If you like going into the great outdoors, camping out or maybe just having a nice backyard barbeque party, you would have probably used propane for fuel. Propane is a fuel that is usually kept in tanks or metal canisters. They can be fitted into specialized stoves, grills and other cooking appliances so that you can have portable source of fuel while you’re out of the house.
As you might expect, propane is very volatile. Anything that can catch fire or make a fire bigger is considered to be volatile or somewhat dangerous when not handled carefully. This is why it is very important to know the do’s and dont’s when it comes to caring for your propane tanks. Here’s how you take care of propane tanks:
- Always store the propane tanks in the upright position. Most canisters and boxes would have an arrow and a label that reads “this side up”. The canister was designed to take the stress of the compressed contents in a certain way so it always has to stay in that upright position. The contents of the canister were inserted under immense pressure so having a propane tank stored in a different manner may compromise the structure of the canister and in effect make it less safe.
- Keep them in a dry place. While most canister are supposed to be stainless steel, exposing metal to water can be dangerous since water (or hard water for that matter) can corrode the canister and cause the material to rust. This would also make the propane tank unsafe to use.
- Do not subject the propane tanks to direct sunlight. Do not store them outside or put to them to close to other cooking stations. Heat can excite the molecules that are packed together inside the canister and can cause them to explode.
- Check for leaks before and after using the tank. If you can still smell gas long after your have turned off the valve, you may have to dispose of the canister immediately. Do not re-use the canister if it has this problem.
- Check the physical integrity of the tank and canister from time to time. Dents and deep gouges are breaches in the integrity of the structure so make sure that the propane tanks are still safe to use.
- Look at the safety precautions on the can’s label. This should guide you on the proper use of the propane tanks, the way you should store them and how you are supposed to dispose of them. The caution labels should also contain the red flag signs that must tell you that you’re already using a tank that needs replacement and disposal.
Propane tanks are generally safe but you still have to do the necessary precautions to make sure that you’re really doing everything to minimize the risk. Doing all these steps can easily reduce the risk by a huge deal.