What is propane?
Propane is a hydrocarbon (C3H8) and is sometimes referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, LP-Gas or LPG. Propane is produced from refining crude oil as well as processing natural gas. Propane is naturally odorless, colorless, and non-toxic but environmental agencies such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have set mandates requiring that a scent be added to help detect a leak¹.
What are the benefits of using propane?
Safety is one of the top concerns for homeowners who are considering the best way to fuel not only their homes but the appliances inside and out too. Fortunately, propane is a premiere source of energy and heat that is very safe. Propane is nontoxic and nonpoisonous. This makes it one of the safest fuels to handle and to use to heat your home/appliances. Out of any of the alternative sources, propane is ranked to be the least flammable fuel. If there is a leak it will be easy to tell because it has a pungent scent similar to rotten eggs. Unlike gasoline, propane cannot be ingested because it vaporizes when released from its container. Leaks do not form a puddle, but instead dissipate into air. Also, In contrast with gasoline’s ignition temperature of 430 to 500 degrees F, propane will not ignite until the air reaches at least 940 degrees Farenheit².
Compared to some heating oil and electric appliances, propane is a high performer that delivers outstanding value and comfort while reducing overall energy costs. Propane can fuel top-notch appliances that many modern homeowners demand today while keeping your monthly energy-consumption rate low.
Not only does propane do no harm to you and your family, it is friendly on the earth too. Since propane is a safe fuel it will not contaminate the soil, ground, or groundwater. Propane is an alternative fuel that is so clean it was approved under the Clean Air Act of 1990. It is low-emission, low-carbon and produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emission than most other energy sources³.
Propane is one of the most versatile fuels used today and can do much more than just heat your home and water. It can also be used for cooking and refrigerating food, drying clothes, starting fireplaces, and igniting barbecue grills. Propane is great for space heating and can work within a variety of heating systems including furnaces, boilers, hybrid heaters, zone heaters, and garage heaters too⁴. If you’re looking to warm your shower or wash the dishes, propane works with both tankless and storage water heaters⁵. according to Propane.com, 96% of professional chefs say they prefer using gas heat compared to electric. Using propane to cook delivers a more precise temperature control and helps retain more food moisture compared to electric units⁶.
How can I make sure my home is safe when using propane?
- ONLY use propane appliances for their original designed use.
- Never use cooking stoves for heating.
- Propane appliances should have proper circulation of air at all times. This includes making a path for easy access as well as clearing debris, snow/ice, and other appliances from the area.
Flammables & Explosives
- Keep flammable or explosive materials away from propane appliances and storage tanks.
- When using propane, the flame should burn blue in color. A yellow or orange flame may indicate poor ventilation or chance of combustion.
- Always maintain a fire extinguisher in your home.
- Clear the snow CAREFULLY. You should clear heavy snow and ice from regulators, regulator vents, piping, tubing, and valves. Failure to do so can cause damage that could result in a gas leak. Appliance vents, chimneys, and flues also must be kept clear of snow and ice so appliances can vent properly. Use a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging any components. Also, clear the walkway and tank area so that propane-company personnel have ready access to your tank.
- Avoid water damage. If flooding is predicted for your area, turn off the gas valve at the cylinder or tank BEFORE the water rises. Do not turn the gas back on until the gas system and all appliances have been checked by a qualified service technician. AFTER A FLOOD, contact Fsi Oil and Propane to check your propane system and appliances.
- Make sure things are correct afterwards. If your tank has shifted position; gas lines are bent, broken, or damaged; or you see something else unusual about your system or appliance, turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank (if it is safe to do so). Then contact your propane retailer or a qualified service technician⁷.
- Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) recommends that homeowners consider installing one or more UL-listed propane gas detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This is important if you or others in your home have difficulty smelling propane, or if appliances are in little-used areas of your home where the smell of propane might not be detected. Detectors can provide an additional measure of security. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, location and maintenance of your carbon monoxide or propane gas detectors⁸.
What if I smell propane?
- Do not turn any devices ON or OFF. This includes light switches, phones, computers, flashlights or appliances.
- Immediately instruct all inhabitants to leave the home or commercial building.
- Do not try to find the source of the leak.
- Use a phone or cell phone outside of the building/area that the propane was detected and notify Fsi Oil and Propane.
- If the propane is detected outside, move upwind from the location and call Fsi Oil and Propane and/or your local fire department.
If you have any questions about safety or the use or installation of propane please call us. Our knowledgeable and expert staff will immediately take care of your needs!