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Important Flooding & Propane Safety Tips Learn more Press Release from the Iowa Propane Gas Association Read Now

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What the Color of Your Propane Gas Flame Means

Your Propane Gas Flame Should Always Be Blue

propane iowa Whichever the propane gas appliance we’re talking about in your Iowa home, the color of its propane gas flame should always be blue. Here’s why.

When the ratio of fuel to air is correct, there is enough oxygen for complete combustion of propane. Complete combustion results in a blue flame, which means that your propane gas is burning at its full heat, so you aren’t wasting any expended energy.

What Do Yellow or Orange Gas Flames Mean?

Orange or yellow propane gas flames mean that the propane is not being completely burned. When these color flames occur on the burners of a propane cooktop, for example, the cause is usually related to a gas burner being out of adjustment or from blockages in the air inlet, such as from burnt food particles.

This results in decreased fuel efficiency. In complete combustion with a blue-colored flame, the temperature of a propane flame is 3,596° F.

However, with a yellow or orange flame, the flame’s temperature decreases to 1,832° F. That’s why the color changes. With only about 50% of the heat energy now at your disposal, you’ll probably notice difficulties caused by uneven temperature when cooking. For example, you likely won’t be able to achieve even browning or searing when cooking a meal.

This same inefficiency will result in higher energy bills if a yellow or orange flame is present in your home’s heating or water heating system. It will become quite frustrating if you’re trying to wash clothes, cook, bathe, clean or heat your home using only half of propane’s potential power.

Even more importantly, either yellow or orange flames can pose a safety risk. The incomplete combustion that causes these off-color flames can lead to carbon monoxide getting released into your home.

So, if you’re seeing yellow or orange flames, or notice a build-up of soot or carbon around your gas burners, contact your propane service contractor as soon as possible and get the problem corrected.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness and Safety Tips

While a yellow or orange gas flame may give you a clue that there is a potential carbon monoxide problem in your home, that’s an exception rather than the rule.

This is because carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible gas that you cannot see or smell. Because of this, it’s what you feel more than anything else that can alert you to a problem.

However, because many CO symptoms mimic the flu—fatigue, dizziness, nausea—most people initially don’t recognize the danger right away.

That’s why it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home—especially in your bedrooms. If the detector sounds an alarm, ventilate the home with fresh air right away. If you feel dizzy or drowsy, leave the house immediately.

Identifying carbon monoxide leaks can be difficult sometimes because there are various causes, including a blocked flue or vent, backdrafts, leaving a car running in an attached garage and malfunctioning gas appliances.

All these situations could set off a CO detector, but conditions may change by the time a propane service technician arrives, which can make proper diagnosis difficult. You can help by sharing as much information as possible so the source of the problem can be identified correctly.

Stay Safe at Home

Safety remains the top priority for everyone in the propane industry. Your Iowa propane company wants you to remain safe at all times and works hard to share important safety information with you on a regular basis. Please view some propane safety videos.


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