Propane is a safe, efficient fuel that provides reliable and clean power to your home. A propane tank is a main component of your fuel-delivery system, storing propane as a compressed liquid before being converted to vapor to be used in your home appliances. Proper maintenance and care of your propane tank is important to ensure peak performance and optimal efficiency. Here are guidelines that will help to ensure the safe operation of your propane system.
Propane Safety Guidelines
Suspected gas leak or odor: Propane has a distinct, unpleasant odor, which everyone in your household should be familiar with. Your propane supplier will be able to supply you with a “scratch-and-sniff” sample or contact the Missouri Propane Education and Research Council for a copy. If you believe you smell a gas leak, extinguish any open flames and leave the house immediately. Do not operate any lights, appliances or phones as they could create a spark. Shut off the gas on the tank if it is safe to do so. To turn off the gas, open the tank lid and turn the shut-off valve to the right. Then, get to a safe location and call your propane retailer, 911 or the fire department. Stay outside until a qualified professional can check the area and fix any potential problem. Make sure your entire system is inspected before using any propane appliances. Do not re-enter your home until this inspection has been done.
After a storm or flood: After storms or natural disasters, it is important to check your propane tank and lines for damage. If there is damage, turn off the gas if it is safe to do so. Call your propane retailer so they can inspect the lines and confirm that it is safe to return to your home. Never turn on the gas yourself, as national safety codes require that a professional inspect the pipes and turn the propane on.
Maintain your supply: You should regularly monitor the level of your propane tank, a habit that is important not only during the winter heating season but also in these times of uncertainty and physical distancing. Maintaining an adequate supply of propane can prevent system issues and ensure that your family will be kept safe and healthy for an extended amount of time. If your propane tank runs out, a technician is required to come into your home and complete an inspection to ensure your family’s safety. The same codes apply for turning on the gas after the tank has been empty. Once the tank is refilled, the entire system must be inspected and a professional must turn the propane on again. If you are signed up for Automatic Delivery with your propane supplier, this takes the worry out of running out. If you are a Will Call customer, always let your supplier know when you drop under 25% in the tank.
Know your system: It is not necessary to wait until you suspect a problem to get your propane system inspected. A regular professional inspection helps to keep your propane system running properly. Before the inspection, be sure to inform the inspector of any changes since the system was last checked. Remember to mention any new appliances that have been installed or removed or construction that has been done near the appliances. An inspection can be scheduled through your propane retailer.
If you are moving into a home powered by propane, ask for an inspection of the system, particularly if you are a first-time propane user. Getting to know the location of the tank, how to read the meter, using the shut-off valve and ensuring that all appliance piping is in good working order should be a priority. Former residents may have removed a gas appliance or modified the original system, so those lines need to be capped or repaired prior to your occupation.
Let professionals do it: All activities associated with installing, repairing or converting appliances should be done by a qualified professional. Any non-professional work done to a propane system could void the warranty on appliances and equipment, or even cause damage, potentially putting your family and home at risk.
Your Safety Is Our Top Priority
Propane is a safe and versatile fuel that can power your whole home efficiently. Propane can be used for cooking, space heating and water heating, and is a great source of standby power, along with a variety of other applications both inside and outside your home. As with any fuel system, there are potential dangers posed in the event of a leak or other damage. That is why it is important for everyone in the household to know the warning signs of a leak, and what to do in the event of a potential issue or emergency.
The procedures listed above are a great place to start but do not hesitate to contact your professional propane retailer with questions or concerns. Learn more about propane safety.