Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: July 21, 2023

As a professional chef and grilling enthusiast with over 15 years of experience, I have gained extensive knowledge of propane tanks and grill safety.

In this article, I will guide you through the steps to detect, repair, and prevent propane tank leaks and provide valuable safety tips to keep you and your family safe while grilling.

Quick Summary

  • A leaking propane tank can pose a serious safety risk and should be addressed immediately.
  • Shut off the leaking propane tank valve and move to a safe location if you suspect a leak.
  • Repair the leak by replacing the faulty valve, tightening connections, or seeking professional help.

4 Steps to Take When Your Propane Tank Is Leaking

stopping propane gas from leaking

If you suspect you have a leaking propane tank, your top priority should always be safety.

Follow these steps to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe.

1. Turn Off the Grill and the Tank Valve

The first thing you should do when you detect a propane leak is to turn off the grill and the main gas supply valve.

This will stop the flow of propane and reduce the risk of fire or explosion.

To turn off the grill:

  1. Turn the control knobs or valve on the grill to the "off" position.
  2. Slowly turn off the main gas supply valve by turning the valve clockwise until it's tight.
  3. If you're unsure which direction to turn the valve handle, look for the arrow on the valve. The arrow should point in the direction you need to turn the main gas supply valve to shut it off.

2. Move Others to a Safe Location

If you smell gas or suspect a leak, quickly move anyone not needed to assist you away from the immediate area.

Find a safe distance from the propane tank and any potential igniters.

3. Remove All Potential Ignition Sources

Propane gas tank

Removing all potential ignition sources is important once you've turned off the grill and the tank valve.

This includes anything that could spark the slightest flame, such as cigarettes, lighters, matches, or electrical appliances.

If you're grilling near your house, turn off all electrical appliances and avoid using light switches or doorbells until the leak is fixed.

It's also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby. You should call the fire department or emergency services if a fire starts.

4. Move the Tank to a Safe Place

After turning off the grill and the tank valve and removing the potential igniter sources, move the propane tank to a safe place.

This should be a well-ventilated area away from hot objects or flammable materials, such as wood or paper.

If the leak is severe, moving the tank as far away from the grill as possible is best.

If you're unsure that you can move the propane tank safely, ask for help from a friend or neighbor.

Determining the Location of the Leak

Top image of a propane gas tank

Determining the location of the leak is a crucial step in addressing the issue and preventing further damage or potential hazards.

1. Check the Connections

The first thing you should do is make sure the connections between the propane tank and the grill are tight and secure.

If you notice any loose connections, tighten the screws with a head screwdriver.

You can also use a solution of dishwashing liquid and water to check for a leaky propane tank.

Apply soapy water to the cylinder valve, connections, and hoses, and look for bubbles. Then, slowly open the cylinder valve.

If you see bubbles coming from the propane tank valve, gas is escaping from the linkage. You can also use a special leak detector solution for this.

2. Check the Hose

The hose that connects the propane tank to the grill can also be a source of leaks. Again, using soapy water can help you find leaks.

Check the hose for any cracks or damage. If you notice any damage, replace the hose immediately.

You should also check the hose for any kinks or bends. A kinked or bent hose can restrict the flow of propane gas, which can cause the container to leak.

3. Check the Tank

Propane gas tank

If you have checked the connections and the hose and still cannot locate the leak, the next step is to check the tank.

Look for any signs of damage, such as dents or cracks.

You should also examine the regulator outlet for an open bleeder valve.

If you notice anything unusual, replace the tank immediately.

Also Read: Gas Grill Regulator Problems

4. Use a Gas Leak Detector

You can use a gas leak detector if you cannot locate the leak. These devices are designed to detect the presence of propane gas in the air.

They emit a loud noise or flash a light when more propane gas is detected [1]. You can purchase a gas leak detector at most hardware stores.

Repairing the Leak

blue propane gas tanks

If you have experience and feel confident in your abilities, you can attempt to repair a minor propane tank leak. However, it's essential to prioritize safety and exercise caution.

