With camping and outdoor grilling season in full swing, many people use liquefied petroleum (LP) gas to run grills and power RV units. When it comes to LP gas, what you can’t see can be harmful, even volatile, if a tank or regulator begins to leak. Learn more about the properties of LP gas and know what to do if a leak occurs.
LP gas 101
LP gas, also referred to as LPG or propane, is invisible to the human eye and naturally odorless. Manufacturers add an identifying odor to the gas so a leak can be detected. Because LP gas vapor is heavier than air, it will sink to low-lying areas. If a leak occurs within a building or near an exterior door or window opening, the gas will seek the lowest level of the structure. In addition, it is highly flammable when it encounters an ignition source.
Replacing empty tanks on the grill
If an LP tank is used up during grilling, always wait until the grill is cool to replace the empty tank. Never attempt to change tanks and re-ignite the burner while the grill is still hot. Once the tank is replaced, check for connection leaks before using the grill. Remember, portable tanks should always be stored outdoors and the valves closed when not in use.
Responding to a gas leak
If an LP gas leak is suspected in the grill, shut off the gas valve on the tank immediately and do not operate the grill until you can confirm that no leaks exist within the gas line or gas connection. Leaks within the LP gas line or gas connections can be detected using a soapy water solution and an old paint brush or tooth brush. Follow these steps to check the line and connections:
1. With the cylinder valve shut and the burners in the off position, confirm that each connection is hand-tight.
2. Once the connections are secured, re-open the gas valve.
3. Check all bends within the gas line, pipe connections at the tank and the burners, and the additional sections of the gas line by applying the soapy water solution with the brush over each location. Bubbling at any point indicates a leak.
4. If the leak is near a connection, shut off the gas valve and attempt to tighten the loose connection. With the burners shut-off, open the valve again and recheck with soapy water. If the leak continues, consult your local gas supplier to determine further action.
5. If the leak occurs in the gas line, replace the gas line before further use. Check for potential leaks after the new line has been installed.
Contact your local LP gas supplier for additional safety information on storage and handling of LP gas.
Call us at Pardridge Insurance (815-758-4447) for any other insurance questions you may have.
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