Whether you’re a year-round propane user or simply a summer BBQ fanatic, it is important to keep propane safety in mind at all times. This is still true even when your tank is not in use. For these occasions, it is crucial to properly store your propane tank. Here are a few safety tips to make sure your tank is stowed away correctly:
Where to Store Your Propane Tank
You should never bring your propane tank indoors for any reason. Storage, usage, refills, and inspections of your propane tank should all be done outside. It is only okay to store your propane tank inside if it is completely empty and purged of propane. Storing your propane tank inside can cause the temperature of your tank to increase and is extremely hazardous. Alongside this, you should store your propane tank in a dry, open, well-ventilated area. Do not store your tank in a garage, basement, shed or attic. Never leave your propane tank in your vehicle.
The best spot to store your propane tank is outside, on a flat surface, at least 10-feet away from other propane or grilling accessories and anything potentially flammable. If you have babies, toddlers or pets that could potentially access your tank outside, you should think about building a barricade around your propane tank with bricks or cinder blocks or storing on an outdoor shelf that has been mounted to a secure wall.
Stabilizing Your Propane Tank
Always keep your propane tank in a secure, upright position. This should be done when you are storing, using or transporting your tank. The best way to ensure that your propane tank remains in this position is to keep it stable using an EZGO® Propane Tank Holder and Stabilizer or a Tankfoot.
The EZGO® safely assists in the transportation and storage of 20lb, 30lb, and 40lb propane tanks. It uses its stabilizing “feet” to prevent sliding or tipping, especially during transportation. While you store your propane tank, the EZGO® will keep your tank off the group to prevent rusting. The Tankfoot is similarly designed to secure your 20lb, 30lb or 40lb propane cylinders in a safe, upright position. Keeping your tank in this upright position will help to ensure your tank does not receive any damage that could lead to leaks or other potential safety hazards. This position also prevents liquid propane from escaping your tank.
Check Your Propane Tank
Prior to putting your propane tank away in storage, you should have your propane tank checked. Propane is a highly flammable and combustible substance so it is crucial to make sure there are no leaks or other issues present. Just as you would store your tank, inspections of any kind should be done in a well ventilated, open area with no ignition source. If your propane is 10 years or older, bring it in for inspection. Even if there do not appear to be any issues present as it is no longer safe for usage or storage. Past 10 years your propane tank needs to be requalified. After this, your tank needs to be inspected and requalified by a professional every 5 years.
Your propane tank is only safe for storage after you have verified that it does not need to be requalified, there are no leaks and the propane levels are safe.
Checking for Leaks
When purchasing or re-filling your propane tank at a U-Haul store, a trained U-Haul team member will check your propane tank and all connection points for leaks with a special solution. If a leak is present, bubbles will form. If a leak is found, the trained U-Haul team member will turn the valve off and check the system. They will also bring your propane tank to a clear, well-ventilated area and call 911. When at home, you can also check your propane tank for leaks yourself using this special gas leak solution or a DIY solution of soap and water. Another sign of a leak is the distinct smell resembling rotten eggs. If you notice this smell or find a leak, ensure the propane tank valve is shut off, it is in a clear, well-ventilated area and alert the fire department.
Checking for Propane Overfill
An overfilled propane tank is another potential hazard, especially when your tank is being stored. When inspecting your tank for overfill, do not wear a nylon or other static materials. It is best to wear cotton clothing. You should also wear goggles and gloves for protection as propane is minus 50°F inside your tank. There are 3 simple methods to tell if your propane levels need to be adjusted:
- Pressure Relief Valve – Most U-Haul propane tanks come equipped with a pressure relief valve. If the pressure relief valve goes off, it could mean one of two things, each of which requires inspection by a professional. Either your propane tank is overfilled or there could be a change in elevation or weather.
- Leaking Signs – If you smell the distinct odor of rotten eggs, your propane tank is leaking, potentially due to overfill. Whatever the reason for this leak, call 911 and make sure the tank is in a clear, open area.
- Weigh Your Tank – Using the weight of your propane tank, you can calculate the amount of propane inside. All propane tanks have a tare weight, “T.W.” stamped on the collar. This number tells you how much the tank weighs when empty. Make sure your scale is properly calibrated and subtract the tare weight from the number of pounds your tank weighs. To convert to gallons, divide this number by 4.2 as one gallon of propane weighs 4.2 lbs. If this final number exceeds the allowed amount of propane in your tank, contact the fire department about your overfilled tank.