With summer on the way, there’s no doubt that you’ll be heading for the barbeque and some delicious grilled foods pretty soon. For most of us, propane powers our grills as it’s safe, economical, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. Whether you get it from a portable tank or it’s piped into your home, here are 5 Tips for Propane Safety to consider before you get started.
Look After Your Grill or Barbeque
Maintenance is important and clean equipment lean is key to ensuring optimal performance and safety. For more complex appliances and equipment, qualified service technicians can install, service, maintain, and repair them, and will conduct annual inspections to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Make sure your appliances have “breathing” room so that gases can clear your appliances or grills easily. Check vents and exhaust pipes for insects, birds, and small animals as they often like to make nests there, especially in the winter months or if a grill hasn’t been used in some time. Also, clear the general area around your grill so that there’s plenty of air circulation.
Fill Propane Tanks Properly
One of the great things about using propane tanks is that you can get them refilled quickly and easily when you need it. However, it’s important to remember the following:
- Don’t fill your own propane tanks – take them to a proper facility where a qualified person can fill the cylinder for you (most stores will take your empty one and provide you with a new, full one).
- Cylinders “expire” every 10 years – they must be inspected and re-qualified or fully replaced. Check the collar of your cylinders to ensure they’re not past their expiry date.
- Check your tank for rust or damage, as well as the hoses on your grill to ensure that there are no leaks.
- Don’t throw cylinders in the garbage! If you no longer need your tank, or you’ve purchased a new one, take your used items back to a store that sells propane so that they can properly dispose of, or recycle, them.
Transport Propane Tanks Responsibly
If you have to transport propane (most likely from the store to your home), keep these quick tips in mind:
- Disconnect cylinders and plug/cap all outlets before you take them anywhere.
- Keep the cylinder upright with the safety valve on the top.
- Don’t close the cylinder in your vehicle – the floor in front of the passenger seat is perfect, but if you have to use the trunk, pin it open for airflow.
- Never leave a cylinder in a parked vehicle with the windows closed – heat builds up quickly inside and can cause the gas in the cylinder to explode.
Store Propane Safely
While your tank isn’t in use, either over the winter months or between grilling sessions, here are a few storage considerations to keep in mind:
- Store outside in a well-ventilated, secure location (don’t put it in basement, garage, or shed).
- Don’t store in an area that gets very hot or is close to a stove or fireplace – the heat builds pressure inside the tank which may cause the pressure valve to release propane.
- If you have spare tanks, don’t store or place those under or near a barbeque.
- Close the valve tightly (even if the tank is empty) and ensure that the valve is protected (don’t rest anything on or around it to avoid damaging it).
Here are some last tips and considerations as you prepare for summer outside:
- Let children know that propane tanks aren’t to be played on or with, whether they’re in storage or connected to a barbeque.
- Paint your propane tank white or another light, reflective colour to prevent the tank from absorbing heat from the sun and increasing pressure in the tank.
- Keep your face away from valves as a sudden release of propane can cause serious injury.
- If you have piped propane and you smell rotten eggs or hear the hissing sound of escaping gas, it could be a leak:
- Stop what you’re doing – don’t use your cellphone or landline, don’t smoke, light matches, or operate electrical switches.
- Go outside and leave the door open behind you, as well as any windows that may already be open (don’t stop to open more).
- Call your propane provider or 9-1-1 and stay outside until you’re told it’s safe to return home.
Grilling is a great way to spend time with friends and family throughout the summer, so make sure you do so safely so you can focus on the fun! For more safety information, read our other post “Summer Home Safety Tips.”
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