Recent changes in workplace settings have prompted some households to move out of metropolitan centers to more rural areas of the country. Along with a more leisurely pace of life, many of these transplants may encounter regular propane use for the first time. If you’re thinking of moving to the West Lake Norman area, are a first-time homebuyer with propane appliances or simply want to educate yourself about propane, Quality Propane’s team in Denver, NC can help you enjoy using LPG safely.
For those of us that didn’t take, or didn’t take seriously, any Physics classes, Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a mixture of Propane, Butane and Propylene, but is often used to refer to propane on its own. It’s an understandable mistake to think the LPG stands for Liquified Propane Gas. Propane is prepared as part of the petroleum refinery process and has more than twice the energy per cubic foot than natural gas, according to several sources.
Because it is an odorless gas, an odorant is added before propane is delivered to bulk plants for storage. The most common odorant, Ethyl Mercaptan, is one of the worst smells in the world and only a small amount is needed to stink up a huge amount of propane. This odorant is added for two primary purposes:
- Help with the detection of leaks before the gas concentration reaches a hazardous level
- Reduce gas losses through early detection and repairs of leaks
Propane is denser than Oxygen, so it sinks to the ground and can pool, especially in extremely cold weather. Its boiling point is -43.6˚ F so it evaporates quickly at normal temperatures.
Propane is held under pressure in tanks and the tank gauge shows the percentage full, not the volume of fuel. The gauge is based on an industry standard of 60˚ F, which means the reading will vary, depending on the temperature where the tank is located. A tank buried in the ground is more likely to experience less temperature variation than one above ground.
If your tank has a safety shutoff valve, you’ll want to be sure you know where it is and how to operate it, along with all other members of the household, in case of emergency. A leak at any point in the system should be addressed at once and handled with care, as the low boiling point can cause freezing burns if skin comes in contact with the LPG.
Make sure you have Carbon Monoxide detectors placed appropriately around the home as an early warning system. They should be placed near the floor and tested regularly to be sure they are in good working order.
Another important safety measure is to instruct any children in the household or ones that regularly visit, what propane odorant smells like and to alert an adult if they ever detect it.
Habits to Form
If you’ve moved from a home that relied on natural gas or electricity for heat, you may not have given much thought to your power source in the past. Some useful habits to form include:
- Regular sniff tests around appliances and storage tanks.
- Avoid allowing your tank level to fall below 25% – consistent gauge readings will help with this.
- Set an alarm for a chosen day of the week and time of day that you can take readings and record them in a log to help calculate how often you want the tank refilled.
- Make a record of tank readings and temperature over an extended period to show how the level fluctuates in different weather.
- Keep in mind that if you host activities that may use more propane than usual and may need to have propane delivered earlier than your usual schedule.
- Check any appliances out of the box to make sure they have the correct orifice for connection to the gas line. You may need to change the orifice before connection to the system.
- When using propane for cooking, you want a pretty blue flame. If you see orange or yellow flames, you may have incomplete combustion and should turn off the appliance and remedy the situation immediately. It may be something as simple as clogged burner portholes, which can easily be cleaned and don’t require a professional.
If you’re new to propane, need a refresher after some time away or want to set up a delivery, contact Quality Propane. Our team is experienced with all sizes and types of tanks, below and above ground alike.
Posted on behalf of
5928 Hwy 150 East (PO Box 549)
Denver, NC 28037
Phone: (704) 489-9394
Sept - April 8:00AM - 5:00PM
May - August 8:00 AM - 4:00PM