There’s a first time for everything and some people buy or rent a home that has a big propane tank in the backyard and they have no idea what to do. In truth, it’s almost exactly like natural gas or electric power with one major difference, propane power is delivered to you by a person, in a tank truck. There’s no need for concern. In fact, just view it as the gas company representative paying you a visit to check on everything and make sure your energy supply is adequate and your gas system is functioning properly. The first thing you should do is learn a little bit about propane. It’s just like electricity or natural gas – it can hurt you if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Leak tests are required any time there is an interruption of service meaning the flow of gas was stopped for any reason. NFPA 54 (2006), 8.2.3 states that “Immediately after the gas is turned on into a new system or into a system that has been initially restored after an interruption of service, the piping system shall be tested for leakage. If leakage is indicated, the gas supply shall be shut off until the necessary repairs have been made”.
Propane companies hear this more often from residential consumers during periods of cold weather. During abnormally cold weather consumers tend to keep heat on and doesn’t always mean there’s a gas leak. If you smell propane, get out of your house and call your propane company immediately.
A common question propane dealers hear when customers have a leak is “how much gas did I lose?”. The answer is usually not that much. In reality, a small leak on a tank will result in the loss of a maybe a gallon of propane over a considerable period of time. However, all questions about leaks should be directed to your propane company.
For more information you can also go to www.propane101.com.