When many people think of propane, they may think of gas leaks and explosions. While these are very real dangers when it comes to handling propane (or any gas for that matter), there are steps that can be taken to decrease these risks and make propane a great source of fuel for your home.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when propane isn't able to properly combust or there is a gas leak. Improper combustion happens when the three requirements for combustion aren't available: air, an ignition source, and fuel. A gas leak can occur for a number of reasons, though a damaged storage tank and a poor connection between the tank and the appliance are the two most common.
Propane is an odorless gas meaning it can be difficult to immediately detect, but there are a number of safety measures that can be taken to prevent carbon monoxide buildup from occurring. These include reading the instructions of all propane-using appliances, such as generators and heaters, and having your heating systems serviced every year by a professional.
It's also important to have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor within your home. These devices alert you to a buildup of carbon monoxide and allow you to safely evacuate your home in time.
Fires and Explosions
The most common cause of a propane explosion is related to a gas leak and subsequent buildup of the gas, though excessive overheating of the tank can also pose a risk.
There are, on average, 7,000 gas grill fires every year causing many to be wary of propane and its use as a fuel source. By following proper safety procedures, however, propane can be a safe and effective gas for your summertime grilling. It's important to ignite the grill immediately following the release of gas, so as to avoid a buildup of the flammable substance. Other safety steps include following the instructions exactly that are listed on the tank and inspecting your tank for leaks before each use.
Why Propane is Still a Good Option for Your Home
While the dangers associated with propane can make many homeowners wary of its use, propane is still one of the cleanest, most affordable, and most abundant gases available for energy purposes.
With proper handling of storage tanks and connection lines, and with proper education on dangers associated with propane tanks and how they can be avoided, the risks associated with the use of propane are minimal. To learn more about propane and how your home can benefit from its use, contact an HVAC contractor to discuss all of your options.