fbpx
Banner

Why You Can’t Aways Smell Propane Gas

propane north carolina You can always rest easy knowing that propane has a remarkable safety record, thanks to stringent codes and regulations developed by the propane industry and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

But it’s always a good idea to review some safety protocols from time to time, especially with topics that are sometimes overlooked. For instance, do you know the reasons why you can’t always smell a propane gas leak?

In its natural form, propane is odorless, but manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it a strong unpleasant smell. This odorized propane is usually described as something similar to the odor of rotten eggs or a skunk’s spray.
However, there are situations that may prevent you from detecting that odor. Sometimes, conditions in your home – or in your body – can make it harder to pick up propane’s scent.
Commonly known as “odor loss,” this can be caused by:

With all this in mind, it is important to take these two precautions for propane leaks that may otherwise go undetected.

  1. Install a propane gas detector (or detectors, depending on the size and layout of your home). A propane gas detector is an inexpensive but vital piece of safety equipment; follow manufacturer’s instructions for placement and maintenance.
  2. When in doubt, follow propane safety procedures. React immediately to even the faintest propane odor, following propane safety measures to get your family to safety.

What to Do if You Smell Gas

If you ever think you smell propane gas in your home or the area around any gas equipment, or if a propane gas alarm signals the presence of propane, you should do the following right away:

Don’t Take on Any Repairs Yourself

In this digital age, the initial response to solving a problem is to go online and do research. That’s why do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are such a big trend these days. It seems like people of all ages and skill levels are checking out You Tube videos for a quick-fix way to heal whatever ails their North Carolina home.

But what those videos don’t usually show is what happens when that amateur repair doesn’t go as planned. Over the years, there have been some costly—and even dangerous consequences. That’s especially true when someone starts tinkering with gas appliances. Don’t do this!

Propane repairs present unique challenges that often require extensive training and expensive diagnostic equipment to assess and fix.

Attempting to fix or modify a propane appliance can cause severe damage and lead to dangers like explosions or carbon monoxide leaks.

The bottom line: If you need a propane repair, don’t attempt to do it yourself–contact your propane company or a licensed HVAC service provider. These professionals have the training, experience, and tools to find and fix your problem quickly, correctly and safely so you can focus on the things that matter in your life – like having fun with your family.

To sum up, propane is one of the safest fuels you can choose for your North Carolina home. But to stay as safe as possible, you should always pay close attention to the operation of your gas appliances. The best way to keep all your propane equipment running properly is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance. Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for what’s required and then get in touch with a propane pro if you have any concerns.

Don’t Use Portable Tanks That Have Been Damaged

grill tank safety north carolina Natural disasters such as hurricanes can result in the exposure of propane cylinders to a variety of hazardous conditions. This includes submersion in floodwaters, impact from flying debris, damage from toppling over, and exposure to foreign contaminants like mud, sewage, oil and grease.

Obviously, any damage can affect the safe operation of propane cylinders and related equipment. Keep in mind that the cylinder contents are stored under pressure, which can cause the contents to leak if the container or related equipment is damaged.

Cylinders that have been damaged or leaking can pose serious hazards and must be addressed only by trained emergency responders with HAZMAT training or the cylinder supplier. You should never try to vent or even handle cylinders that you suspect have been damaged.

Contact information for the cylinder supplier is listed on the cylinder label. If a label is not present, the cylinder neck ring can be used to find the cylinder supplier.

Can I Leave My Propane Tank in the Rain?

Don’t worry. Your portable propane cylinders—also called tanks or bottles– can certainly stand up to all the rain showers we get during the spring and summer. That’s good news, because you should never store propane tanks of any size in any enclosed environment, including a shed, garage, or your home.
When high winds are involved, however, you need to secure your portable tank outside as best as you can to prevent it from becoming a dangerous flying projectile during a hurricane.

If you live in a flood zone, even large stationary propane tanks should be anchored securely to avoid potentially dangerous situations. This is required by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Your North Carolina propane supplier can give you further advice on this.

Safe Handling of Portable Propane Cylinders

These are important safety tips you should follow year-round.

Remember: propane cylinders incorporate special components such as valves, connectors, and other parts to keep them safe for use with grills and other propane appliances. Damage to any of these parts can cause a gas leak. Don’t risk it! Contact your local propane company for help.

How Many Gallons of Propane Is in a Grill Tank?

Grill cylinders are typically referred to as 20-lb. tanks, but for safety reasons, they should never be filled to full capacity. Twenty pounds of propane is the equivalent of 4.6 gallons of propane.

