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.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you use propane for your stove or oven, the tank must be mounted outside. Never use a propane grill inside.
- Don’t store or use propane cylinders larger than one pound inside your home.
- Have propane equipment inspected periodically for leaks or broken parts.
- 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.
- If you are inside and smell a leak, get everyone out of the building and call the fire department from your neighbor’s phone.
- 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).
- If you use a propane furnace, find out how to clean it and follow the instructions.
- If you use a propane hot-water heater, drain it once in a while to get rid of sediment.
- 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.