The propane in your gas system is stored under pressure. While it's stored,
there's no problem. But, in the unlikely event your system develops a
leak (which can be caused by physical damage or deterioration), it can
Propane burns at an
even rate when properly mixed with air, as in your stove or furnace. But,
if a leak occurs, a flame or spark could ignite it. If that happens, it
could cause a fire or even an explosion. Although such accidents are rare,
we want you to be aware of this possibility.
Know Your Propane
Your propane system has four basic parts:
- A tank or cylinder,
equipped with a main shutoff valve;
- One or more regulators
designed to reduce pressure between the container and your appliance(s);
- Gas piping, to
carry the propane to your appliance(s); and
- Gas appliance(s).
The tank or cylinder
is where the propane is stored. It is equipped with a shutoff valve, which
turns the gas "on" or "off". The regulator controls
the gas pressure, while the gas piping carries the gas to your appliance(s).
It is important for
you to know the location of the main shutoff valve on the tank or cylinder.
Remember its location and become familiar with how to shut it off in an
How Do You Tell
if There Is a Leak?
- By smell. A disagreeable
odor is added to the propane so that you will be able to detect the
smell easily in case a leak develops or an unlit burner is left turned
- By electronic gas
alarm. If used, the gas alarm supplements a person's ability to detect
a gas leak and sounds a warning when it detects the presence of unburned
You should be aware
that some persons have different thresholds of smell and cannot detect
the odor of propane as readily as others. Also, sometimes people with
a normal sense of smell temporarily lose their ability to detect odors
because of illness, use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Also, cooking odors,
tobacco smoke and aerosol and odor removing sprays can cover up other
odors. In certain instances, the odorant in the propane may diminish or
weaken, making it difficult for a person with a normal sense of smell
to detect a gas leak. Be aware that being heavier than air, leaking propane
may tend to settle near the floor while dissipating into the air.
Steps to Take
if You Smell Gas or the Alarm Sounds
Never assume that the odor of gas is a sign that your tank is running
low. If you smell gas in the house or if the gas alarm signals the presence
of gas, IMMEDIATELY follow these suggestions:
all smoking materials and any other open flames or sources of ignition.
everyone outside and away from the building.
off the gas supply at the tank.
your propane supplier from a neighbor's phone. If you cannot reach your
propane supplier, call the fire department.
outside and leave the gas off until the leak has been found and fixed.
- Turn light switches,
appliances or thermostats on or off, and do not use the telephone. A
spark from one of these could ignite the gas.
- Light or try to
re-light any appliances. Leave this job to your propane supplier.
- Re-enter the building,
until the problem has been corrected.
Routinely (at least annually) call a service technician to examine your
gas appliance(s) for any conditions that may render the appliance(s) inefficient
or unsafe for use, similar to how you have your automobile checked periodically.
All appliances, including gas, should be regularly inspected and maintained,
just as electrical appliances, to eliminate possible hazards from short
circuits and other malfunctions that could create hazards.
A routine inspection
should consist of (but not be limited to) detecting any unsafe or potentially
hazardous situations, such as the following:
- Substandard and/or
lack of venting systems on appliances requiring them.
- Sootiness and/or
the accumulation of soot around interior and exterior appliance components
such as around pilot lights, appliance burners, range tops, oven components,
etc. This indicates that the appliance is not operating properly or
- Leakage of water
around or through water heater valves, fittings or jackets. CAUTION:
This should alert you to the fact that the water heating device has
some internal damage.
- Missing or damaged
control components such as dials, knobs, screws, etc.
that have been tampered with (evidenced by altered design function,
missing or substituted components, etc.).
- Controls that have
been under water or subjected to flooding. Such controls may not function
properly and must be replaced.
- Unstable appliance
bases and/or platforms. Warped, rotting or substandard bases and/or
platforms may collapse creating a potentially hazardous condition.
- Problems in gas
line connectors such as kinks, corrosion, deterioration, etc. Any abnormality
should be immediately reported to your propane supplier since failure
to correct these problems could create a hazardous situation.
operation of gas valves and safety controls.
- Gas leakage in
the appliances or piping system.
- Improper appliance
and gas system installation.
A Word About
Some appliances are required to have vents in order to exhaust harmful
combustion gases outside. Poisonous carbon monoxide can be produced from
improperly installed or operating appliances. Frequent headaches and nausea
may be indicators that this colorless, odorless gas is causing carbon
monoxide poisoning. To minimize the chance of this happening, follow these
- Vented appliances
must be installed by a qualified appliance installer.
- Do not operate
vented appliances until they have been vented properly.
- After appliance
installation and before each heating season, the vents and flues should
be checked for blockages and corrosion, either by a qualified installer
or a qualified service technician.
- If you buy a used
appliance, have it inspected and installed by a qualified propane appliance
When properly installed
and maintained, the venting system will also keep walls and other surfaces
from overheating and possibly catching fire. Not all gas appliances are
suitable for operating on propane. If you buy a used appliance, be sure
it is listed for propane and have it installed by a qualified technician.
Here are some general safety procedures to follow when using your propane
- Be alert for the
odor of propane when around a gas appliance or container.
- If you smell gas,
do not try to light the appliance. Call your propane supplier.
- Read and follow
the operating and lighting instructions and warning labels provided
by the appliance manufacturer.
- The pilot has a
safety device. If you have trouble keeping it lit, this device is warning
you about a problem. Call a service technician for assistance.
- Never force any
appliance control. If you cannot operate the knobs, switches or buttons
by hand, call your supplier. Never tamper with the controls.
- Keep combustibles,
such as curtains, paper, cleaning fluids, etc., away from any energy
source, including gas and electric appliances where they may cause a
- Have a B/C rated
fire extinguisher readily available. Be sure it is charged and that
you and your family know how to use it.
- Gas appliances,
like humans, need oxygen (air) to function properly.
- If you smell gas
near your tank or cylinder, call your propane supplier.
- Use only listed
propane appliances. Look for the seal from a nationally recognized independent
- Use gas grills
outdoors only. Use or store propane cylinders outdoors only.
If You Run Out
Letting your propane container run empty creates additional hazards. If
you run out of gas and lose pressure in the system, a potentially hazardous
condition can result. If you do run out of gas, follow these steps:
- Turn off all control
valves on all gas appliances.
- Turn off the shutoff
valve on the propane container(s).
- Call your propane
supplier to arrange for delivery, and advise them you are out of gas.
- Don't turn the
gas back on yourself. Let the propane supplier do it. When you schedule
your fill, be sure it is for a time when you will be at home, so the
propane supplier can relight and check your appliances and system to
assure that they are operating properly and are leak free.
- Immediately after
your tank is refilled, have a service technician check to see that all
safety controls are functioning properly and the piping system is leak
If You Move
or Change Gas Appliances
ALWAYS CALL YOUR PROPANE SUPPLIER WHEN YOU NEED A GAS APPLIANCE CONNECTED
OR DISCONNECTED. It is for your safety that the gas system remain in a
safe condition at all times. Should the gas system develop a leak (or
if a gas line or shut off valve remains unplugged), a fire, explosion
or serious injury could result.
operated and maintained, your propane system and appliance(s) can provide
you many years of clean-burning, safe efficient service. If you have any
questions once you have read this information, or do not understand any
part of it, call your supplier.