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, a “full” tank for your grill contains only about 80% of liquid propane gas to allow space for when the liquid inside warms and expands. There is an Overfill Prevention Device (OPD) built into the cylinder’s valve that will limit the fill to a little less than 20 pounds.

Safety Tips for Grilling

You’ve connected your cylinder to your propane grill, and you’re all set to get down to cooking a meal for your family and friends. That’s great, but as you do that, please keep these five safety tips in mind.

  1. Keep your grill at least six feet away from your home and position it on sturdy and level ground.
  2. Never leave the grill unattended.
  3. Never light a gas grill with the lid closed. To light your grill, open the lid before turning on the gas. If the grill doesn’t light after a couple of clicks, turn off the burner, turn the gas off at the tank, and wait 5 or 10 minutes before attempting to light it again. If you still have trouble, it’s time to call in a propane pro for help.
  4. Close your grill lid quickly to extinguish small flare-ups. It’s also a good idea to have a portable fire extinguisher or fire blanket nearby—just in case.
  5. Never attach or disconnect a propane tank or adjust fittings while the grill is running. If you run out of gas while grilling, turn off all the burners, reconnect the new tank, and re-light the grill.

Read more propane safety tips and watch consumer safety videos.

When the Power Goes Out, Propane Steps In

propane north carolina All of us have experienced quite a few uncomfortable power outages in North Carolina over the years. In preparation for these disruptions, some folks keep small portable generators in their garage for power outage emergencies. But these units have the capacity to deliver only a limited amount of power. They can also be dangerous if not vented properly and keeping them adequately fueled can also be an issue.

In comparison, a whole-house backup propane generator allows you to enjoy all the comforts of home and keeps you safe anytime power is interrupted. With a propane-fueled standby generator, your power will restart automatically within seconds after an outage, and it will stay on until power is restored—all without the work involved with running a portable generator.

Permanently installed outside your home, much like an air conditioning condenser unit, and connected to a propane tank, generators are available in a variety of capacities to fit the needs of any size home in North Carolina.

Protect your Home Comfort

With a propane whole-house backup generator, you’ll get through a summer outage with your air conditioning keeping the house cool. If you lose power in the winter, your home will stay at a safe, warm temperature so you and your family will be comfortable.

Protect Vulnerable Loved Ones

Is there someone in your home who relies on medical equipment such as oxygen, home dialysis, or an electric wheelchair? A propane whole-house backup generator keeps their vital equipment running.

Protect Your Food

Some of the food items in your refrigerator can begin to spoil in just a few hours after the power goes out. You could end up throwing away hundreds of dollars’ worth of food from your refrigerator and freezer without a propane whole-house backup generator.

Keep Your Electronics In Use

A backup generator powers your laptop, mobile phones, TV, gaming system and more. You can work safely from home; you and your family will stay entertained, and you can stay connected online with loved ones and the world outside as you await updates on restored power.

Choosing the Right Size Generator

When it comes to whole house generators, it’s critical to identify your specific comfort needs up front. The size of a whole house generator depends on what you intend to operate during an outage. Electrical appliances in your home tend to fall into two categories:

Generators range quite a bit in size – and price – depending on which and how many in each category of the appliances listed above you want or need to operate when the power is out. A small, 5-kilowatt (kW) unit, for example, can operate power essentials such as lights, a refrigerator, a TV and other small appliances.

A large, 25-kW generator on the other hand, can easily run high-wattage heating or air conditioning units while still being able to turn on lights and appliances. Depending on what other high wattage appliances are being run, a 25-kW generator may only be able to power one cooling system, so it is best to consider what you want your generator to accomplish.

If you don’t have a propane generator yet and would like to explore your options, reach out to your North Carolina propane company for advice. Since whole house generators need to be connected to both your home’s electric supply and a fuel source, you’ll need certified professional technicians to make sure the job is done safely – and done right. Your propane company can probably refer you to a trusted professional who can handle all aspects of the project.

What to Do If You Smell Propane Gas and More

propane safety north carolina First and foremost, rest assured that propane has a remarkable safety record, thanks to stringent codes and regulations developed by the propane industry and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Your North Carolina propane company also complies with all state regulations that require periodic testing and training. These North Carolina propane professionals invest time and money to ensure the safety of their customers and everyone else who relies on propane.

With all that said, you should never take safety for granted and you need to know what steps to take if a problem should occur.

What to Do If You Smell Gas

While propane is odorless, manufacturers incorporate an odor into it to alert homeowners in case of a gas leak. Many people say the odor smells like rotten eggs or the spray from a skunk.

