We at Haskins Gas Service want to make sure our customers know how safe of a fuel propane can be when used properly. It’s also important to us to make sure we are doing everything we can to educate homeowners about the use and storage of propane, so you enjoy all of the fuel’s benefits while keeping your home and family safe.
Important Safety Information about Propane
We’ve answered some of the most common and most important safety-related questions we receive about propane heating below.
What does propane smell like?
Propane smells like rotten eggs, skunk spray, or dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling it due to age, medical conditions, medications, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Please be aware that propane can lose its odor on rare occasions; this can happen due to the passage of leaking propane through soil, or the occurrence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank/cylinder.
What should I do if I smell gas in my home?
Put out all smoking materials and any other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones, as flames or sparks can trigger an explosion or fire.
Evacuate the area that you suspect the gas is leaking from immediately.
Turn off the main supply valve on the propane tank (clockwise).
Call Haskins Gas Service immediately from the nearest home, or call 911 if we cannot be reached immediately.
Do not return to the building until a qualified technician says it’s safe to do so.
Ask a trained Haskins Gas Service staff member to check your propane system to ensure it is leak-free.
Are there detectors for propane gas, similar to carbon monoxide detectors?
Yes, there are. Propane gas detectors provide an extra measure of security, which is important in the event of odorless propane. Buy only units listed by Underwriters Laboratories® (UL), and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation and maintenance. Never ignore the smell of propane, even if your detector doesn’t sound.
Can I repair my own propane gas heating equipment?
Only qualified service technicians have the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair propane appliances. Have them inspected before the beginning of the heating season. Do not attempt to modify or repair valves, regulators, connectors, controls, or other appliance/cylinder/tank parts. This increases the risk of a gas leak, resulting in property damage, injury, or death.
What should I do if I run out of gas?
Running out of gas can cause serious safety hazards, including fire or explosion! If an appliance valve or gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane. If your propane storage tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous. To avoid this hazard, make sure your propane tank always has fuel in it; this can be achieved easily with our automatic propane fuel delivery option.
Carbon Monoxide and Your Safety
Carbon monoxide (CO) is something you cannot taste or smell but is very dangerous. High levels come from appliances that are not operating correctly or from a blocked venting system or chimney. Carbon monoxide can be deadly. High levels can make you sick or dizzy and, in extreme cases, can cause brain damage or death. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Do you suspect CO is present?
If anyone presents the symptoms listed above, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or the local fire department.
If it’s safe, open windows to allow ventilation. Turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
If no one is experiencing symptoms, but you still suspect CO is present, call Haskins Gas Service to check CO levels and equipment.
CO detectors can improve safety. Please consider installing a detector for an added measure of safety.
How to reduce the risk of CO presence in your home:
Have a qualified technician check your propane appliance and venting system annually
Install UL-listed CO detectors on every floor
Never use a gas oven/range-top as a heater
Never use portable heaters indoors unless approved for indoor use
Never use a barbecue grill indoors for cooking or heating
Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage