Many types of appliances can run on propane and are fuelled directly through a gas service line from a large propane tank located on a residential property. Indeed, people use propane for central heating, water heating, pool heating, refrigeration, clothes drying, outdoor heating, cooking, generators, etc.
However, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) considers propane to be a hazardous material. Propane-related accidents rarely happen and this is because the strict rules established for propane handling and storage and the manufacturing guidelines for propane appliances are followed closely.
Propane appliance inspection and maintenance
The simplest way of ensuring propane appliances are working safely is to have them inspected regularly. This is why it is crucial, when asking for quotes from different propane companies as you select the one that best suits your needs, to take into account whether or not companies have an appliance inspection program.
Most companies have a propane system inspection program. However, it does not always cover what is inside the home. Yet that is where propane appliances are. Unless you know of a qualified service technician that can maintain appliances for you, it might be advisable to select a propane company that offers complete inspection and maintenance services.
The Gas Appliance System Check
Many companies use the Propane Education & Research Council and National Propane Gas Association’s GAS Check program. Although the Gas System Check program does not include appliances, the Gas Appliance System Check does.
With the Gas Appliance System Check program, propane company service technicians inspect and test appliances to ensure they do not pose a safety threat. This involves checking that each appliance can be shut off properly, that pilot lights burn adequately, that appliance venting systems are not blocked, etc.
Carbon monoxide intoxication
The highest propane appliance related risk is carbon monoxide intoxication. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is released when propane appliances are not functioning properly. Detecting carbon monoxide is made easier by having a carbon monoxide detector installed. You might also check whether you company sells them or can recommend a place where you can purchase one.
The other risk related to propane appliances is that if they are not fitted properly, or if they are tampered with, a propane leak might ensue. Propane leaks are very dangerous because propane is a flammable gas. The presence of propane can be detected by a specific detector and by its smell – a chemical is added to propane, giving it a very unpleasant odor and making it relatively easy to detect.