If you think you smell propane gas in your home, camper, RV or the area around any gas equipment, or if a propane gas detector alerts you to the presence of propane, you should IMMEDIATELY follow these steps.

If at any time you have safety concerns, remember that your propane service company is well trained and properly equipped to visit your home and address the situation.

To keep any safety issues to a minimum, your propane company recommends that you schedule a service visit from a licensed propane contractor at least once a year so that all your propane tanks and appliances can be checked—and repaired if necessary.

What to Do If a Storm Is Forecasted

Do the following if severe weather is forecast.

Steps to Take After the Storm

Other Reminders for Staying Safe with Propane.

Do you want to learn more about propane safety? The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has produced short videos to help you be better informed about propane safety. View our PERC propane safety videos.

No Flue or Chimney Is Required

gas fireplaces north carolina Many homeowners in North Carolina today choose to add a propane gas fireplace for both comfort and ambiance. Propane fireplaces are easier to install than wood-burning models. Plus, attractive realistic flames bring warmth and coziness to a living space, increasing a home’s value. And many models can operate during electrical power outages, providing a critical source of heating to the home.

Among the different models you can choose from are what’s known as a ventless fireplace–also referred to as an unvented or vent-free fireplace. Here’s how it works.

Propane gas flows into a gas burner mounted in the fireplace. This is a specially designed burner that burns the gas cleanly, leaving behind almost no exhaust. This is also how a propane gas stove in your kitchen works.

When ignited, the flames run through gaps in artificial ceramic fiber logs, providing you with the illusion of a real wood-burning fireplace.

One popular application is the vent-free gas fireplace log set, a self-contained system that can be installed in walls or even open areas, with no outlet to the outdoor air. These gas log units can also be installed in place of old and unused wood-burning hearths that connect to a chimney but where the flue has been sealed shut.

A ventless gas fireplace is a great choice if you are looking for the highest heating efficiency possible. As its name implies, this type of fireplace is not vented to the outside. Because of this, all the heat produced is contained in the living space. Ventless fireplaces are more energy efficient than vented fireplaces because no heat escapes up the flue, so you’ll save money on fuel.

Pros and Cons of Ventless Gas Fireplaces

If you decide on a propane gas fireplace insert in your existing masonry fireplace, you need to decide whether to get a vented or vent-free model. Efficiency, fireplace location, local building codes, and appearance of the fireplace are all considered before the gas fireplace installation.

If you choose vented gas logs, you’ll see a lifelike flame that is comparable to a genuine wood fire. However, to get this look, an open chimney flue or damper is required, and a lot of the generated heat will escape through these venting outlets.

With vented gas logs, you’ll have excellent energy efficiency, but the flame may not be as lifelike or powerful. The result: it doesn’t provide quite the same level of warmth. A thermostat regulates the temperature in vent-free log sets to maintain a constant environment. Because vent-free gas logs introduce moisture to the air, adequate ventilation is necessary to prevent mold and mildew growth.

And because vent-free gas logs do produce a small quantity of exhaust into your indoor environment, they are not appropriate for bedrooms or other small, closed spaces like bathrooms or RVs. Vent-free gas logs are also prohibited in some local building regulations. Before going ahead with your ventless gas fireplace installation, you need to confirm that vent-free gas logs are permissible in your community.

Propane Gas Fireplaces vs. Wood Fireplaces

If you’re on the fence about the purchase of a propane or wood burning fireplace, keep the following in mind.

Convenience. With a propane fireplace unit, all you need to do is touch a button or flip a switch for heat on the spot. Whenever you do that, consider all the time you have saved by not having to haul wood to your fireplace—not to mention cleaning out the ashes later. Also with a propane fireplace, when you’re ready to leave the room, it’s just as easy as starting the fire. Just turn off the fireplace. That’s it. No smoke, no dangerous embers, no ashes, no soot, no problem.

The environment. Propane carries a smaller environmental footprint and produces fewer particulate emissions and less carbon monoxide than wood-burning units.

Efficiency and availability. Propane fireplaces are more efficient than wood-burning units, and they run on a home heating fuel that’s readily available even in the many rural areas of our state.

Read more about propane vs. wood as a heating source.

How to Avoid the Cost of an Empty Propane Tank

propane runout north carolina Have you ever experienced all the hassles and expenses that come into your life when you run out of propane? If you said yes, you know it is a situation you want to avoid repeating at all costs. If you said no, here’s what you’ve been missing.

When a propane tank gets empty, you simply can’t just have it filled again with propane and go on your merry way. Running out of propane is a serious and costly situation that can cause all kinds of problems– and potential dangers – for you and your family in your propane-powered home.

