Propane Smell in the House When the Tank is Low

Propane has become a necessity these days. It is now used for water heating, cooking, operating refrigerators, freezers, and as fuel forklifts, farm irrigation engines, fleet vehicles, and even buses. 

Propane is a naturally colorless and odorless gas. However, the propane manufacturing companies add a “Mercaptan” to give propane gas an irritating strong rotten egg smell.

The propane tank normally does not spread the strong rotten egg smell in the house unless the tank is low or leaked. It’s quite obvious how a leaked tank spread a rotten egg smell in the house. However, the other case is a bit different.

Why does propane smell when the tank is low?

Propane gas contains a few chemicals. One of these chemicals condenses out and collects as a liquid in the bottom. When the tank is low, the reduced pressure causes the odorant to evaporate and makes us smell a strong gas odor.

It’s normal, usually an indication that a tank is low

Since gas and petroleum products are required to be handled carefully. You should not relax knowing that the propane tank usually smells when it is low.  It’s “totally” normal as long as it smells like a rotten egg or decaying animal. However, the smell is annoying, can cause nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness. Keeping the minor health issues aside, the regular users find it better this way as it indicates that the tank is low. 

The smell may only bother you for a few hours if the tank is refilled immediately. Most propane users claim that it usually lasts around two hours.

What to do when the propane tank is low and spreading odor?

The chemical that causes the propane gas smell is not that harmful. No doubt, smelling propane for a few hours can only cause dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea. Still, we are required to take the following precautionary steps for our safety;

Avoid using anything that causes spark or electric charge

When you notice a gas odor, the first thing that you should be doing is avoid using anything that causes a spark. To be more specific, avoid lighters and mechanical devices like rotary telephones, light switches, doorbells, and thermostats.

Turn off the gas lines and valves

Gas lines and valves are the two sources where gas and smell come. Upon noticing the smell, you should shut the gas lines and valves immediately. It will prevent leakage and limit the smell as well. 

Open doors, windows, and leave the area

Though, smelling propane would not cause any serious health issues. Yet, it is recommended to open doors, windows immediately and leave the area for some time.

Inform the propane supplier and get a refill

Most propane suppliers suggest not to wait for the tank to get empty. It is better to get a refill when the tank is left with two pounds of fuel. So, when the gas odor begins spreading you need to inform the propane supplier and get a refill immediately.

Though the propane suppliers usually try their best to reach you in time. Yet if for any reason refilling staff is taking time, you need to be super alert.

High concentration can cause rapid heart rate, breathing, clumsiness, emotional upsets, and even fatigue. If one or more of the above-mentioned issues are noticed, you should rush out of the house and get yourself checked immediately. Learn How Much Does a 500-Gallon Propane Gas Last For a House?


In brief, propane gas spread a strong odor when the tank is low. It is usually an indication that you need a refill. When the smell begins spreading, avoid using anything that causes spark or electric charge, turn off the gas line and valves, open doors/windows, leave the area immediately, and contact the supplier for a refill.

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