sound

When propane is leaking, it is likely you will hear a hissing sound coming from the valve

Frost or ice is forming on the tank

Frost or ice buildup on the propane cylinder can signal gas leakage due to pressure changes. Get professional inspection to assess for leaks and ensure safe tank use.

Are propane leaks dangerous?

YES, gas leaks pose two significant risks. First, the flammability of natural gas and propane means that when they accumulate and encounter an ignition source, like a phone, light switch, electrical appliance or pilot light, fires or explosions will result.

Secondly, gas leaks can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning with symptoms such as headaches, nausea and confusion. In severe cases, loss of consciousness or even death. It's essential to take gas leaks seriously and address them promptly to prevent injury or death.

Propane has a tendency to gravitate towards low-lying areas within a house, with the basement being a prime example. This arises because propane gas is denser than air, causing it to settle at lower elevations. 

If you suspect (smell) a gas leak, immediately exit the building or the area and call 9-1-1 and your gas utility company for a professional inspection.


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