For Tennessee Propane Consumers: Safety Tips

Date: January 15, 2019

Safety tips

Propane’s impressive safety record as a residential and commercial fuel is largely the result of the National Propane Gas Association’s stringent safety standards. This set of standards and guidelines covers hooking up appliances, filling portable cylinders, running fuel lines and installing propane tanks.

Occasionally, you will receive information in the mail from your propane company, explaining what steps to in the event that you identify the smell of gas. These materials will also discuss carbon monoxide safety, propane gas detectors, general appliance safety tips and more.

Propane: a bit of background

While propane is odorless, manufacturers incorporate an odor into it to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. You may find this smell to be similar to that of rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray or even a dead animal.

It’s important to confirm that everyone in the home is able to recognize the smell. In the event that you or others in your home may have trouble smelling propane, make plans to install one or more propane gas detectors.

Smell gas? Follow these tips

If you smell propane in your home or business, please take heed of these suggestions.

  • DO make an attempt to turn off the valves at the tank, but only if it is safe to do so.
  • DO make sure everyone leaves the home and gets away from nearby areas.
  • DO place a call to your propane supplier as well as the fire department. Make these calls with a phone that is away from the home or business.
  • DO NOT light matches anywhere inside or near the home.
  • DO NOT use light switches inside the home.
  • DO NOT look for the leak.
  • DO NOT attempt to relight your pilot light or repair your appliance.
  • DO NOT make any calls from inside your home or from any nearby areas.
  • DO NOT come back to the area until responders have let you know that it safe to do so.

Refer to your owner’s manuals

There’s no doubt that propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your home. Still, to keep everyone as safe as possible, it’s very important that you pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances. Your best approach for keeping propane equipment running well is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. You can consult your owner’s manuals for details about what’s required.

Avoid carbon monoxide

A gas appliance that is operating properly burns propane with a blue flame. Yellow flames – or significant amounts of soot on any equipment – are indicators that the gas may not be burning completely, which can create carbon monoxide. Contact your propane company for service if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.

Make it part of your regular routine to check the outdoor vents of your appliances. You want to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Small animals, insects and birds may set up camp in vent pipes, and this is something you want to avoid. You can prevent damage by using a broom or a soft brush to gently remove any obstructions present in your vents.

Call in the experts for propane repairs

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are commonplace these days, and for many of us, it has become second nature to rely on online sources to learn how to do repairs. However, when it comes to propane repairs, YouTube and other quick-fix approaches are not recommended for your Tennessee home.

When an amateur repair doesn’t go as planned, you could be subjecting your home to potentially costly—and even dangerous situations. It’s important to leave the repair of gas appliances up to trained experts.

In the case of propane repairs, unexpected and less common challenges that require extensive training and expensive diagnostic equipment to assess and fix often come up.

If you try to fix or modify a propane appliance, dangers like explosions or carbon monoxide leaks become real threats to your home.

Take note: For a propane repair, contact your local propane professional. You want someone with the training, experience and tools to identify and resolve your problem as quickly and safely as possible so you don’t have to worry about them.

Tips to keep your Tennessee home safe

  • Make sure that carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed on every level of your home, following manufacturer’s recommendations for placement and maintenance. Test your CO detectors every year, and replace batteries at the beginning of each heating season (you should replace the whole unit every five or 10 years, depending on the unit you have).
  • If you have a propane backup generator, make sure it has enough fuel to run for at least a week in the event of a power outage. Run your generator periodically to make sure it is operating properly. This will also help critical moving parts remain lubricated.

In the event of severe weather

  • Listen to and follow any directions from local authorities regarding evacuations and shelter-in-place emergencies.
  • After a storm, clear any debris from vents, chimneys and flues. This helps prevent a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. Maintain a clear path to your propane tank as well – this will ensure efficient deliveries.
  • If you’re concerned that your propane equipment is damaged or is not in working order, you should not attempt to operate them. Instead, have them professionally repaired right away. Important reminder: safety codes require you to call in a licensed professional to restart your system, in the event that your gas supply is shut down for any reason.

Learn more with the safety tips here and then contact your propane company if you have any questions or concerns.