Propane is used in many different ways, both at home and in commercial settings in your everyday life. While it is considered a fairly stable gas that is commonly stored or transported to homes, care must still be taken when using it to ensure the safety of everyone around it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with propane around your home or business.
Propane is a flammable, colorless gas that is not produced in nature. It is a man-made product the is produced from crude oil and is stored as a liquid under pressure in tanks. It is weighed, not measured, so filling a tank that you would use on your grill, for instance, requires weighing the empty tank and adding propane until a specified weight is achieved. Propane is commonly used in stoves, gas grills, cars, equipment like forklifts, and heaters.
Safe Handling of Propane Tanks
In most cases, propane does not present a significant hazard to the user, but if it is mishandled, it can have deadly consequences. Tanks containing propane need to be protected from direct flame, overheating, punctures, or other damage. The gas inside is under extreme pressure and damage to the tank can cause a failure that could result in an explosion or leak. As a result, tanks should be stored upright and in an area that they are not going to get knocked over or run into by equipment or vehicles. If a leak is detected, the area should be cleared immediately. Propane is heavier than air and will pool in low areas, creating invisible pockets of explosive gas that could be ignited by the smallest spark. In the event of a damaged or leaking tank, call your local fire department and leave the area.
Commercial Propane Tanks and Delivery
If you are using large quantities of propane, a large storage tank outside your home or business is not uncommon. These tanks are typically filled, inspected, and serviced by a commercial propane company that will come to your location. They transport the gas, fill the tank, check for damage to the tank, and ensure that the lines and other parts of the system are functioning properly for you. If you smell gas near the tank or a line that comes from it, call the company and let them know. They may send a service man out or have you call emergency services to check the tank. Overall, propane is a very safe and versatile gas if care is used with it. If you have questions about the gas, the system, or how it is being used in your application, call and talk to the supplier to clarify things for you.