Problem: Natural gas or propane gas smell is detected in home, or in particular area of appliances.
Background: An odorant is added to natural gas and propane gas to alert people of its presence. Gas build-up can be extremely dangerous and should be taken very seriously. Gas leaks, which can result from a number of causes, can produce tremendous explosions, so it is wise to be overly cautious.
What to do: If you smell a strong gas odor upon returning to your home, do not enter. Call for help from a neighbor’s phone. If you smell gas within any area of your home, do not try to light any appliance. If faint gas odor is detected, put out any smoking materials, don’t turn on any light switches, don’t use any phone in the home. Shut off any valves to appliances suspected of leaking the gas, then call a technician. However, if you are in doubt or if the gas odor is strong, leave the home immediately, call your gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone, and follow their instructions. If you can’t reach the gas supplier, call the fire department or 911.
Special advice: Liquid propane (LP) gas is heavier than air. If there is a leak in a propane system, the gas will settle near the floor. Basements, crawl spaces, skirted areas under mobile homes (even when ventilated), closets, and areas below ground level, can serve as pockets for accumulated gas. Before at tempting to light or relight a pilot light, or turning on a nearby electrical switch, be absolutely sure there is no accumulated propane gas in the area by sniffing at floor level in the vicinity of any appliance.
Helpful hint: Be especially cautious about gas leaks whenever new gas appliances have been installed. Check all gas pipes and fittings for leaks with a soapy water solution. Before lighting any newly installed appliance, factory fittings on appliances should be checked by a qualified technician.