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Vital Leak Checks: Propane Tanks And Piping Systems

AdobeStock_305293269.jpegGetting a propane tank filled is a regular occurrence for schools, businesses and homes that rely on gas as an energy source. Although you might not consider a tank to be dangerous, leak checks are a necessity to ensure the integrity of both the tank and the entire gas system operating downstream from the tank.

The piping system must be checked for leaks when gas flow is restored after a service interruption. Regulations require a leak check for new systems, shutoffs or interruptions of service, and tanks that ran out of gas. This means the law requires a leak check if you install a new system, modify an existing system, run out of gas at any time, or have an interruption of service, such as turning off the main supply valve.  

Detected leaks must be repaired before filling the tank. While the related cost and time might seem inconvenient, you would be wise to consider the alternatives. The consequences of ignoring diagnosed leaks or skipping the leak check can be and often are catastrophic.

Three potential dangers of propane

Whether you monitor propane levels or spend time in a place fueled by the gas, severe injuries are a possibility. Some important facts about propane include:

  • Liquefied petroleum gas is stored under pressure and typically vaporized into propane before leaving the tank. When combined with oxygen, a spark in close proximity could cause a fire or explosion, destroying property and putting individual's lives at risk.
  • Although many people can identify propane by its rotten egg smell, you cannot rely on your nose to detect a problem. Upon dissipation of propane's concentration, its distinguishable odor additive becomes less noticeable. Meanwhile, old age, certain medications and cigarette smoke may mask the smell. Additionally, an underground propane leak can cause the gas to rise to the surface with the odorant additive filtered out by the soil, hiding the hazard.  
  • Exposure to propane can be detrimental to your health. In addition to dizziness, labored breathing and convulsions, propane exposure can be fatal.

Defects in a propane tank or gas system could result in catastrophic injuries and extensive damage. Therefore, a court may hold businesses and persons liable for failure to take necessary precautions to prevent or check for propane leaks.

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