For starters, you will have to arrange for an emergency propane delivery, which costs more, compared to a regular scheduled delivery.

Your propane company also has to do a system leak test whenever a tank runs out of propane. Safety codes require your propane supplier to perform this gas leak test before refilling your tank and relighting your appliances. Here’s why.

When there is propane in your tank, there is constant pressure in the system; when the amount of fuel goes down, so does the pressure. Loss of pressure can cause leaks because of the expansion and retraction of the piping compound in the propane system. Whenever there is an interruption in service—such as running out of propane—a pressure test will reveal any leaks in the piping, which we will then be corrected. Be aware that your propane company needs to charge you for this important service.

Here is another problem a propane run-out may cause. Pilot lights on your propane appliances will go out if your propane tank is empty because there is no gas to keep them lit– a dangerous problem if not handled properly.

Working with Your Propane Supplier for Deliveries

Getting propane delivered to your tank whenever you need it may seem easy. But for propane suppliers, planning is more complex, and the process often begins a year before deliveries even reach customers.

Knowing the volume of fuel that each customer will need represents a key component in creating a supply plan, which includes storing away enough fuel. Customers can help by contacting their propane dealer before winter arrives to discuss their anticipated propane needs.

Propane Delivery Services in Noth Carolina

Your propane dealer is committed to supplying you with reliable propane delivery throughout the year.

Many of North Carolina’s propane companies offer a solution with their automatic delivery service, which often may be combined with a wireless propane tank monitor. Propane companies can track propane usage and schedule a delivery to your home before you run low.

If your local propane company doesn’t offer automatic delivery, or if you prefer the control of calling in your delivery order, you need to be vigilant about monitoring your propane tank gauge levels and request your delivery when your tank is between 25% and 30% full.

While your propane supplier may be able to make a delivery within a day in cases of extreme emergency, it is always best to provide a few days’ notice. This advance notice is necessary for scheduling your home into a delivery route.

Please check with your propane supplier to find out what services and options they offer. Find propane companies near you.

Products Used to Create Renewable Propane Gas

renewable propane north carolina While it is not in common use yet, renewable propane gas has positioned itself to be a major part of the clean fuel conversation in the years ahead.

Since it is molecularly identical to propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment. As usage of renewable propane increases, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, making a big difference in the battle to mitigate the effects of climate change.

So how is it made? While conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, renewable propane is a non-fossil fuel produced at biofuel facilities from renewable biomass-based feedstocks.

Reducing Landfill Waste

Many of these feedstocks are what most people would consider waste products. For example, production of renewable propane diverts used cooking oil and meat fats from languishing in landfills. In 2018, in conjunction with biofuel production, renewable propane production used the following as feedstocks:

That’s a lot of waste being put to good use! Here’s a closer look at some of the common feedstocks used in the production of renewable propane gas.

Achieving Negative Carbon Intensity

Current research could bring us to a place where renewable propane produces net-negative carbon emissions. One of the most promising ways for reaching this goal is with dimethyl ether (DME). Researchers can now synthesize this biogas from animal waste. This prevents the release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the product can be blended with propane.

Renewable Propane Production

The 200,000 tons of American renewable propane currently made is only about 0.1% of total propane production. The good news is that there is tremendous potential for growth as more resources are dedicated to renewable propane production. Also, since renewable propane is a coproduct of biofuel, they will scale up together.

Read more about renewable propane gas.

New Law Protects Right to Choose Your Heating Source

gas stoves north carolina A few months ago, North Carolina became the 25th state in the country to pass legislation protecting the rights of consumers to choose their heating source.

House Bill 130 prohibits local governments from banning any service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered, including propane. For example, the new law safeguards continued access for the installation and use of gas appliances, such as those used for space heating, water heating and cooking.

Why was this law necessary? Well, dozens of communities have been changing their building codes in the past few years to ban gas hookups in new residential and commercial buildings.

Momentum for this movement gained more steam when New York recently became the first state in the country to ban fossil fuels in most new buildings—including natural gas and propane gas stoves and furnaces. Under this new measure, New York will require all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and in taller buildings by 2029.

Government leaders in New York and elsewhere have decided to aggressively promote electricity as the only clean energy solution. They do this at the expense of traditional proven fuels like propane, natural gas and heating oil.

Unfortunately, they also ignore the environmental value of low-carbon propane, which your local propane supplier delivers right now, as well as the promise of renewable propane in the near future.

Fighting against climate change by lowering emissions requires a sensible approach to energy policy— not one that tries to force homeowners and businesses who like propane to switch to electric heating. We should all be pleased that that our leaders in North Carolina are keeping us on track to incorporate a balanced and clean energy plan for our state.

