Home Heating Safety

Home Heating Safety

Long, cold winters create a challenge for local residents who cannot afford to pay energy bills during prolonged heating seasons. The cold season increases the number of people who make illegal adjustments to their propane tanks or allow their tanks to completely run dry in a desperate attempt to save money. This puts them and their families at risk for property damage, bodily injury or even death.

Filling and removing propane (LP-Gas) from a container can only be done by a qualified person trained in proper handing and operating procedures. (National Fire Protection Association 58-04 7.2.2)

  • DON’T use rags, tape, and epoxy to stop leaks in gas lines.

  • DON’T tamper with safety devices, regulators, or storage tank fittings.

  • DON’T connect portable cylinders to home heating systems to heat the home.

  • DON’T store propane inside homes, garages, and barns.

  • DON’T line your range with tin foil- it constricts air circulation.

  • DON’T use propane heaters that are intended for outdoor use (i.e. gas range or barbecue grill).

Propane Properties

  • Propane tanks are made of carbon steel and therefore are 20 times more puncture resistant than tanks filled with ethanol, methanol or gasoline. Propane tanks are developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

  • Propane cylinders are equipped with a safety device that cuts off the filling process when the tanks has reached its liquid capacity.

  • Propane has the lowest flammability rating of any alternative fuel. Propane will not ignite until it reaches 920 degrees F, while gasoline’s ignition temperature is 430 to 500 degrees F.

  • Propane is tasteless, colorless and odorless, and therefore as a safety measure, an odorant is added that smells like rotten eggs.

How to Read a Tank Gauge:

If You Suspect a Gas Leak:

How to Turn off a Propane Tank:

When You Suspect a Leak:

Step 1

  • If you detect a “rotten egg” smell evacuate the premises.
  • Contact your local fire dept and propane supplier.
  • Do not touch any electrical outlets, light switches or appliances.

Step 2

  • Extinguish all open flames and immediately leave the area.
  • Never use an open flame to test for propane leaks.

Step 3

  • Go to your propane system’s storage vessel and close the vapor 
  • service valve.

Step 4

  • Avoid the lowest points in a room.
  • Propane is heavier than air and will move to these areas.

Step 5

  • Have your propane system checked if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Headaches
    • dizziness
    • loss of muscular control
    • vomiting
    • watering of the eyes.

Be Proactive

  • Clean your furnace regularly. Check with your propane retainer and owners manual for instructions.

  • Have all propane appliances tested regularly by a qualified technician.

  • Drain your water heater tank until the water runs clean, in case of sediment buildup.

  • Have your range serviced if the flaws are not blue. Yellow flames indicated blockage to the air inlets or a burner adjustment is needed. Contact a technician to service.

  • Know the layout of your gas services lines. especially during landscaping or renovations.

  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation.