How much of a propane smell? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 08-30-2007
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How much of a propane smell?

When we use our stove/oven we get a slight aroma of propane in the air while it's going (the entire time). I'm assuming this is normal, but I just wanted to double check...?
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Old 08-30-2007
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Labatt-

I don't think you should be getting the propane odor if the burner is working properly. Mercaptan, the odorant used in the propane, should burn off in the combustion of the propane. Smelling it at the initial start is normal, since some propane is probably escaping when you go to light the stove. I would check the connections in the stove and gas lines for a possible leak.
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Propane smell

I am a live aboard and have been since March of 2007. While I am no authority, I think if you smell propane there could be a problem. They put in the smell for a reason. I talked with a person that was in our marina in Delaware recently that was a boat recovery person. He was headed to Norfolk (in mid-August) to work on an Endeavor 42 that exploded as the propane leaked into the boat and was ignited. The owner was badly burned. The next day I verified my outboard tanks worked properly, my shut-off solenoid worked and the tank compartment drain was not clogged.

I would verify all is ok.

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Old 08-30-2007
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If you can smell it and there is any flame or spark, get off the boat. I would check the entire gas line for any sign of stress. You should never smell anything when the flame is on.
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Old 08-31-2007
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Use soapy water to check for leaks.

A hand-operated bilge pump, bellows type, is ideal for purging the bilge of gases.

A gas detector is not expensive.
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Old 08-31-2007
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I have used my burners often, this summer, with no smell.
I have also used the oven, 2-3 times, and there has been a little propane odor (or some type of heat odor) for the entire 20-30minutes that the oven was on. If this was not normal, and I did have a leak in the oven burner hose, for example, I would certainly think that it would have caught fire / burned up the leaking propane during the 30 minutes that the real burner flame was on?????

I am not talking about smelling a strong p[ropane odor in the oven, but never having used a propane oven before I thought there must be a slight smell, due to heating the confined space of the oven, or something like that.

To others - please have your own checked and don't rely on my logic, as I would not want someone to blow up, because I said mine did the same thing!!

I know my solenoid works fine, as I have tried shutting it off while using the burners, and my tank is in an approved container in the cockpit.
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Old 08-31-2007
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labatt,
Our 3-burner LPG stove with oven, never emits the smell one typically detects when opening the valve of an untapped cylinder. As was mentioned, a very slight odor may exist for a second or two before igniting the burner - but VERY slight. During use, no smell should exist.

Similarly with our LPG, on demand hot water heater - no odors. In addition to typical solenoid switches at the valves in exterior tank lockers, ABYC codes require all appliances (and separate burners) to have integrated safety shutoff devices on gas lines, engineered to cut off gas flow if no flame exists. Electronic ignitors are also required - no open pilot flames are allowed.

It may be possible that one of your burner's safety valves is defective, therefore it emits gas when another is in use.

A propane sniffer is also a smart accessory - which should send an alarm if propane is detected in the bilge areas - where a leak would allow it to migrate to - being heavier than air.

I would suspect you have a leak at an appliance, fitting or tubing line.
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Old 08-31-2007
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Chris,
I agree with the comments above, once it's lit you should not smell propane at all. I would not use the unit until you find the leak!
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Figures... we're leaving today for 6 days off on the boat...
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Could be something as simple as a burner valve not closing properly. See if an odor is present from one of the off burners, while another is lit.
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