Check Your Propane Gas Appliance Lines Before Gas Leaks Pose a Threat

Posted by Chris Kauffman
| June 2017

It seems natural to think propane leaks are issues your propane service provider should handle when they perform routine maintenance. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if you rely solely on your service provider and don’t take precautionary measures to check your propane gas lines.

The most important appliance lines to check are ones connected to frequently used appliances drawing from the pilot light, such as:

  • Stoves
  • Water heaters
  • Clothes dryers

It’s important you check your propane lines whenever you experience a service interruption for the safety of your home and the people in it. You can never be too safe checking the propane gas lines hooked to your propane appliances.

Kauffman Gas Resource: Propane Gas vs. Electric Efficiency for Clothes Dryers

Be aware of the dangers of propane gas leaks

Leaking propane can poison the people in your home

When you leave propane gas leaks unattended, the gas can fill your home and can pose a serious threat to anyone in the house. A person who breathes in too many propane fumes can contract propane poisoning, which is a very serious condition. A person with propane poisoning will have the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • And many more...

Propane poisoning requires urgent care and if not treated properly you or the person affected could die. Though propane gas burns clean and is safe when contained in a tank, it can still be harmful to humans.

Leaking propane can combust in your home

Propane leaks can do more harm to people than poisoning. Propane gas leaks can release large quantities of flammable vapor into your home, which can ignite unexpectedly, enough to cause a fire or explosion.

It can burst into flames if exposed to many common ignition sources, such as:

  • Electric air conditioners
  • Cigarettes or matches
  • Pilot lights

Check your gas lines for propane leaks

Do-it-yourself propane gas line checks are not recommended on a regular basis or as a replacement to routine checks by your propane provider. But if you suspect a leak and have yet to confirm it, it’s better to find out as soon as possible rather than wait until you need to place an emergency call to your propane provider (or the emergency room).

One sure sign your gas lines leaking is the sulfuric smell propane emits. Other easy to spot warning signs are:

  • You can’t light or keep your pilot lit
  • Your burner flames aren’t blue
  • Your water heater isn’t working

There are a few ways to test your propane lines to confirm you have a propane leak after these types of service interruptions arise.

Listen for a hissing sound

When checking the propane gas lines connected to your appliances, always listen for noise. Specifically a hissing sound. A hissing noise around a gas line means propane is leaking.

You do not need to investigate further if the leak is audible. You should immediately follow the safety protocols below and contact a professional to fix the issue.

Use soapy water to spot gas leaks

Mix water and a small amount of detergent and paint the solution over the gas lines with a brush. A leak will produce bubbles as it seeps out. Though there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to spot all leaks using this technique, know that any bubbling is enough evidence for a leak.

Follow safety protocols and have a professional fix the leak

Do not take any further remediation once you detect a propane gas leak. Do-it-yourself gas line maintenance can be very hazardous if you mishandle or damage the gas line in the process. When you detect a leak:

  • Put out any flames or sparks
  • Shut off the propane gas valve on your tank
  • Leave the area immediately
  • Report the gas leak

Have your propane company handle patching up the leak or replacing the gas line. A professional gas line inspection for your appliances will uncover any problems with the gas line or your appliances and will help you prevent future gas leaks.

New propane hot water heater installation by Kauffman Gas

Chris Kauffman

About the Author

Chris Kauffman

Chris is the Vice President of Kauffman Gas. He is the fourth generation of Kauffmans involved in the daily operations of Kauffman Gas. He helps lead the team in delivering propane gas and top quality service to customers in Chester County, Lancaster County and parts of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.