Why Does My Propane Heater Smell? 4 Reasons Behind it!

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When it’s time to heat your home, a propane heater will save you. But if your house smells gassy, It’s a concern. It’s because your heater should be odourless.

Well, don’t panic just yet. You need to figure out the reasons first. 

Now you might wonder, Why does my propane heater smell?

Firstly, a smelling propane heater is not normal and the smell might be there because of a leakage. If your propane supply is running out, you will also smell this. Pilot light going out can also spread odour. And don’t forget to clean the heater before winter as this could also cause your propane heater to smell. 

Let me assure you, you are not the only one facing this. So, all you need to do is stick with us till the end. Jump right in!

Is it Normal for My Propane Heater to Smell?

Simply put, it’s not. A propane heater is very environmentally friendly. That’s why it is odourless. 

But before you go and seek professional help, you need to understand what happened to it. 

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Source: bobvila.com

Obviously, you did not notice any odour when you first installed the heart, right? Maybe because of the tank getting low, or for leakage it’s started smelling.

Keep in mind that what may be the reason it can lead to hazardous situations. Turn off the heater and read along to know the causes.

Propane Heater Smells: Probable Causes 

If you are smelling a robust grassy odour, it’s annoying right? But to fix the heater you need to know the reasons behind it.

Don’t worry, We found out! Here are 4 probable reasons behind the smell.

Reasons 1 of 4: Propane Supply Running Low

Your propane heater has a separate tank. And this tank is filled with a propane supply. 

The strong smell of propane gas stays in the tank. But when the tank is starting to be empty the odour settles in.  This smell is similar to your ventless gas heater starting to smell

If you are running out of propane supply, you will be left with the concentrated smell of propane. This smell will start getting robust as the propane tank is emptying.


Now if you are facing this kind of situation, turn off the valve. The valve should be above the tank. You need to turn the valve clockwise.

This can be a solution for the time being. 

Reason 2 of 4: Tank Leakage 

As with most gas tanks, your propane heater also has a regulator valve. This regulator valve creates the boundary between air and the tank. So if your valve has any leaks, you will get a smell from the heater.

A hint of gas leaking from your tank will also make your house smell gassy.

But you will smell the gas after a while. Because the leakage is small but consistent. 

Leaking can make the radiator take too long to heat up.

If the leak is big enough, you will hear a hissing sound from the propane heater. The pressure of the tank is being released. 


If you are facing this issue, you can fix the valve by using a sealant. Keep in mind that not all sealants can fix this issue. Some sealants that work on heater valves are:

SealantWhere To Get
Permatex 82099 Spray SealantGet Now from Amazon!
Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal LiquidGet Now from Amazon!

If this doesn’t work it’s better to seek professional help to fix the leakage.

Reason 3 of 4: Turning The Heater on After a Long Break

It’s been the spring and summer. So you did not use the heater as much. Now, as you are starting the heater, you might smell gas.

Your heater is fired up after a long time. When you are not using the heater, the tank settles on various components. 

Source: walmart.com 

This smell is harmless. But it’s annoying, right? 


If you want to protect your house from this smell, you should clean the heater. It’s better to keep your propane heater squeaky clean, even if it’s not being used.

The best way to clean your propane heater is by using a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum cleaner can suck out dust and debris from all the nitty-gritty spots. 

Now if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, it’s high time to invest in one. Here are some vacuum cleaners that I’ve personally used and loved:

Vacuum CleanerPrice RangeWhere to Get
Dirt Devil Endura Reach Bagless Upright Vacuum CleanerExpensiveBuy Now from Amazon!
Eureka PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum CleanerMedium-rangedBuy Now from Amazon!
Eureka NEU182A PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum CleanerAffordableBuy Now from Amazon!

You can also use a toothbrush to scrub smaller areas.

Reason 4 of 4: Pilot Light Going Out 

If you are smelling gas from your propane heater all the time maybe it’s because of the pilot light going out.

Generally, the flame of your heater will stay lit when it’s turned on. But if your radiator is becoming dangerous the light will automatically go out.

As a result, the gas of the tank will start escaping. You got that right, this is probably why you are smelling gas. 


This is extremely hazardous and can be dangerous for you to fix. So we suggest you ask any professional to get involved.

Now you might wonder, what might happen in this situation. Let’s hear it out!

What Can Happen If My Propane Heater Starts Smelling?

First and foremost, Propane heater leakage of any kind can seriously harm you and your house. This situation is extremely dangerous and can cause a fire hazard.

If you are breathing the propane gas, you will get dizzy. Not exaggerating, but constantly breathing this can even kill you. You may be suffering from from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Check out this video for a detailed take on CO poisoning due to propane heaters-

Keep in mind to take action as soon as you smell the gas. Because propane gas is slow and it can take many days for you to notice.

Ask yourself, is the house smelling like rotten eggs? It is because many manufacturers added this smell to alert the customers about a leakage.

Don’t panic yet rather take some precautions so that you don’t have to face this situation again.

How to Maintain My Propane Heater?

If you maintain your propane heater regularly, let me assure you, that you are not going to face this situation again.

Firstly, you should do a combustion analysis once in a while. This is very important as you will know exactly how the whole system is running. 

Secondly, check the valve and the regulator pressure regularly. Listen carefully if there is any hissing sound. 

Clean the heater when you are not using it. You can vacuum the outside of the heater to keep all the clouds of dust out of the tank.

Don’t forget to clean and vacuum the vents and grids inside the heater. But if your heater is too old it’s always recommended to get a new one. 

Finally, for safety reasons get any professional’s help if you see anything that seems to be wrong.

Well, that’s all you needed today!


Is propane gas harmful to smell?

Yes, inhaling propane gas is very harmful to you. Propane gas is not toxic. But this gas replaces the oxygen from your lungs. As a result, you will find it hard to breathe. If you think you have already inhaled a significant amount of propane and you are feeling dizzy, it’s better to call 911.

How can I check propane heater leaks at home?

It’s really easy to check if your heater has leaks. Firstly listen carefully to a hissing sound. If you cannot hear it, apply a special leak detector. You can also apply soapy water to find out the leak. After you apply this, bubbles will form if there is a leak.

How long it will take for the propane heater smell to dissipate?

Give it an hour or so. It’s better for you to leave the house when this process is going on. Do not light a candle or spark a flame. Your house should be clear to the first responders. Before that, do not get inside. 


Well, now you know why your propane heater smells. Now it’s your time to know if you need to be worried or not.

One last tip. Do not take the time to seek professional help. Don’t wait and let the situation be hazardous before seeking professional help.

Have a good day!

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