A Beginner User's Guide To Propane And Propane Safety

Posted on: 15 June 2015

The majority of homes in the United States use some form of electric or natural gas heating, and therefore, you could spend the majority of your life living in homes that have nothing to do with propane gas or tanks. However, if you happen to become one of the 10 percent of people who uses propane for heating, cooking, or hot water  and you have had no experience, you will likely have several questions and concerns.  Here are a few of the most common questions about propane usage and safety and the answers you will want to know as an inexperienced homeowner.

Where does propane gas come from?

Propane is actually not produced as an intentional manufacturing or mining process, but is a result of other actions. Both natural gas harvesting and the refining of petroleum produce propane as a by-product, which is captured and then put to good use. This is part of the reason the same supply-and-demand rules do not always apply where costs are concerned with propane. 

Is a propane tank on your property dangerous?

Propane is stored as a liquid form in the tank until it is released through the valves that lead to your home. Even though the propane in the tank is kept at a specific pressure to keep it in a liquefied state, the tank is relatively safe to have on your property, and even leaking propane would not be as flammable as other gases. The tank itself is created with carbon steel and is at least 20 times more puncture resistant than many other types of fuel tanks. 

Is there a way to tell if the propane tank is leaking?

Propane gas itself would never be able to be detected visibly or by its odor because it is both invisible and odorless. However, ethyl mercaptan, which is a liquefied gas that smells similar to spoiled or rotten eggs, is added to the gas to give it a distinctive odor. Therefore, if you have a propane leak in your home or around your tank, you will definitely know it.

When you understand a little more about propane and propane storage, you may start to wonder why there are not more homes that rely on this energy source for heating. If you have any further questions about using propane for the first time, it is always a good idea to ask your preferred propane delivery company, such as Northwest Propane LLC, for insight.