LPG Safety – If you smell it, switch it off!

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LPG Cylinders

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a convenient, affordable and safe Australian fuel. Gas bottles are tested and inspected to make sure they’re safe to use. Suppliers make LPG smell as an extra precaution, to help people detect gas in the event of a leak. The smell is a strong and disagreeable odor that resembles rotten eggs.

If you smell gas, you should switch off your gas bottle immediately as LPG is flammable. Sometimes gas can lose its smell so it’s important that you use common sense when using LPG and don’t rely on your sense of smell alone to warn you of leaking gas. The loss of smell is known as odorant fade. Suppliers follow strict procedures to lessen the chances of odorant fade occurring. You can also help to prevent odorant fade by using and storing your LPG cylinders correctly.

Click on the drop down boxes below to find out more.

Should I get a gas detector at home?

If you know that you can’t smell gas, believe you have problems with your sense of smell, or would simply like an extra layer of protection, you should consider installing a gas detector.

Gas detectors sound an alarm when gas is detected, much like a smoke alarm.

Contact your LPG supplier for more information.

Who do I contact if I want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about LPG safety, get in touch with your LPG supplier or contact Gas Energy Australia on +61 2 6176 3100, or at mail@gasenergyaustralia.asn.au.

Why do we make LPG Stink?

Odour is added to LPG because it is naturally colourless, odourless and is also flammable. This helps make LPG easier to detect should there be a leak.

The unpleasant ‘rotten eggs’ smell associated with LPG is achieved by suppliers adding Ethyl Mercaptan to LPG.

While this odorant usually produces a distinctive smell, not everyone can smell it. Some people cannot smell this odour at all, due to illness or continued exposure to the smell.

LPG can also lose its smell altogether. This is known as odorant fade.

Will I always be able to smell LPG?

Some people cannot smell the odorant added to LPG, either due to illness or continued exposure to the smell.

LPG can also lose its smell altogether. This is known as odorant fade. It’s caused by adsorption, absorption and oxidation.

Adsorption involves the odour ‘sticking’ to the inside steel walls of the gas bottle.

Absorption refers to the odour being absorbed by another substance such as water.

Oxidation occurs when the inside of a gas bottle is exposed to air, causing a chemical reaction which can result in LPG losing its smell.

No odorant can provide an absolute guarantee of no odorant fade.

What does the industry do to help keep the smell in LPG?

Australia’s LPG suppliers follow strict procedures to lessen the chances of adsorption, absorption and oxidation occurring and potentially causing odorant to fade.

This includes:

• making sure the correct amount of odorant is added to LPG;
• monitoring the levels of odorant throughout the supply chain;
• conditioning cylinders; and,
• making sure storage tanks and cylinders are clean and purged of air and other substances prior to use.

What can I do to help keep the smell in LPG?

People who use LPG can also help prevent LPG from losing its smell, and maximise safety, by storing and using LPG cylinders correctly.

• Always turn your LPG cylinder off when it’s not in use. Do not leave your gas bottle valve open, even when you have run out of gas. This allows air to enter the cylinder and could cause oxidation to occur;

• Do not store your LPG bottle indoors or in an enclosed space. In the rare event of a leak, LPG could pool without being detected and pose a fire hazard;

• Only use LPG cylinders, fittings and hoses from reputable suppliers; and,

• Do not use damaged LPG cylinders, fittings or hoses, or try to repair them yourself.

An easy way to check if your gas bottle is leaking is to perform a soapy water leak test on the gas bottle connection. If bubbles appear where the soapy water is applied to the connection, you should turn off your gas bottle immediately and have it inspected before any future use.

Watch the video below to learn more about gas bottle safety.