Propane System Safety
In order to use propane safely, systems should comply with the following
- For most residential and some commercial applications, we will set a 500 gallon tank. 500-gallon tanks must be a minimum of 10’ away from any permanent structure, 10’ away from any ignition source (power meters, transformers, pool heaters…), 10’ from property lines, 25’ from fire pits or other open flames, 25’ from other fuel tanks (gasoline, diesel, heating oil…), and cannot be placed near septic systems, or under overhead power lines.
- Must have a tag indicating that the tank was designed to store propane. Some tanks were manufactured to store other products and could fail when propane pressures increase in the summer.
- Valves must be in good working order and should not leak. If the valves are not free and in good working order, they cannot be closed in the event of an emergency in the house.
- Gauge must work and be free of leaks. Without a working gauge, customer may run out or delivery person could overfill tank.
- Tank must sit level. If tank is not level, it may be more unstable and roll over.
- Tank must be painted a light reflective color. Tanks that are not painted a light reflective color are more likely to pressure up and release propane via the pressure relief valve.
IN MOST APPLICATIONS, TWO PROPANE REGULATORS ARE REQUIRED. ONE IS ON THE TANK, AND THE OTHER IS ON THE HOUSE.
- The regulator on the house cannot be within 3’ of any opening to the house, nor can this regulator be within 5’ of a source of ignition or intake to an appliance (furnace, water heater…). There are options that make it possible to place within these areas, but it does cost more because a vent line must be run from the regulator to a safe area. Regulators can vent propane if problems occur. If this propane vents in the wrong location, the propane could ignite.
- The regulator should be between 18” and 48” above ground. If the regulator is too low; dirt, water, and snow may affect the performance. If the regulator is too high; it becomes hard to service.
- The regulator cannot be any older than specified by the manufacturer. In most cases, we have to look at a code stamped on the regulator and compare it to a chart to determine when the regulator was made. As regulators age, the internal components may fail which could lead to excessive propane entering the home or business.
- The regulator should be protected from damage by external forces like cars or other implements.
- Piping must be large enough to supply propane to all of your appliances. One of the most common mistakes is to install line that is too small. This generally leads to one appliance failing when a second or third appliance operates. The only way to correct this is to install new piping. If your builder has any questions, please have them call.
- Piping must be the correct type. Piping comes in plastic, iron, copper… Each type has certain locations it can be used. Again, if you have questions, please call.
- Piping must be protected. Outside piping must be buried the appropriate depth (and in the case of plastic, it must have a metallic trace installed on top of it to be located later). Inside piping must be supported and protected from penetration by screws and nails at a later time.
- Each movable appliance must be connected via a flexible connector rated for propane use. Flexible connectors allow the appliance to be moved for service without jeopardizing the integrity of the piping.
- Every appliance must have a shut-off valve listed for propane that is accessible and within 6 feet of the appliance. A valve at each appliance allows the gas to be turned off at the appliance in the need of service and to allow the system to be tested.
- Every appliance (except ranges, clothes dryers, grills, and fireplaces) must have a sediment trap as close to the inlet of the equipment as practical. A sediment trap will catch any small particles in the propane before entering the appliance. This keeps the appliance operating correctly.
- Combustion Air Intake – Appliances that use propane must have sufficient air to mix with the propane to burn. Some appliances have intake pipes that run to the outside. Others get this air from inside the house. If this air is to come from inside the house there must be vents in the door or wall where the appliance is located. These vents allow the air to move from other parts of the house into the area where the appliance is located. Not having the appropriate intake venting can affect the efficiency of the appliance.
- Exhaust venting – This is a very complicated subject, and should be discussed with the installer anytime an appliance is replaced or when a roof is changed. We cannot start to cover all the variations on this site.
- We must do a leak test anytime there is an interruption in service. This includes if there is a change of residents or a run-out.