One of the reasons for propane’s overwhelming popularity is because it’s among the safest fuel choices – yes, really! In fact, among all alternative fuel sources, propane has the lowest flammability rating. It won’t ignite until the air temperature reaches 950°F – compare that to about 430° – 500°F for gasoline.
Still, if you use propane at home, it’s important to know what to do in case of a suspected leak. Read on for our top propane safety tips.
Leave Maintenance to the Professionals
Any modifications or repairs to your propane system or propane appliances should be performed by a qualified technician. Never tamper with your supply lines, safety devices, or storage tank fittings. In addition, your home’s system should be professionally inspected at the start of each heating season.
Attempting to modify or maintain your propane system or appliances yourself can result in dangerous leaks.
Smelling a Leak
Propane is naturally odorless, but manufacturers add an odorant to it so that leaks can be detected. You will recognize the strong, unpleasant smell of propane as that of rotten eggs. Make sure that all members of your household know that this smell is associated with a potentially dangerous propane leak.
Evacuate Quickly and Safely
If you do smell propane, don’t attempt to find the source of the leak yourself. Immediately put out any candles, cigarettes, or other open flames, and then evacuate all people and pets from the home. Do not turn any light switches or appliances on or off while on the way out.
Because leaked propane will sink to the lowest possible point, it’s also crucial that you avoid the lowest level of your home – in most cases, the basement – when a leak is suspected.
Call for Help
Once you are a safe distance from the home, call your propane supplier for assistance detecting the leak. If you cannot reach your propane supplier, call the fire department or 911. Make this call from a neighbor’s house or a nearby building – not from inside the home. Don’t return back to the home until your system has been inspected by your propane retailer or other qualified technician.
Following these simple tips can ensure that your propane system and propane appliances run safely and efficiently for years to come, keeping your home and family safe. For more information on propane safety, check out our tips for safe grilling ›