Propane Safety and Preparing for Winter Snowfall
There’s no time of the year where having access to clean, reliable, economical heat is more important than in the winter. Fortunately, propane is one of the most affordable, flexible, efficient, and environmentally friendly fuel sources on the market.
Since 1941, Heller’s Gas has served customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond and is proud to offer automatic delivery, tank monitoring, live customer service agents, online portal, and much much more! We know that questions often arise about propane safety when snow starts to fall, so we’ve prepared some simple advice that will help protect you and your loved ones when winter’s worst hits.
4 Winter Safety Tips for Propane Users
1. Mark Your Tank
Depending on where your propane tank is located, it’s not uncommon it to become partially or fully covered by snow during a winter storm. Even if not completely buried, it can be surprisingly easy to lose track of where exactly your tank is.
This can be a real problem when you need to remove accumulated ice, make an adjustment, or schedule a fill. That’s why Heller’s Gas recommends customers mark the location of their tanks with a tall, brightly colored flag, stake, or pole ahead of the storm.
2. Inform Plow Operators
Although propane is one of the safest fuel sources available, it can still pose a danger when treated irresponsibly. That’s part of why marking the location of tanks is key to propane safety.
It’s also why it’s a good idea to inform local snowplow operators and any contractor you employ to clear snow from your property that you use propane and note where your tank is located.
3. Shovel a Path to Your Tank
If you are scheduled to get a fill during or after a snowfall, kindly shovel a path to the tank for our delivery drivers. If you are not able, please inform our office before the driver arrives.
4. Remove Ice & Snow with Care
It’s important to keep your tank free of ice and snow to ensure deliveries can be made, but there are also scientific reasons that make this a top priority.
Since propane tanks are pressurized containers, a collision with one can be hazardous, as described above. Also, leaving tanks covered can cause the propane inside to contract, resulting in pressure loss and poor performance. Finally, ice and snow can damage the valves, vents, piping, and regulators. After heavy snowfall, carefully remove any accumulations on or around your tank. Beware of snow and ice falling onto your tanks from your roof. Use care around your tank to prevent damage.
Heller’s Gas Helps You Heat Your Home
As a family-owned business, Heller’s Gas has always prioritized the care and well-being of our customers. You can rest assured that our experienced and professional employees take propane safety seriously. Whether you’re switching to propane or are a long-time propane user, Heller’s Gas has you covered!
6 Steps to Take If You Smell Propane
Should you ever experience a gas leak, you’ll quickly find out that propane has a very unpleasant smell. One moment, you are relaxing with your family and watching TV, when all the sudden you notice the distinct smell of rotten eggs. This smell is a warning signal that your propane may be leaking into your home or business.
Gas leaks, as rare as they are, always have a chance of occurring. They can happen as the result of damage during construction, faulty appliances, and leaky or cracked pipes. Allowing your tank(s) to run out of gas can also create the potential for a gas leak to happen. Tampering with propane equipment or appliances, modifying or repairing valves, and generally messing around with your propane tank or distribution system are other potential causes of gas leaks.
Propane has a strong, unpleasant scent reminiscent of rotten eggs or skunk spray. In its natural state, propane gas is odorless. Propane manufacturers intentionally add Ethyl Mercaptan to propane specifically to produce the smell of rotten eggs. This is so the customer will become alerted to any gas leaks almost as soon as they happen.
Should you smell rotten eggs or suspect a gas leak, immediately contact us at Heller’s Gas by calling 1-800-422-0560 to report a gas leak. Our customer service and support is unmatched.
What to Do If You Smell Propane Gas
Should you notice a propane smell in your house or near your tank(s), follow these guidelines to ensure your own safety and that of others.
- No Flames or Sparks – Immediately put out all smoking material and other open flames. Do not operate lights, telephones, or cell phones.
- Leave the Area Immediately – Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
- Shut Off Gas – Turn off the main gas supply valve on your tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
- Report the Leak – Your safety is our priority. Go to a neighbor’s home or nearby building away from the gas leak. Once you are at a safe location, call us at Heller’s Gas (1-800-422-0560) to report the leak. If for any reason you cannot reach us, call 911 or your local fire department.
- Do Not Return to the Building or Area – Stay away from the source of the leak until a Heller’s Gas technician or fire service personnel determine that it is safe to return.
- Get Your System Checked – Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, Heller’s Gas must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free. We offer a propane tank monitoring service to ensure all remains safe with your propane tank as you use it. If we detect any problems, assist as quickly as possible.
Call Heller’s Gas to Report Propane Tank Issues
While gas leaks are rare, they can happen to anyone. If you smell propane, or you suspect there is some other safety issue with your propane tank or distribution system, do not hesitate to contact us at Heller’s Gas. We are committed to your safety and satisfaction!