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Facts about Propane

propane flame

Your safety and that of our employees are our most important concern!

Propane is a safe, reliable fuel. Like many other fuels, however, it is flammable. That means it can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Remember, in order to protect you, your family and others, you must be aware of (and respect) the normal, everyday hazards around you. Propane is no exception.

A Pressure Situation

The propane in your gas system is stored under pressure. While it's stored, there's no problem. But, in the unlikely event your system develops a leak (which can be caused by physical damage or deterioration), it can become dangerous.

Propane burns at an even rate when properly mixed with air, as in your stove or furnace. But, if a leak occurs, a flame or spark could ignite it. If that happens, it could cause a fire or even an explosion. Although such accidents are rare, we want you to be aware of this possibility.

Know Your Propane System

Your propane system has four basic parts:
1. A tank or cylinder, equipped with a main shutoff valve;
2. One or more regulators, designed to reduce pressure between the container and your appliance(s);
3. Gas piping, to carry the propane to your appliance(s); and
4. Gas appliance(s).

The tank or cylinder is where the propane is stored. It is equipped with a shutoff valve, which turns the gas "on" or "off". The regulator controls the gas pressure, while the gas piping carries the gas to your appliance(s).

It is important for you to know the location of the main shutoff valve on the tank or cylinder. Remember its location and become familiar with how to shut it off in an emergency situation.

How Do You Tell if There Is a Leak?

1. By smell. A disagreeable odor is added to the propane so that you will be able to detect the smell easily in case a leak develops or an unlit burner is left turned on.

2. Buy electronic gas alarm. If used, the gas alarm supplements a person's ability to detect a gas leak and sounds a warning when it detects the presence of unburned propane.

You should be aware that some persons have different thresholds of smell and cannot detect the odor of propane as readily as others. Also, sometimes people with a normal sense of smell temporarily lose their ability to detect odors because of illness, use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Also, cooking odors, tobacco smoke and aerosol and odor removing sprays can cover up other odors. In certain instances, the odorant in the propane may diminish or weaken, making it difficult for a person with a normal sense of smell to detect a gas leak. Be aware that being heavier than air, leaking propane may tend to settle near the floor while dissipating into the air.

Steps to Take if You Smell Gas

Never assume that the odor of gas is a sign that your tank is running low. If you smell gas in the house IMMEDIATELY follow these suggestions:


Extinguish all smoking materials and any other open flames or sources of ignition.

Get everyone outside and away from the building. Shut off the gas supply at the tank.

How to shut off gas supply

Call your Propane Supplier from a neighbor's phone. If you cannot reach your Propane Supplier, call the fire department.

Stay outside and leave the gas off until the leak has been found and fixed.


Turn light switches, appliances or thermostats on or off, and do not use the telephone. A spark from one of these could ignite the gas.

Light or try to re-light any appliances. Leave this job to your Propane Supplier.

Re-enter the building, until the problem has been corrected.

Additional Safety Tips

1. Keep combustibles, such as curtains, paper, cleaning fluids, etc., away from any energy source, including gas and electric appliances where they may cause a fire.

2. Have a B/C rated fire extinguisher readily available. Be sure it is charged and that you and your family know how to use it.

3. Gas appliances, like humans, need oxygen (air) to function properly.

4. If you smell gas near your tank or cylinder, call your Propane Supplier.

5. Use only listed propane appliances. Look for the seal from a nationally recognized independent testing laboratory.

6. Use gas grills outdoors only. Use or store propane cylinders outdoors only.

If You Run Out Of Gas

Letting your propane container run empty creates additional hazards. If you run out of gas and lose pressure in the system, a potentially hazardous condition can result. If you do run out of gas, follow these steps:

1. Turn off all control valves on all gas appliances.

2. Turn off the shutoff valve on the propane container(s).

3. Call your Propane Supplier to arrange for delivery, and advise them you are out of gas.

4. Don't turn the gas back on yourself. Let your Propane Supplier do it. When you schedule your fill, be sure it is for a time when you will be at home, so your Propane Supplier can relight and check your appliances and system to assure that they are operating properly and are leak free.

5. Immediately after your tank is refilled, have a service technician check to see that all safety controls are functioning properly and the piping system is leak free.


Safety information from the National Propane Gas Association. George Propane is a member of the NPGA.