This propane safety information covers some basic practices to ensure your family’s safe enjoyment of propane equipment.

General Propane Characteristics
Propane is transported and stored as a liquid.

Propane (sometimes called LPG or LP-gas) is a colorless and odorless gas.

Since propane is odorless, it is intentionally odorized so leaks can be detected. The odor is similar to rotten eggs. Call the Railroad Commission’s Alternative Fuels Division at (800) 64-CLEAR for a free “scratch-and-sniff” pamphlet that can help familiarize you, your family, and your co-workers with the smell of propane.

Propane vapors are heavier than air and may accumulate in low-lying areas such as basements and ditches or along floors.

Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many different sources.

General Safety Reminders
Always keep flammable and combustible materials (e.g., paper, clothing, wood, gasoline, solvents) away from any open flames that originate from your appliances.

Thermagas Propane Safety Diagram 1Know how to shut off the gas supply from your tank or cylinder. If you do not know how, contact your propane supplier for instructions.

Never place your head near or directly over the valves on your storage tank. A sudden release of product from the safety relief valve could result in serious injury.

The propane liquid that is stored in your tank or cylinder can cause severe frostbite if it comes in contact with your skin or eyes.

Never store propane cylinders or containers inside any enclosed building.

Treat all propane gas odors seriously. Any odors may indicate a very dangerous situation.

Never assume that propane odor is only the result of your tank being near empty. If the odor persists, you may have a serious leak.

You should always contact your local propane supplier if you suspect a leak.

What To Do If You Smell Gas
If you think you smell propane in your home, camper, RV or the area around any gas equipment, or if a gas alarm signals the presence of propane, you should IMMEDIATELY follow these suggestions:

  • Extinguish all smoking materials and any other open flames or sources of ignition.
  • Everyone should vacate the building, vehicle or area.
  • Propane Tank ValvesMove away without using any electric switches, appliances, thermostats, or telephones.
  • Close the gas shutoff valve on the propane tank or cylinder.
  • Call your propane supplier and/or your local fire department from a cellular telephone or a neighbor’s telephone.
  • Even if you do not continue to smell propane, do not open or turn on the propane supply valve. Do not re-enter the building, vehicle or area. Let a qualified propane service technician and/or emergency personnel check for escaped propane.
  • Have a properly trained propane service technician repair the leak. The propane service technician or emergency responder needs to determine that the leak situation has been fully resolved. The propane service technician should check all of your gas appliances and re-light any appliance pilots.
  • Return to the building, camper, RV or area only when the service or emergency technician indicates it is safe to do so.
The Dangers of Uncapped Lines
Capped and PluggedLeaks that occur from open lines are extremely dangerous due to the potential for a large volume of gas to be released over a short period of time.

All lines not attached to appliances must be closed and terminated with threaded caps or plugs. If you have any questions, please call your propane supplier.

What To Do If Your Safety Relief Valve Pops Off
Thermagas Propane Safety Diagram 1Propane expands when heated. That increases the pressure in the tank. Above a certain pressure, the relief valve opens to release a small amount of vapor. That release keeps the pressure from building up too much inside the tank. Once excess pressure has been released, the relief valve closes automatically.

It’s important to keep your tank painted with a white, aluminum or other reflective color. A rusty, unpainted or dark-colored tank may cause pressure build-up resulting in a safety relief valve discharge.

Call your propane marketer whenever your relief valve pops off, so they can determine the cause.

How To Read Your Tank Gauge
If you are not sure how to read your gauge, contact your propane supplier for help.

Look at the gauge attached to the tank with numbers from 5 to 95. (Don’t be confused by the pressure scale with numbers from 0 to 300.) Numbers indicate the percentage of gas in the tank.

Propane Gauge Chart

For safety’s sake – stay above 20%

The Railroad Commission of Texas requires all propane gas companies to perform a leak test before refilling an empty tank, to ensure the integrity of your propane piping system. The company may have to charge for this service, so you’ll save time and money by putting your account on a Keep Full program.

Appliance Safety
Water HeaterAll appliances should be installed and repaired only by qualified technicians. Improper ventilation can starve the combustion process in the appliance and create a situation that could produce toxic carbon monoxide gas.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that, in sufficient amounts, may be deadly to humans. Usually, headaches and/or flu-like systems are initial signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect that any of your appliances have been improperly vented, you should discontinue using them and contact your propane supplier or local fire department immediately for an inspection.

An appliance gas control is a precision mechanism that may malfunction if it is exposed to water from flooding, storms, or any other damaging environments. A flooded gas control must be replaced by a qualified gas appliance technician. Damaged gas control valves must be replaced.

 

Lighting Pilots On Appliances
Notify your propane supplier immediately if you have a problem lighting a pilot.

Never attempt to modify or repair the gas control valves or any other component of a gas appliance.

Never light a pilot if you smell gas.

If you continue to smell gas, even after lighting a pilot, turn off the gas valve immediately upstream of the appliance to stop the flow of gas. Contact your propane supplier immediately to investigate the situation.

In most situations it is best to have a trained technician light the pilots on your appliances.

Maintenance On Your Propane System
Never modify or repair your propane system. Ask your propane supplier to send a trained technician to do the work.

Propane Tank Leak TestIf an appliance or any other component of your propane system has been tagged “out-of-service,” do not attempt to enable it. The tag indicates a serious unsafe condition.

If an appliance has been added to or removed from your system, contact your supplier so that a technician can perform a required leak test.

Ask your propane supplier to conduct a regular gas safety check to inspect your system for leaks and ensure it meets all applicable safety standards. The technician will also check your tank, piping, regulators, gauges, connectors, valves, vents, thermostats, pilots, burners and appliance controls to make sure they are in good working condition.

The regulator is an important part of your propane system. If it is more than 15 years old, ask your propane supplier if it should be replaced.

Gas Grilling Tips
Do not use a propane gas cylinder if it shows signs of external damage, such as dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage or excessive rust.

  • Before grilling, make sure the propane cylinder is secured to the grill as directed by the manufacturer.
  • After grilling, the cylinder must not be stored indoors or within any enclosed space.
  • Always open the grill hood before lighting, and light according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    Grill Tank
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to start the fire.
  • Always grill in a well-ventilated area. Do not grill indoors or close to the side of a building.
  • Use foil or a drip pan to catch juices and help avoid grease fires.
  • To see how much propane is left in your cylinder, run a wet finger down the side. The wet streak will evaporate faster over the empty part of the cylinder.
  • To turn the cylinder valve on or off, remember “Righty, tighty/Lefty, loosey.”
Weather Emergencies
Take these steps to protect your family and property before and after a severe storm.

Getting ready for a severe storm:

1. Properly secure the propane tank, if possible.

2. Turn off the gas supply valve at the tank (“righty, tighty.”)

Propane Tank Dome3. Fasten the protective dome on the tank.

4. Turn off appliance pilot lights, control valves and manual shut-off valves.

5. Ensure there is an adequate supply of fuel in the tank.

After the storm has passed, look for visible structural damage, including damaged external venting and vent caps.

Call your propane dealer or a qualified technician if:

1. You smell propane gas.

2. Your propane tank has shifted or moved.

3. The tank regulator has been exposed to water.

4. The gas lines are broken, bent, damaged or have pulled away from the propane tank or appliances.

5. Propane appliances or their controls have been exposed to water.