Using a propane vapor system or a liquefied petroleum gas system offers an eco-friendly way to power boilers, forklifts, agricultural equipment, backup generators, autogas vehicles, microdata sites, etc. Propane systems are highly regulated and safe. Like any system, they require periodic maintenance to ensure peak performance and avoid unexpected downtime.
7 Things to know about your propane system:
- Propane can be contaminated. One of the leading causes of LPG contamination comes from outside factors and will persist with improper system maintenance.
- Annual leak checks are essential to making sure your system is performing safely and at an optimal level.
- Propane systems are incredibly safe. However, just like your car needs maintenance, your system needs recurrent inspection to sustain a safe and dependable operation.
- Depending on how your system is designed, it could be prone to error. Working with a propane expert can help you identify any potential issues and mitigate risk.
- Placing a tank monitor on your propane storage tank can offer reliable tracking and notifications that can drive productivity and alert you to any weak areas.
- NFPA and ASTM have standards and best practices for keeping your operation and people safe.
- Propane offers low-emission production and a green, low-carbon footprint. Because it provides power that is not harmful to the ground around it, propane does not have the same containment issues and regulations accompanying diesel.
Positive Environmental Impact
Over recent years, the EPA has been implementing more comprehensive emission requirements for diesel-fueled products driving the development of alternative options, including advances in propane-fueled products. This trend is expected to continue as more businesses rely on propane. With a focus on lowering emissions, propane technology and systems will see an increase in demand and advances in system technology.
Modern propane-powered generators are more efficient than ever. Their systems require clean fuel to run and having a fuel quality program is essential to protecting fuel injectors and precision components.
Not only do propane systems offer optimal efficiency but by using propane as your business’ power source, you are creating a positive emissions impact. Propane does not come with the containment issues as diesel fuel. It is non-toxic to the soil or groundwater.
Propane System Types
Different applications require systems that produce various levels of BTUs. Most systems will pull propane in a vapor form through the top. However, systems that require higher BTUs, will pull propane in a liquid state. Since liquid propane rests at the bottom of the storage tank, these systems will either have a pickup tube that syphons fuel to the top or a plug at the bottom where the fuel is pulled.
Fuel contamination from dark, waxy residuals called “heavy-ends”, tank rust or other substances introduced to a fuel tank is especially problematic with liquid propane systems. A consistent fuel quality program is essential to maintaining equipment performance and avoiding long-term damage.
Though vaporized systems are less prone to contamination risks, regular maintenance must be performed. Tank pressure and regulators performance can fluctuate with changes in environment, time and other factors. Industry experts, like Foster Fuels, can inspect system conditions and manage regulatory standards for optimal performance.
Codes & Standards
ASTM, NFPA, and EPA provide best practices and standards to protect against unsafe systems and operations. However, regulations on the state and local level must also be observed. Our trained technicians are experts in evaluating and implementing guidelines to ensure the system is up to code during service and installation.
NFPA 58 liquid petroleum gas code sets the industry benchmark for safe LPG storage, handling, transportation, and use. NFPA 58 covers outside installation and the piping system. This code is designed to mitigate risks and prevent failures, leaks, and tampering that could lead to undesired outcomes. NFPA 54 provides minimum safety requirements for the design and installation of fuel gas piping inside systems. Depending on the state, they may follow NFPA 54 or the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC).
ASTM D1835 – 20 sets the specification for liquefied petroleum gases conformity to the specified requirements for vapor pressure, volatile residue, residue matter, relative density, and corrosion.
Safety is our team’s number one priority. We strive to exceed these standards and requirements, by implementing safe procedures and best-practices.
Fuel Quality Importance
There are a few ways propane can become contaminated. Propane leaves the refinery after meeting specifications. It is then transferred to a bulk facility for storage. It could potentially make a few more transfers before being loaded into the truck that will eventually deliver it to its final destination. Every time propane is transferred the likelihood of contamination increases. The condition of the propane tank can affect the quality of your propane. Propane tanks have expiration dates and need certification and regular maintenance to comply with regulations. Rust is an issue with all types of tanks, and the settlement of heavy-ends is particularly problematic for tanks that use bottom plugs.
Get expert maintenance and consulting from Foster Fuels. With over 100 years in business, we are here to serve as a partner in solutions for all your fuel system needs.
Our program consists of:
- System Inspection – Our experts are trained GasCheck ™ and will perform leak tests and inspect your system for any code violations.
- Fuel Quality – We test the fuel at your site and check for any heavy ends or oils that can have different droplet sizes ranging from 50 to 5 microns hindering your system from running.
- Static Reducing Analysis –Protect your people with safe grounding practices and static-electricity reducing methods.
- Multi-Stage Filtration – We install filters to protect your investments and filter out any particles that will stop your system from running or cause damage.
- Tank Monitoring and Reporting – get reporting and visibility on your remote propane supplies. Our application can send alerts when fuel is low or in the event of increased usage.
Benefits of having a scheduled maintenance program for your propane system:
- Mobility – Our fully mobile team comes to your location.
- On-Site Diagnosis – Analysis is performed on-site, yielding fast results.
- Full Service – From bulk propane storage plants to telecom sites, our team is able to fix it on location.
- Downtime Prevention – We work around your schedule, keeping your operations going.
- Certification – Our experienced team is fully certified and trained, ensuring your equipment is properly inspected and up-to-code.
Set up an annual maintenance program to ensure 100% uptime for your business. Keep your investments, people and operation safe. Call 1 800-344-6457 or contact us to talk to an expert.