Without question, propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your Iowa home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required.
Besides making sure you get a professional evaluation of your appliances done, there are a number of safety tips you can follow on your own. Here is some advice from the Propane Education and Research Council:
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 (elderly relative, etc.), look into purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.
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 can create carbon monoxide. Contact your propane company for service if you notice a yellow flame or soot on your appliances.
If you need to move an appliance, contact your propane supplier or a trained professional to do this work. 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. Plus, always remember that any time you disconnect and then reconnect an appliance, a leak test must be performed to ensure that the fittings are secure. For the sake of safety, if you are renovating or otherwise need to move your gas appliances, please speak with your propane supplier first.
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.