Safety Tips: Propane

In one recent year, some 1,600 fires in American homes involved what most of us call “propane”: liquefied petroleum (LP). Grills, hot water heaters and stoves were the most common pieces of equipment involved in these fires. Forty-one people died and 260 were injured.

  1. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. If you use propane for your stove or oven, the tank must be mounted outside. Never use a propane grill inside.
  3. Don’t store or use propane cylinders larger than one pound inside your home.
  4. Have propane equipment inspected periodically for leaks or broken parts.
  5. Learn what propane smells like so that you can recognize a leak. Many retailers offer pamphlets with a scratch-and-sniff spot. If you use a lot of propane, you can also buy a leak detector.
  6. If you are inside and smell a leak, get everyone out of the building and call the fire department from your neighbor’s phone.
  7. If the controls in any propane appliance have gotten wet (during a flood, for example), they may have been damaged. Have them checked (and replaced, if necessary).
  8. If you use a propane furnace, find out how to clean it and follow the instructions.
  9. If you use a propane hot-water heater, drain it once in a while to get rid of sediment.
  10. For propane stoves, make sure the burner flames are blue. If they are yellow, have the stove serviced because air inlets or burners may be clogged or out of adjustment.
View this list as a PDF.