Propane is a fuel source for more than 60 million Americans! Whether you’re using propane to heat your home, get hot water or fuel your grill, there are many safety practices you should be aware of. With warmer weather upon us and grilling season unfolding, we wanted to share basic information and safety best practices with you. When handled properly propane is a versatile and safe fuel.
WHAT IS PROPANE?
In its natural state, propane is an odorless and colorless gas that is widely used to fuel appliances for heating, cooking and other uses. Although propane is used as a gas for fueling appliances, it is transported and stored as a liquid under high pressure in specially designed tanks or cylinders. When liquid propane changes into a gas vapor, it expands in volume by about 270 times. This means that propane is more economical to store and transport as a liquid rather than a gas vapor. However, this characteristic also means that even a small leak of liquid propane can result in a much larger quantity of vapor, which can be especially dangerous in a confined space.
Similar to any other flammable gas or liquid, propane is very safe when stored and handled properly. However, if propane is mishandled, it can cause property damage, injuries or even death. For this reason, users must have a thorough understanding of the properties and characteristics of propane, and the hazards and risks associated with its use.
KNOW THE ODOR OF PROPANE
The purpose of the odorant is to help people detect the presence of propane. It is important for all members of the household to be able to distinguish the smell of odorized propane.
IF YOU SMELL A LEAK
- DO get everyone out of the home and move away a safe distance.
- DO attempt to shut off the valves at the tank.
- DO call both Sioux Valley Coop and the fire department for help from a phone that is a safe distance from the house.
- DO NOT attempt to find the leak.
- DO NOT attempt to repair your appliance or light your pilot light.
- DO NOT turn light switches on or off inside the home.
- DO NOT use a telephone inside the house or in nearby areas.
- DO NOT light matches anywhere inside or near the home.
How do I safely transport and store small propane cylinders?
- Use only DOT-approved cylinders that are in good condition.
- When using a new cylinder for the first time, insist that your propane dealer purge the cylinder to remove air and moisture in the tank. Propane will expand and contract, depending on the temperature.
- Cylinders should only be filled to 80 percent of capacity.
- Before lighting a propane gas appliance, check all connections for tightness using a leak detection solution.
- Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before operating a gas appliance.
- Never use propane from a cylinder without a regulator.
- Do not use matches or a lighter to check for leaks.
- Turn off the valves on the cylinder when an appliance is not in use.
- Never store a cylinder indoors or in an enclosed vehicle.
- When transporting a cylinder, make sure it is secured and in the upright position, so that the valves are in the vapor space.
- Never smoke or have open flames near propane cylinders.
- When filling cylinders attached to your vehicle, be sure all sources of ignition are shut off, including pilot lights and vehicle engines.