Can You Smell It? | Sheehan's Gas Company

Can You Smell It?

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.

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 loss” can occur—an unintended   reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane.


What is Odorloss?

On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause this including:

• Air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder can reduce     propane odor concentration.
• The propane odor may stick to the inside surfaces of gas     piping and distribution systems and possibly other materials.

• If the propane is leaking underground, its passage through     soil may reduce the smell of propane.
• Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with       your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to       even a faint odor of gas.

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED that you or others in your home may have difficulty smelling propane, consider buying one or more propane gas detectors.