Here's a general guideline for fixing the leak:

  1. Ensure a safe environment: Repair the leak in an open and well-ventilated area, away from flames, heat sources, or potential igniters.
  2. Clean the area: Use warm water and dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle to clean the affected area of the propane tank. This will help you detect any additional propane gas leaks or pinpoint the source of the problem.
  3. Tighten connections: Using a pipe wrench or an appropriate tool, gently tighten any loose connections on the propane tank, including valves and hoses. Be careful not to overtighten, as it may damage the components.
  4. Replace faulty parts: If you identify a specific faulty valve stem or connector causing the leak, it's best to replace it. Contact your propane supplier or a professional for the necessary parts and guidance.

When to Seek Professional Help?

Gas tank repairman

Not all propane tank leaks can be safely repaired by individuals without professional expertise.

Knowing when to seek assistance from your local fire department or propane supplier is crucial.

Consider the following scenarios:

  1. Major propane gas leaks: If you encounter a major propane tank leak characterized by a strong smell of gas, a powerful hissing sound, or visible damage to the container or its cylinder valve, it's best to leave the area immediately and call a professional.
  2. Unable to identify the source: If you cannot identify the basis of the leak or repair it, it is best to call a propane supplier for professional help.
  3. Lack of experience: If you feel unsure about repairing the leak or lack experience handling propane systems, it's always wise to seek a local propane dealer for assistance. Let a professional determine how to handle the situation.

3 Signs of a Leaking Propane Grill Tank

Propane gas leaking

It's important to know the signs indicating a leaking propane grill tank:

1. Gas Odor

One of the most obvious signs of a propane gas leak is the smell of gas. You cannot smell propane gas, but propane manufacturers add an ethyl mercaptan chemical to give it a bad odor.

This is often described as a rotten egg smell or skunk spray.

2. Hissing Sound

Another sign of a propane gas leak is a hissing sound coming from the tank or grill. This sound is caused by the gas escaping from the vessel or grill at a high rate of speed.

Acting quickly is critical if you hear this noise from your propane tank or grill.

3. Frost on the Tank

If you notice frost on your propane tank, it could indicate a propane leak. When propane gas escapes from a container, it expands rapidly and cools quickly.

This can cause the vessel to frost over. If you see frost on your propane tank, taking immediate action is important.

"Propane is naturally odorless and nontoxic, so processors add a chemical odorant called ethyl mercaptan to help users detect leaks. If employees get a whiff of rotten eggs, you likely have a leak."

- Propane Education & Research Council

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Preventive Maintenance

Propane gas leaking check

To prevent propane leaks from occurring in the first place, it is important to perform regular preventive maintenance on your propane tank.

Here are some tips for keeping your propane tank in good working order:

  1. Check your propane tank regularly: Inspect your propane tank periodically for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  2. Avoid overfilling your propane tank: Never fill your propane tank above 80% capacity to prevent overfilled propane tank leaks [2].
  3. Keep your propane tank away from potential igniters: Store your propane tank in a safe location away from open flames, appliances, or electrical switches.
  4. Inspect valves and hoses: Check the propane tank nozzle, cylinder valve, bleeder valve, and hoses for any signs of leaks or damage. Tighten the screws to prevent leaks.
  5. Regularly replace old equipment: Replace old or damaged equipment, such as hoses or regulators, as soon as you notice any problems.


Why Is My Propane Tank Leaking From the Pressure Relief Valve?

If your propane tank is leaking from the pressure relief valve (or bleeder valve), it could indicate excess pressure buildup inside the tank. An overfilled propane tank leak can also occur when the relief valve releases too much pressure, preventing a dangerous explosion.

Can a Propane Leak Cause an Explosion?

Yes, a propane leak can potentially cause an explosion. Propane gas is highly flammable, and if your propane tank is leaking, the gas may accumulate in an enclosed space. Then, even a small spark or ignition source can trigger a dangerous explosion from the leaking tank.

Do Propane Tanks Leak When Hot?

Yes, propane tanks can develop leaks when hot. Elevated temperatures can cause the propane inside the tank to expand, increasing the pressure. It's important to handle propane tanks cautiously and avoid exposing them to heat sources.

Staying Safe When Using Propane Tanks

A leaking propane tank can pose a serious safety hazard, but with the right precautions and knowledge, you can prevent and repair leaks quickly and efficiently.

Remember to prioritize your safety and seek professional help if necessary.

If you want a high-quality propane smoker, check out our review of the best propane smokers for any budget.

We can help you find a propane system that is not likely to leak but also provides excellent performance, durability, and precise temperature control for your smoking needs.


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