In its natural state, propane is odorless and colorless. A chemical odorant has been added to give a distinct smell to the propane. The purpose of the odorant is to help people detect the presence of propane. It is important that members of the household are able to distinguish the smell of odorized propane. To readily recognize a leak, know what propane smells like. Ag Plus has pamphlets available with a scratch-and-sniff spot so that your entire family can recognize the smell. Propane leak detectors, similar to carbon monoxide detectors, are available.
Be aware of where gas service lines are located, especially when working in your yard.
Water can damage the internal safety mechanism in the gas controls of an appliance. If you suspect that your appliance gas controls may be wet (because of flooding, for example), have a trained technician replace them immediately.
Heating Appliances—All furnaces collect lint and dirt and should be cleaned regularly. Contact a trained technician for information on proper cleaning, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Water Heaters—Drain your tank periodically (until water runs clean – usually 2 to 3 gallons) to get rid of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank.
Ranges—Have your kitchen range serviced if the burner flame is not blue. The blue flame indicates complete combustion. A yellow flame means air inlets are clogged or burners need adjustment. Contact a trained service technician immediately. Do not cover the oven bottom with foil – it can restrict air circulation.
Never use gas ranges for home heating.
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If you smell a leak, immediately evacuate everyone from the building, turn off the propane tank, and call Ag Plus or the fire department from your neighbor’s phone. DO NOT remain in the building, use the telephone or light switches, or try to determine the source of the leak by yourself.
The propane system at your home or business should be installed, maintained and repaired only by qualified personnel. Call a qualified service technician to light or re-light pilot lights on your appliances.
Accidents can result from the failure to perform complete system pressure tests from the propane tank to the system pilot orifices. Ag Plus must verify the integrity of the customer’s propane gas system with a pressure test and leak check as defined by NPGA Technical Assistance Bulletin T403, and document the results. The following situations call for a system check:
The following section from the National Fuel Gas Code describes the procedures to be followed by any qualified person servicing a system for gas utilization:
4.2 System and Equipment Leakage Test
4.2.1 Before Turning Gas On. Before gas is introduced into a system of new gas piping, or back into an existing system after being shut off, the entire system shall be inspected to determine that there are no open fittings or ends and that all manual valves on equipment are closed and all unused outlets are closed and plugged or capped.
4.2.2 Test for Leakage. Immediately after turning on the gas, the piping system shall be tested to ascertain that no gas is escaping. If leakage is indicated, the gas supply shall be shut off until necessary repairs have been made.
4.2.3 Placing Equipment in Operation. Gas utilization equipment shall be permitted to be placed in operation after the piping system has been tested and determined to be free of leakage and purged in accordance with 4.3.2.
Following key safety tips for propane products, appliances, and tanks could help alleviate potential risks associated with storm damage or flooding. Sixty million homeowners and businesses use propane to heat their water and homes, cook their meals, fuel their farm equipment and buildings, or simply fuel their gas grills. For those propane users affected by storm damage or flooding, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) in cooperation with the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) recommend the following steps to help ensure safe propane use.
While the effects of flooding can present potentially dangerous situations, following these recommendations will help reduce risks. For additional information on propane and/or flooding, contact your propane account manager.