Turning a propane tank gauge

Propane Leak Symptoms You Should Look Out For in Your Home or Business

While propane is among the safest and cleanest gases you can use, it’s still a concern whenever there’s a propane leak. The possibility of a fire, an explosion, and physical reactions to the gas are among the primary issues concerning a propane leak. 

But how do you know when/if there is such a leak? What are some propane leak symptoms? What are propane leak detection practices that could help find the source of the problem?

We’ll take a closer look at the signs you should look for as a homeowner or business owner when it comes to possible propane leaks. In addition, we’ll look at propane tank safety and other safety practices and standards you should be aware of as a propane consumer.

What Propane Does in Your Home

Propane can play several roles in your home. If you rely on propane as a source of energy, you should be aware that leaks can and do happen, just as they can with natural gas.

A malfunctioning appliance, a broken gas line, or a worn-out connector are a few common reasons that can result in a propane leak. Increased use and having a propane appliance for a long time could lead to some of these issues.

It’s important to know that propane gas is dense and heavier than oxygen. Being heavier than air, propane does not dissipate but settles in low areas. If you suspect a propane leak, check basements and crawl spaces for the distinct odor of propane.

A propane leak in your home could lead to health issues. If the leak is large, the gas will displace air, and breathing the propane gas could, at first, cause light-headedness and disorientation. Under extreme conditions, a significant propane leak could lead to vomiting, convulsions, coma, and even death.

Signs to Look For

What might you see or smell if you have a propane leak in your home or business? Are there other signs that might indicate a propane leak?

Sight Tests

Performing a sight test on a propane leak

Suspect you have a leak, but you’re not detecting a telltale odor? A simple test you can do is quick and easy: fill a spray bottle with a mixture of water and dish detergent and spray directly on gas lines and connectors. If the soapy water bubbles up, you’ve found your leak!

You can always check if the pilot light of your propane appliance is out; however, this is not always a sure sign of a propane leak. If the pilot light of your furnace or heater and your water heater are out, these appliances are equipped with a safety feature that closes the valves and does not allow propane to continue flowing.

However, your propane stove is likely not fitted with such a system. If the pilot light of the stove is out, there is a chance you could have a resulting propane leak.

If the propane leak is coming from the connection to your outdoor propane storage tank, take note of any bees or flies congregating around the tank. Both of these insects are drawn to the odor of propane.

Bad Smell

Propane itself does not have any odor at all. Thus, propane manufacturers are required by law to add an odorant to this gas for propane leak detection. The sulfur smell of propane gas can be compared to that of rotten eggs or a skunk. Now surely that is the type of odor that will immediately alert you to a propane leak!

Elevated Bill

“What’s this?” you ask your spouse. “Why has our gas bill increased so much?”

Before you start wondering if the family has been running the gas fireplace too long or taking extra-long hot showers, consider the fact that a slow leak over time can siphon your gas and make it look like it’s being consumed, but it’s not.

Perform the previous sight tests and check for that unmistakable odor if you notice your bill is higher and you’ve determined your usage has not increased.

Poor Performance

Do you notice that your gas pressure has fallen? Perhaps running two gas appliances simultaneously isn’t possible where it was once? Or that the flame of your grill or propane gas fireplace is smaller and weaker than usual?

These could be signs of a propane leak. Again, run the visual and/or smell tests to see if you can detect any leaks.

Safety Measures to Take

If you have a propane leak, there are safety measures you could and should take to avoid injury. Getting all family members out of the house or employees out of the building is a first.

Then, shut off the main gas valve. Under no circumstances should you light a match or flip an electrical switch, as open flames or a spark could ignite. Even using your phone is NOT recommended.

Call your propane gas supplier or, if they are not available, call 911. Stay out of the house or building until an emergency response team shows up.

When it comes to propane tank safety, you can first have your above- or underground storage tank installed by a professional from a propane supply company like Diversified Energy. It is never recommended that a home or business owner attempt to install a propane storage tank themselves. Professional installation ensures that all proper safety codes and standards are adhered to, plus trained technicians will always conduct leak tests.

Call Diversified Energy

If you live in North Carolina or near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, and are looking for a reliable, customer service-oriented propane retailer, call Diversified Energy.

With eight offices/showrooms throughout NC and one in Mount Joy, Diversified Energy is a leading propane company on the East Coast. Among their services are an automatic “watchdog” propane delivery system, GPS-equipped vehicles, storage tank leasing and installation, and the sales and installation of a wide range of propane products from leading manufacturers, such as Bradford White, Kozy Heat, Napoleon, and Rinnai.

Another notable feature of being a Diversified Energy customer is your access to the 24/7 emergency response of highly trained technicians who quickly come out in case of a propane leak at your home or business. With fast propane leak detection, Diversified professionals will have the leak identified and repaired in no time.

You can also rely on Diversified Energy to teach propane tank safety practices, starting with you setting up regular maintenance and inspections that will find and take care of potential problems that might lead to a propane leak down the road. Should any specific issues have led to a propane leak, such as water damage to a gas control or a damaged tank valve, you can count on Diversified Energy to replace any parts and run tests to ensure that the leak has been appropriately addressed.