Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.
- TAKE THE SNIFF TEST. Teach everyone in your home or building what propane smells like. You can find scratch and sniff examples in the Propane Safety brochures available for download on this page, by mail from Eastern, or you can ask us for a demonstration.
CAN YOU SMELL IT?
It may be hard for some people to smell propane for the following reasons:
- They have a cold, allergies, sinus congestion, or another medical condition.
- Their sense of smell is reduced due to use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
- Tobacco smoke, cooking odors, and other strong odors can mask the smell of propane.
- As people age, their sense of smell can become less sensitive.
- If the smell of propane is present in the air over a period of time, “odor fatigue” can occur. The nose “gets tired,” and a person no longer smells the propane odor.
- The propane smell may not be strong enough to wake up someone who is sleeping.
- The propane smell may be in a location (basement or attic) where it is not detected by people in other areas of the building.
- A phenomenon called “odor fade” can occur-an unintended reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane. This is explained in further detail in the Propane Safety brochures available for download on this page or by mail from Eastern.