Every new propane user should make safety their priority. While few propane accidents actually occur, LP gas remains highly flammable. This is why propane installations are subject to various safety regulations or recommendations.
It is important to become familiar with propane installation safety advice; it is also easiest to rely on propane professionals to make the appropriate recommendations for your propane installation since they are familiar with regulations and guidelines on propane installation safety. Therefore, ensure you enquire as to each company’s safety record and procedures (maintenance, customer care, emergency services) when deciding on a propane retailer or requesting quotes from various propane companies to compare what they offer.
LP-Gas permit requirements
The most basic safety requirement for your tank installation is obtaining a tank permit. Your local fire department needs to know where your propane tank is located in case of an emergency, since propane is a flammable material. Applying for propane tank permits involve submitting a description and a drawing of your propane installation, as well as paying any relevant fees (usually between $25 and $50). Propane tank permits are valid for the lifetime of the tank and most propane companies offer to take care of permit applications for you. It is in your interest to check whether this is the case for the retailers that you are considering.
Tank distance requirements
Drawings submitted with propane tank permit applications are also required to ensure the tank will be installed in a location that complies with tank distance rules. For safety reasons (potential leaks, mostly), propane tanks must be located at a certain distance from sheds, buildings, playgrounds, parking lots, driveways, property lines, vents or windows around it. Distance rules differ depending on whether your tank is aboveground or underground and what its capacity is (smaller distances for smaller tanks) but the general rule is that propane tanks should be at least 10 feet from your house.
Installation tests and maintenance recommendations
New propane tank installations require a leak test to ensure your propane system is free of leak risks. Interestingly, such tests are also required if you run out of propane. Leaks are the most important cause of propane accidents since they can lead to a fire if close to a source of ignition or cause carbon monoxide intoxication since propane displaces air (and, therefore, oxygen). While propane is not toxic in itself, it is recommended that you have your entire propane installation checked once a year to avoid potential leaks and order repairs and maintenance if necessary.