Safety Tips for Your Home: Propane

We can all agree that propane gas is a cost-effective and efficient method of heating your home, cooking, and generating energy. However, are you aware that improper propane handling might result in the loss of your property or, in the worst-case scenario, your life? Adhere to propane safety best practices and exercise caution when handling tanks, fuel lines, appliances, and generators to ensure your safety. Propane is a highly versatile and safe fuel when utilized properly.

How to Use Propane Safely

Adhere to these propane safety rules to help protect you and your family and to minimize the possibility of accidents or crises.

Maintain A Safe Distance

If you’re using Propane to power barbecues, heaters, or fire pits, keep the propane cylinder at least three feet from the building’s opening and ten feet from a mechanical air intake. This prohibits the entry of propane vapor into the structure as a result of a leaking valve or relief valve release. Furthermore, propane-fueled equipment must be kept away from combustible items such as fences, woodpiles, and vinyl siding. Never change propane cylinders within ten feet of an ignition source, and always carry a fire extinguisher.

Monitor The Propane Levels In Your Tank

To make room for gas expansion, tanks are topped off to a maximum of 80%. When the tank’s level is dangerously low, an exceptionally strong scent may be sensed, which may be mistaken for a leak. However, what you are noticing is the odorant added to Propane as a precautionary measure to give it the rotten egg smell that draws your attention. 

 

When there is little to no propane left in the propane tank, the odorant sinks to the bottom, leaving you with a larger quantity in comparison to the Propane. Avoid false alarms by always having some propane in your tank. An empty tank may also result in rust formation, which is harmful because rust masks the smell of Propane, making a suspected leak impossible to detect.

Utilize Safe Storage Techniques

Extreme caution must be maintained when storing used propane cylinders. This is true whether the tank or cylinder is fully charged, partially charged, or completely depleted. Unless properly cleansed with air or nitrogen, propane cylinders are a fire danger. The interior storage of propane tanks and cylinders is prohibited. Store outside or have the cylinders or tanks cleansed before storage.

Adhere to the Manufacturer’s Instructions

The CSA B149.1-15 Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code must be followed while installing appliances. For example, operation instructions for portable propane gas appliances such as grills will mention the recommended separation distance between the device and combustible surfaces and even aircraft gas storage. Ensure that you are following these requirements.

Keep Your Tanks In Good Condition

All propane cylinders must be recertified every ten years. They cannot be recharged in any other way. Check the date and condition of the cylinder. Before filling, have your propane gas source inspect it to determine if it is dented or rusty. Always keep your propane cylinder secure, upright, and in a well-ventilated space when transporting it. Keep in mind that Propane smells similar to rotten eggs. If a propane leak is suspected, turn off the gas cylinder and service the grill or portable equipment before reuse. In the event that the leak persists, contact the fire department.

Conclusion

Proper usage and handling of all fuels are vital to their safety. Propane is one of the safest consumer fuels due to its characteristics and the regulations governing equipment, training, storage, and handling. Simply follow the recommendations on this page to help protect you and your family and reduce the likelihood of accidents or crises.