How to check propane tanks to prevent an explosion
A simple spark or flame can start a chain reaction if you are not careful.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Propane is a highly flammable and explosive gas that can be very dangerous if not handled properly.
A Williamson County home was destroyed Friday morning when a propane leak caused an explosion, fire officials said.
Bad fittings and valves are the most common problems Vanessa Morrison said Guthrie’s ACE Hardware sees with propane tanks. A simple spark or flame can start a chain reaction if you are not careful.
Morrison said you can refill a tank about a dozen times before it starts to fail and becomes an explosion risk. Another common option for backyard grills is an exchange program where every new tank should have a blue cap.
“You want to make sure there is a blue cap that has not been removed,” Morrison said. “This way you know the tank has been fully inspected, that the tank is good, that the valves are good and the tank itself is full.”
A normal grill tank holds about 20 pounds of gas. Propane tanks for forklifts, food trucks and other uses can have more than 100 pounds of gas, Morrison said. It is very important to read the label on your tank to make sure it doesn’t get overfilled. You have to be extra careful with full tanks and store them outside because even a small leak can quickly build up and lead to an explosion.
“Make sure you are using the right propane tank for your grill,” Morrison said. “Make sure you are using chemical-resistant gloves when dealing with propane, even if it is just as simple as turning the valve on and off when you are grilling. Make sure your valve is always closed when it is not in use when you are not grilling. It’s always fine to double-check it. You can never be too safe when dealing with propane.”
The large propane tanks at Guthrie’s and used for full homes have multiple ways to stop a leak and emergency shutoff valves, Morrison said.
If you smell a leak, often described as a rotten egg scent, you should immediately call 911 and evacuate everyone from the area.
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