Safety 1st. Safe Handling
Our Highest Priority.
Understanding your propane system.
It is important to become familiar with the parts of your propane system so that you can take quick and appropriate action in case of a leak or other emergency.
Propane is delivered to your home by truck (as a very cold liquid) and is pumped into a specially designed storage tank. The liquid changes into gas before it leaves the tank. Sparling's tanks are typically painted white (tan in some markets) to reflect heat and prevent the pressure inside the tank from getting too high.
If you have an underground tank, only the cover will be visible above ground.
The cover on top of the tank protects several components from weather and physical damage, including:
- The tank shut-off valve. You can close this to stop the flow of propane to your home, farm or business in case of a leak or other emergency.
- The regulator. This is pre-set controls the pressure of the propane gas coming out of the tank. Do not tamper.
- The safety relief valve. Designed to pop open automatically if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. The valve will close again when the pressure returns to normal.
- The tank gauge. Indicated the percentage of propane in the tank. Note: tanks are not filled above 80%.
- Propane flows from the tank through pipes, most of which run underground.
- You may also have a secondary pressure regulator on an outside wall of your home, farm or business to further adjust gas pressure.
- A shut-off valve in each pipe can be closed to stop gas flow to isolate each individual appliance.
- An appliance connector is the final segment in the gas piping system. This specially-designed flexible tube (typically 2 or 3 feet long) carries gas from a pipe to the back of an appliance.
Propane requires a large volume of air to burn properly. In fact, 23.5 cubic feet of air is required to burn just one cubic foot of propane. With adequate ventilation, an operating burner produces a number of harmless products such as carbon dioxide and water vapour. But a propane appliance starved of oxygen can quickly produce dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide (CO).
For safety's sake, use your propane appliance only for the purpose for which it was designed. For example: Do not use a cooking appliance as a space heater. Never use an un-vented heater even for temporary heating, in a residence, in an enclosed space, or any place where sleeping accommodation is provided (unless expressly permitted in your jurisdiction). Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning could result.
Never store propane cylinders indoors!
Always use a Regulator.
A regulator is located between the cylinder and the hose connection to the appliance. The regulator reduces the gas pressure from the cylinder and Maintains a Constant Pressure for delivery to an appliance.
A regulator should always be installed with its vent opening pointing downwards. Where neccessary, shield the regulator with a proper cover to prevent the entry of rain, freezing snow or other liquids. The cover will also prevent the ice build-up over the vent opening during the winter. A plugged regulator vent can cause excessive pressure resulting in high flames and explosions when the appliance is ignited or operating.
Propane gas detectors.
Under some circumstances, you may not smell a propane leak. Propane gas detectors are designed to sound an alarm if they sense the presence of propane. Their operation does not depend on the concentration of odourant in the air, just the propane concentration at the detector.
We recommend that you consider installing one or more propane gas detectors. This is important if you or others in your home have difficulty smelling propane, or if appliances are in seldom-used areas in your home where the smell of propane might not be detected. Detectors can provide an additional measure of security.
Detector Quality is Important:
- Be sure the units you buy are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Install and maintain detectors according to manufacturer's instructions to ensure detectors operate as intended.
Trust your Nose.
Never ignore the smell of propane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm to signal the presence of propane.
However, if a detector is sounding an alarm, treat the situation as an emergency. Act immediately, even if you do not smell propane.
Check your Propane System.
Even if you install gas detectors, have a qualified Sparling's technician inspect your propane system and propane appliances periodically.
Consider an annual maintenance program like 24PROPLUS™ from Sparling's.
Safe Handling of Propane Cylinders:
- Ensure the cylinder is secured in place.
- Always keep a cylinder upright.
- Never put a propane cylinder in an enclosed vehicle.
- When transporting, secure cylinder in an upright position to prevent tipping. If transporting in a trunk, block the trunk lid open.
- Cylinders are painted in light-reflecting colours (i.e. white, tan).
- If you must repaint your cylinder do not use a colour which absorbs heat (i.e. black, dark green). This could cause the propane liquid to expand and be released through the safety valve.
- Never take a propane cylinder indoors if it contains, or has contained, propane. This is dangerous and unlawful.
- When purchasing a new cylinder, be sure that it is the size that fits your appliance bracket and the cylinder valve connection is compatible with the connection type on your barbecue or appliances.
- Check that the cylinder valve is closed whenever the cylinder is not in use and before connecting or disconnecting the cylinder.
- Check that all valves on appliances are closed before connecting a cylinder.
Recertify or Properly Dispose of Outdated Propane Cylinders!
Refillable propane cylinders are used in many applications today. The most popular size is the 20-lb. propane cylinder used with many backyard barbecues. A propane cylinder must have a safety examination and be recertified at 10 year intervals, beginning from the date of the original manufacturer stamped on the collar of the cylinder. It is illegal to fill a propane cylinder older than 10 years that has not been recertified. Corroded or damaged propane cylinders could leak propane. Outdated relief valves may not operate as intended. Either of these conditions could lead to a fire or explosion.
If your propane cylinder is 10 years old, you, as owner, have one of two choices: disposal or recertification. If you wish to have your propane cylinder recertified, any qualified propane supplier will have the cylinder recertified and date stamped if the cylinder complies with the requirements. Your propane cylinder, when recertified, is good for another 10 years of service.
Do not attempt to dispose of your old cylinder by putting it in the garbage. Take your propane cylinder to Sparling's Propane for disposal.
Traveling with Propane. Some basic Safety Reminders.
- Camping heaters should only be used in a well ventilated area.
- Only appliances that are vented to the outdoors are appropriate for recreational vehicles.
- Before using any fuel-burning appliance, check for spider webs, dust and any other tiny bits of debris that can close burner ports and create a CO hazard and/or a fire.
- Read the manufacturer's labels, service instructions and operating directions carefully. Even if you have used an appliance 50-times, make sure you know exactly what it is intended to do, and how to operate properly.
- When buying new equipment, always look for the CSA International, Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (UIC), Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and the ETL (Warnock Hersey) symbol to ensure the product has been tested and complies with Canadian safety standards.
- Many cottages and hunting camp cabins are equipped with propane appliances. If you have a propane refrigerator, make sure it is being serviced annually by a certified propane technician. Servicing is important because lethal quantities of CO can be produced by a refrigerator flame that is improperly adjusted or partially blocked by dirt.
- Properly dispose of outdated propane cylinders.
- Information about Carbon Monoxide.
- Always check for leaks.
- Ensure the regulator is - or regulators are - properly installed.
- Propane connections are unique. Use the proper cylinder and fittings for the job.