Propane vs. Electricity: Which Is Cleaner?

Clean-burning propane gas appliances waste very little fuel in the combustion process. Compare that to electricity. While it is true there is no heat loss at the point of consumption (your home), the electric grid experiences a five percent loss of energy during the transmission and distribution process. That may not seem like much, but it’s enough to power all seven countries in Central America, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

Besides the inefficiency in the transmission and distribution of electricity, there is something else to consider: energy derived from our electric grid is far from clean. In 2021, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for electricity generation was the nation’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions. And right here in North Carolina, more than 50% of the electricity generated is still sourced from coal and natural gas.

Renewable Propane and Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

While renewable propane is not widely available yet, this sector will continue to grow in the years ahead. More people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane.

Read more about renewable propane.

Low-Carbon Propane Produces Minimal Emissions

propane carbon footprint north carolina Did you know that by using propane in your home, you are doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

According to a recent study by the Propane Education and Research Council, propane’s carbon intensity is significantly lower than fuel oil and grid electricity. In fact, the direct use of propane for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50%!

These are among the reasons propane has been designated an alternative fuel under the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. This abundant, reliable, affordable and American-made fuel is the right choice for your North Carolina home all year-round.

Propane Vs. Electricity

Unfortunately, one of the biggest trends in home energy today is the aggressive government push for conversions to electric heat — at the expense of proven heating fuels like propane. The argument is that these electric conversions will reduce a home’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The only problem is that, right now, energy from our electric grid is far from clean. In 2021, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for electricity generation was the nation’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions. And in North Carolina, more than 50% of the electricity that’s generated is still sourced from natural gas and coal.

Propane Is Far More Efficient than Electricity

Propane generates more Btu than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. The less energy you use, the less carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere. To appreciate propane’s big advantage over electricity in energy efficiency, you have to consider Btu content.

Btu can be used to compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, we need to know that:

To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btu by 3,412 Btu. Your answer will be:

Propane101.com makes this simple comparison to illustrate the efficiency of propane compared to electricity. A 100-watt light bulb left on for 24 hours will consume 2.4 kWh. If propane could be used to power the same light bulb during the same time period, it would only use 9/100th of a gallon of propane.

Renewable Propane and Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

As the renewable propane sector grows in the years ahead, more people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane. Read more about renewable propane.

Propane: Made in the USA

Almost all the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically, meaning every gallon you buy contributes to the independence of America’s energy needs.

Maintaining a propane tank on your property gives you the ability to store a sufficient supply that’s always ready for immediate use, eliminating any dependence on an underground gas pipeline.

Visit PropaneNorthCarolina.com to read more about eco-friendly propane and be sure to review the Propane vs. Electricity page.

The Truth about Electric Appliances

propane eco-friendly north carolina Let’s begin with a simple yet true statement. Propane is the hands-down winner when comparing energy efficiency and cleanliness with electricity.

Here’s one reason for this: propane generates more Btu of power than an equivalent amount of electricity. The result? You need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. So, the less energy you use, the less impact you will have on the environment.

Clean-burning propane appliances are efficient because they also waste very little fuel in the combustion process. Compare that to electricity. While it is true there is no heat loss at the point of consumption (your home), the electric grid experiences a five percent loss of energy during the transmission and distribution process. That may not seem like much, but it’s enough to power all seven countries in Central America, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

Besides the inefficiency in the transmission and distribution of electricity, there is another simple yet true statement to consider: energy derived from our electric grid is far from clean. In 2021, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for electricity generation was the nation’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions. And in North Carolina, more than 50% of the electricity generated is still sourced from coal and natural gas.

Efficiency Matters: Propane Vs. Electricity

As we noted before, propane generates more Btu than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. Btu content can also be used to compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, we need to know that:

To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btus by 3,412 Btu. Your answer will be:

Propane101.com makes this comparison to illustrate the efficiency of propane compared to electricity. A 100-watt light bulb left on for a full day–24 hours–will consume 2.4 kWh. If propane could be used to power the same light bulb. it would only use 9/100th of a gallon of propane.

Propane: Made in the USA

Almost all the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically, meaning every gallon you buy contributes to the independence of America’s energy needs.

Maintaining a propane tank on your property gives you the ability to store a sufficient supply that’s always ready for immediate use, eliminating any dependence on an underground gas pipeline. That’s just one more reason to feel good about using propane every time you get a propane delivery.

Renewable Propane and Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.

As the renewable propane sector grows in the years ahead, more people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane.

Read more about renewable propane.