Tips For Spotting Propane Leaks Before They Turn Disastrous
One of the biggest threats for homeowners with a propane heating system is a leak in the tank. Understanding the risk of leaks is important, because the slightest spark around a leaky propane tank can be a disaster. Luckily, there are a few things that you can check to identify a propane gas leak even without complicated equipment from the gas delivery company. Here are some tips that might help.
Listen for the Hissing Sound
A leaky propane tank often makes a hissing sound as the gas escapes from the tank. You'll likely hear the sound get louder as you move closer to the tank. The noise is typically created because of the pressure of the gas inside the tank as it forces through the small opening that's causing the leak.
- Inspect the Bleeder Valve – Whenever propane tanks are filled, the bleeder valve has to be opened. If the delivery technician doesn't close the valve all the way, it can lead to a leak. Since it's a small valve, it can cause hissing due to the buildup of pressure behind it. Check the valve and turn it clockwise to be sure that it's fully closed.
- Check the Pressure Relief Valve – There's another valve that's often to blame for propane gas leaks. The pressure relief valve is designed to keep the pressure consistent inside the tank. If it's hot outside and the tank is in the direct sunlight, the heat can cause a buildup of pressure. Check the pressure relief valve. The protective cap should be securely in place over it. If the cap is loose, that's a sign that there's a leak in the valve. If so, don't touch it. Cool the tank the best you can with your garden hose, and call a gas delivery technician to help you address it.
Examine the Fittings
If you've eliminated the valves as the source of a leak, you'll want to check all of the gas fittings. If you don't have a leak testing kit, you can test the fittings with a mixture of dish detergent and water. Choose a liquid dish detergent so that you can get a decent bubble response. Mix the detergent into water then spray a steady stream of the mixture on the fittings. If there's a leak, you'll see bubbles in the solution around the fittings. If you see this reaction, it's essential that you call a technician immediately for repairs.
Any time you are dealing with propane, it's important that you're careful about dealing with leaks. Knowing how to spot a leak is important, because it can save you from a serious disaster. Make sure you address a propane leak right away, turning the fuel supply off immediately until a gas company like Gas Production CO Inc can come out and repair it.