Propane Safety

Important Safety Information

Appliance maintenance

LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS. Only a qualified service technician has the training to install, inspect, service, maintain, and repair your appliances. Have your appliances and propane system inspected just before the start of each heating season.

HELP YOUR APPLIANCES “BREATHE.” Check the vents of your appliances to be sure that flue gases can flow easily to the outdoors; clear away any insect or bird nests or other debris. Also, clear the area around your appliances so plenty of air can reach the burner for proper combustion.

HAVE OLDER APPLIANCE CONNECTORS INSPECTED. Certain older appliance connectors may crack or break, causing a gas leak. If you have an appliance that is more than 20 years old, have a qualified service technician inspect the connector.

FLAMMABLE VAPORS ARE A SAFETY HAZARD. The pilot light on your propane appliance can ignite vapors from gasoline, paint thinners, and other flammable liquids. Be sure to store and use flammable liquids outdoors or in an area of the building containing no propane appliances.

DON’T RISK IT! If you cannot operate any part of your propane system, or if you think an appliance or other device is not working properly, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician for assistance.

When lighting pilot lights…

  • It is strongly recommended that only a QUALIFIED SERVICE TECHNICIAN light any pilot light that has gone out. DO NOT try to fix the problem yourself. If a pilot light repeatedly goes out or is very difficult to light, there may be a safety problem.
  • YOU ARE TAKING THE RISK of starting a fire or an explosion if you light a pilot light yourself. Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance before attempting to light the pilot.

If you detect a gas leak…

  • Immediately evacuate everyone from the house and call your local propane provider or the fire department from a neighbor’s telephone.
  • Learn what propane smells like. Propane retailers print scratch-and-sniff pamphlets to help your family recognize its distinctive odor.
  • Call 811 before you dig. Know where gas lines are located, so you won’t damage them when digging or working in the yard.
  • Change or clean furnace filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Don’t store cleaning fluids, oil-soaked rags, gasoline, or other flammable liquids near a gas-burning appliance, where vapors could be ignited by the pilot light.

If you are running out of gas…

Serious safety hazards could occur including fire or explosion can result. So don’t run out of gas.

  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous.
  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak check of your propane system before turning on the gas.

If you smell gas…

  1. No flames or sparks! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. Leave the area immediately! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. Shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. Report the leak. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. Do not return to the building or area until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
  6. Get your system checked. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

Can you smell it?

Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

Odor Loss. On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause this including:

  • The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder
  • The passage of leaking propane through the soil

Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

Carbon monoxide and your safety

What is carbon monoxide (co)?

You can’t taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas, produced when any fuel burns. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that becomes blocked.

If you suspect CO is present, act immediately!

  • If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
  • If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  • If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call your propane retailer or a qualified service technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.

To help reduce the risk of CO poisoning:

  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season begins.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.  Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.  Never use a barbecue grill (propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliance exhaust vents for blockage.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.53.13 AMLearning about propane safety can be fun! Visit PropaneKids.com with your children to learn about the safe use and environmental benefits of propane!

 

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