Propane Safety FAQ

Dolan Oil Service is committed to the safety of all our customers. If you use propane in your home or business, please take a moment to review the following safety information.

What does propane smell like?

  • Propane has a smell similar to rotten eggs, skunk spray, or a dead animal.
  • Some people may have difficulty smelling it due to age, medical conditions, medications, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
  • ODOR LOSS: Rarely, there are times when propane loses its odor due to air, water, or rust in the propane tank/cylinder or the passage of leaking propane through soil.

What to Do If You Smell Gas:

  • Immediately put out all smoking materials and all other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks can trigger a fire or explosion.
  • Evacuate the building or area immediately.
  • If it’s safe, turn off the main supply valve on the propane tank (to do this, turn it clockwise).
  • Call Dolan Oil Service immediately, or call 911 if you are unable to reach us.
  • Stay out of the building until a qualified technician says it’s safe to return.
  • Before using your appliances again, check your propane system with Dolan Oil Service to make sure that it’s operating properly and is leak-free.

Propane Gas Detectors:

  • A propane gas detector gives you an extra level of security, which is important if your propane should lose its odor.
  • Always be sure to carefully follow manufacturer instructions during installation or maintenance.
  • Never ignore the smell of propane, even if your detector doesn’t sound an alarm.

Appliance Maintenance:

Be aware that only qualified service technicians have the expertise and training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair propane appliances. Before the heating season begins, have your appliances inspected by a professional.

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, which could result in serious property damage, injury, or death.


Carbon Monoxide:

CO is a gas that you cannot smell or taste but is very dangerous. A blocked venting system or appliances that are not operating correctly could result in high levels of carbon monoxide.

CO CAN BE DEADLY. High levels can cause dizziness, sickness, and in extreme cases brain damage or death. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea.

It is important to act immediately if you think CO is present! Here’s what to do:

  1. If a person presents the symptoms listed above, immediately get everyone out of the building and call 911 or the local fire department.
  2. If it’s safe, open windows to allow ventilation. Turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one is experiencing symptoms but you still suspect carbon monoxide may be present, call Dolan Oil Service to check CO levels and equipment.
  4. CO detectors can improve safety. Please consider installing a detector for an added measure of safety.

Reduce the risk of CO poisoning by:

  • Having your propane appliances, chimneys, flues, and vents inspected annually by a professional technician.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home or business.
  • Never use a gas oven/rangetop as a space heater.
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless specifically approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check the exhaust vents on your appliances for blockage.

Running Out of Gas:

Running out of gas can be a serious safety concern and could cause hazards such as fire or explosion.

Leaks can occur when the appliance valve or gas line is left open and the system is recharged with propane.

If your tank does run out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.

A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED by a certified technician before the gas can be turned on.


Lighting Pilot Lights:

A pilot light that repeatedly goes out or is very difficult to light could indicate a safety problem. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. We strongly recommend that only a qualified service technician light any pilot light that has gone out.

You risk fire or an explosion when you light the pilot yourself! You must carefully follow all manufacturer instructions and warnings before attempting to light the pilot.


Winter Weather Safety

Winter weather brings its own unique safety concerns. Dolan Oil Service is here to help make sure that your propane tank stays fully operational, even during a snowstorm. Here are some things you can do to help ensure system safety during inclement weather:

  • Maintain an adequate amount of propane in your tank in case deliveries are slowed or stopped due to severe weather.
  • Call Dolan Oil Service immediately if you do run out of propane, and have your system inspected for leaks before turning it back on.
  • Clear a path to your propane tank for your delivery driver.
  • Clear snow and ice from the area around your propane tank. Tip: Use a broom to avoid damaging your system. If your tank is underground, mark its location.

If you have a propane safety question or concern, please don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Dolan Oil Service.