Knowing how to detect a gas leak is essential for the safety use of propane tanks. Propane tanks are used in various household purposes such as heating the water for your shower and for cooking your food. Propane tanks are preferred over electric heaters since using a propane tank is more economical and energy efficient. However, if propane tanks are not handled and stored properly, it could lead to explosive results. Learning how to detect a gas leak is your first line of defense against the dangers posed in using propane gas.
There are two measures that you can do to prevent propane gas accidents. The first is the active prevention measure where you check the propane tanks and tubing and make sure that there are no leaks prior to installing a propane tank for the first time. The second is the constant monitoring for signs of a gas leak. Propane gas is normally odorless and very hard to detect. However, an odorant that smells like a rotten egg is added in the propane gas and once you smell this odor, you have to immediately take preventive measures.
Below are a number of ways to detect a gas leak.
1. Homemade Detector Solution
This is the simplest way to detect a gas leak. Fill in a spray bottle with water mixed with dishwashing soap. Spray the solution into the rubber tubing that connects the propane tank and the household appliance. Cover the entire tubing with the soap solution including the area where the rubber tubing and the propane tank inlet meets. Once you detect bubbles forming on the rubber tubing and the tank inlet, replace your rubber tubing with a new one and attach the rubber tubing more securely into the propane tank. If you do not have a spray bottle you can apply the soap solution on the rubber tubing and the tank inlet using a clean washcloth.
2. Electronic Gas Leak Detector
An electronic gas leak detector is a special device that is used to detect abnormal concentrations of propane gas in the air. Once the electronic gas detector senses the presence of propane gas, it automatically triggers an alarm informing you of a gas leak. Electronic gas leak detectors cost from $40 to $100 and are available at your local home improvement depot.
3. Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is one of the major components of propane gas. Carbon monoxide is odorless in nature and only by adding an odorant on the propane gas will you able to smell the presence of propane. A carbon monoxide detector works by monitoring the presence of carbon monoxide in the air much like the electronic gas leak detector. There are portable carbon monoxide detectors that you can purchase at any home improvement depot.
Other Safety Measures
Propane gas is a highly flammable type of gas. A leaking propane tank is a serious matter and you need to immediately act in order to prevent your propane gas tank from exploding. Once you detect the smell of the ‘rotten egg’ odorant or one of your gas leak detectors triggers an alarm, turn off the valve of the propane tank immediately. Open all of your doors and windows and do not turn on a light switch or start any source of flame that the propane gas can catch. Call your local fire department immediately and run outdoors to wait for help.