Propane Delivery Safety – Important Precautions to Take

Propane is a safe and convenient way to heat your home, hot water, and cook. You can easily order propane tanks from or other reputable stores and have them delivered to your home. But it can be dangerous if improperly handled.

Watch these helpful videos from the Propane Education & Research Council to learn more about propane tank safety, cylinder tank safety, gas appliance safety, carbon monoxide detection and other important topics.

Safety First

Propane is a safe and clean burning alternative to most other forms of home heating. However, propane delivery can pose safety concerns, like all heating fuels, if improperly handled.

Keep propane tanks and cylinders away from electrical sources, such as meters or outlets. A tank stored near an electrical source can absorb heat and increase the pressure inside, causing a sudden release of liquid propane gas from the safety relief valve, which could result in serious injury.

If a propane leak occurs, turn off any flames, and ensure the propane tank is closed. Then, call your propane supplier or 911. A qualified technician from or a similar company should inspect your system for additional leaks and ensure the gas flow is shut off at the tank. Also, remember that propane is flammable and should not be used in confined spaces. Always smell for a sulfurous odor, which is added to propane to help detect leaks.

Keep the Tank Secure

Propane cylinders are under extreme pressure, so you must keep them secure. Place your propane cylinder in a well-ventilated outdoor area away from other heat sources and combustible materials when not in use. Store it in an area that’s flat and not exposed to weather elements like snow or rain. If you store it in your garage, ensure it’s not blocking a window or door.

If you smell a propane odor or hear a hissing sound near your tank, turn off the valve and leave the area immediately. A gas leak is extremely dangerous and should be inspected by a qualified technician.

If you transport your propane cylinder in a vehicle, it should always be upright. Using a spray bottle filled with water and non-abrasive soap, test your cylinders, valves and connector hoses for leaks by spraying them. Bubbles will appear where there are leaks. If you see bubbles, tighten the valve and clean the hoses and tank connections.

Keep the Valve Closed

Propane is a cold, odorless, colorless gas that can cause frostbite or freeze skin if it comes into direct contact with the skin. It is usually transported and stored in a liquid form until it is turned into a gas inside a tank or cylinder. This gas is an asphyxiant and can kill if inhaled in large quantities.

To help prevent this, propane cylinders add an odorant additive to the gas to make it easier for people to detect a leak or spill. However, this odor can diminish over time due to rust and other conditions in tanks and cylinders.

Always keep the valve closed when using a propane tank until ready to use it again. This prevents air transfer into the tank, which can cause the valve to trip and open. When reopening the valve, turn it only about a quarter of a turn to start. After that, slowly reopen the valve the rest of the way.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

When propane turns to vapor, it expands 270 times its original volume. That’s why it’s important to extinguish open flames like candles and light fixtures and evacuate the area if you smell propane gas.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and flammable gas that can kill in high concentrations. The incomplete combustion of fuel-burning appliances, heaters, furnaces and engines produces it. It’s especially dangerous in winter because the odorless fumes can be trapped inside your home by snow or ice in chimneys and flues.

Purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors per the manufacturer’s instructions in rooms where people sleep, on each home floor, and near any fuel-burning appliance. Look for a detector intended for natural or propane gas use and with a combustible gas sensor. Clear a direct path to your propane tank after a snowfall, and periodically check your home’s vents for obstructions, such as animal nests. 


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