Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can use in and around your Iowa home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your propane gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Also, be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.
Propane smells like rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray. Propane manufacturers add this smell to help alert consumers to propane leaks. If you have someone living in your household with a diminished sense of smell, such as elderly relative, look into purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security. Please visit our Propane Safety page to learn more about what to do if you suspect a gas leak.
When appliances operate properly, propane burns with a blue flame. If you see yellow flames—or notice significant amounts of soot on any equipment–the gas may not be burning completely. This situation can create carbon monoxide. Arrange for an inspection from a propane professional if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.
For the sake of safety, if you are renovating or otherwise need to move your propane gas appliances, please consult with a professional. This is not a do-it-yourself task—you may inadvertently damage the gas connector. Older connectors can easily crack if twisted, which can lead to a gas leak. Be aware that any time you disconnect and then reconnect an appliance, a gas leak test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure.
Regularly check the outdoor vents of your appliances to make sure combustion gases flow unobstructed to the outdoors. Insects, birds, and small animals have been known to build nests in vent pipes. To prevent any damage, use a broom or a soft brush to gently remove any obstructions you find in your vents.
More Tips to Be Safe at Home
Make sure that carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are installed on every level of your home, following manufacturer’s recommendations for placement and maintenance. Test your CO detectors every year and replace batteries at the beginning of each heating season. You should replace the whole CO detector every five or 10 years, depending on the type of unit you have.
If you have a propane backup generator, make sure it has enough fuel to run for at least a week in the event of a power outage. Run your generator periodically to make sure it is operating properly. This will also help critical moving parts remain lubricated. Be sure you follow a proper maintenance schedule for your generator also.
Never store portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.
Never use outdoor propane equipment (grills, portable generators, etc.) indoors. Carbon monoxide from these devices is a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard.