Whether you are keeping several small propane cylinders on hand for your grill or RV or as an emergency fuel source for disaster preparedness, you will need to make sure you are storing and handling them safely. The following tips can help you maintain responsible storage of the tanks until you are ready to use them.
Tip #1: Store propane in a covered but ventilated area
Your basement, garage, or shed is not a good location for propane tank storage. This is because a leaking tank can fill the enclosed space with dangerous gas fumes. It's better to store the canisters outside in a protected area, such as by a garage overhang or on outdoor shelves that are covered to protect the tank from weather exposure.
Tip #2: Inspect tanks monthly
The general advice is to inspect your tanks each time you exchange or fill them, but this may not be often enough if you aren't emptying them on a monthly basis. What you are looking for is signs of tank damage – peeling paint, rust, and dents primarily. If you notice any of these issues it is time to exchange the tank for a new one; otherwise a leak could occur.
Tip #3: Test the valves
A leaking valve is one of the primary concerns with propane tanks. As a rule, the valves should close easily and tightly – they should not be difficult to turn, nor should they turn so easily it feels like they are never quite closed. The gauge on the tank should also be working properly, which means it must provide a reliable reading of how much propane remains in the tank. If the reading seems off – for example, if it shows as full when the tank is empty, it is time to have it replaced or repaired.
Tip #4: Learn leak-detection protocols
Checking for leaks is relatively simple and an important skill to know. If you suspect a leak when you open the valve for use, mix a small amount of water into some liquid dish soap to make a thin gel. Spread this gel on the connection between the tank and the valve, and then open the valve. If bubbles begin appearing in the gel, you have a leaking valve, and the tank or valve will need to be replaced.
Contact a propane gas dealer like Southall Gas LLC in your area for more help or to place a propane order.