Top 4 propane tips
Summer is the season for outdoor activities, but if you are using propane to fuel barbecues, heaters or fire pits, take care. Propane is highly combustible and there are some important propane use considerations to consider.
Keep A Distance
If you are using propane to fuel barbecues, heaters or fit pits, make sure the propane cylinder is located at least 3 feet from the building opening and 10 feet from a mechanical air intake. This is to minimize the danger of propane vapor entering the building due to a leaking valve or relief valve release. It’s also important to keep your propane-fueled items well away from any combustible materials such as fences, wood piles, vinyl siding, etc. Never change propane cylinders anywhere within 10 feet of a source of ignition and always have a fire extinguisher handy.
Use Safe Storage Practices
Care must be taken when storing used propane cylinders. This applies equally to tanks or cylinders that are full, partially full or empty. This is because, unless the vapor is completely purged with air or nitrogen, propane cylinders will contain residue of the previous contents, which can pose a fire hazard. Propane tanks and cylinders should never be stored indoors – this includes inside garages, storage sheds, marinas, boats, etc. Store these safely outside, or have the cylinders or tanks purged correctly before you store them.
Follow Manufacturer's Instructions
Appliances must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s certified installation instructions and with the CSA B149.1:20 Natural gas and propane installation code. For example, operating instructions for portable propane gas appliances, including barbecues, will indicate the appropriate distance the appliance must be kept from combustible surfaces. Ensure that you are following these instructions.
Keep in Good Repair
All propane cylinders must be re-certified every 10 years or they cannot be refilled. Check the date on the cylinder and its condition. If it’s dented or rusty, have it checked by your propane gas supplier before filling. Also, if you are transporting your propane cylinder, keep it secure, upright and in a well ventilated space at all times. Remember, propane smells like rotten eggs. If you suspect a propane leak, turn off the gas cylinder and the grill or portable appliance and have it serviced before reusing. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- Propane cylinders are a portable means of storing and transporting propane. Cylinders are regulated by Transport Canada and bear a TC stamp on the collar. Propane cylinders that are constructed to a TC-39M standard cannot be refilled. These are mainly used by campers and tradespeople.
- Propane tanks are larger and intended for more permanent storage installations. Tanks are regulated by provincial and territorial authorities, and have a stamped plate that shows a Canadian Registration Number (CRN).
- Propane cylinders and tanks must be equipped with a pressure relief valve that opens and closes to prevent excessive internal pressure due to abnormal conditions.
- An odorant called Ethyl Mercaptan which smells like rotten eggs is added to propane so that leaks are easily detected.
- Portable cylinders must be inspected and requalified every 10 years – it is against the law to fill an outdated cylinder. The requalification of a cylinder must be done by organizations certified by Transport Canada to do this work.
- Propane cylinders should never be thrown in household garbage or recycling containers for roadside pick-up – they can explode and cause serious injury! Instead, inquire with your local recycling depot about disposal options or contact your local propane supplier.