Residential Propane Tank Safety
Propane is a great option for heating your property as it is typically easy to transport and store. However, in a residential environment, it is essential to be aware of the risks and the necessary safety procedures.
How to best maintain propane tanks
Regular maintenance of propane tanks is vital to ensure both performance and safety. Monthly inspections of the tank for leaks or cracks will help maintain its condition and avoid possible accidents.
However, should you feel more confident with an expert carrying out these checks, you may be able to reach an agreement with your supplier to provide regular inspections as a part of their service.
How best to store propane tanks
Correctly storing your propane tanks is crucial for ensuring you and your family’s safety, as well as helping prevent damage to your tanks.
It’s crucial that you store your tanks in an outdoor area and never in the home. You will also want to make sure they are kept out of sunlight and away from areas where temperatures may rise to 120℉ or above as pressure-release valves are vulnerable to gas leaks at high temperatures.
You should also ensure that, when propane tanks are not in use, they are correctly stored away. It is common to see tanks still connected to barbecues during the winter months, but this can be a risk. The colder weather can damage them. For that reason, it is recommended you check your tanks after any harsh weather, such as snowfall or storms.
Finally, whenever reconnecting a propane tank, always inspect for cracks or other damage that may have occurred during months in storage.
How to best move propane
When transporting propane, you should always move the tank in a standing position and never secure it with anything metal, such as a chain. Movement between the tank and the metal can create sparks that can be incredibly dangerous. Use a rope to help prevent any such accidents.
If transporting a propane tank from one destination to another, you should always ensure that the tank is in an upright position and that the valve is securely locked. For an extra safety measure, you should also keep the windows of your vehicle open for ventilation.
How to test propane tanks for leaks
Keeping your tank free of leaks is an essential safety procedure. To begin checking, apply either a leak detector solution or warm soapy water to the area that connects the tank's cylinder valve to the regular outlet. Next, slowly open the cylinder valve and look to see whether any bubbles are appearing.
If bubbles do appear, you will need to close the valve and tighten the connection. Repeat the process, and if bubbles are still present, you have a leak and will need to contact a propane gas technician to conduct a professional inspection.
Remember, regular monthly checks are essential for your safety.
How to dispose of a faulty or out-of-date tank
At some point, your propane tank will have to be replaced. When this time comes, you will likely need to also dispose of the old one. The Propane Education & Research Council offers a number of solutions for disposing of your old tank, including contacting your propane supplier or your local hazardous waste collection site.
What to do if you smell propane gas
Propane gas is naturally odorless, though due to its potential danger, many manufacturers add a pungent chemical to ensure any leaks can be quickly noticed. If you do smell propane gas, then there are several steps you should take.
First, ensure that any nearby naked flames are extinguished and that the valve on your propane tank is switched off. If you continue to smell propane gas, or the smell worsens after this, you will need to cover the tank with a damp cloth and contact your local fire department. It is also crucial that you leave the area as soon as possible.
Installing a carbon monoxide detector on your property to help detect any potential leaks from your propane tank is also highly recommended.
Correct propane maintenance is crucial to ensure you and your family remain safe when at home. If you have any further concerns regarding propane usage, you should contact your supplier.
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