The LP gas cylinder, or gas bottle, is one of the most common LP gas storage containers for both residential and industrial use, according to Propane 101. These cylinders come in two types: with the vapour tank used for fuelling gas grills or the liquid tank in heavy industrial equipment like a forklift. Both require the same basic safety procedures and considerations.
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Look for Rust and Dents
Rust can thin and pit the steel of the LP gas cylinder, making it possible for a dangerous crack to form if the tank is dropped. Dents put similar pressure on the metal of the tank. Store LP gas cylinders away from moisture and high traffic areas where it might be knocked over. If a propane cylinder has some rust, brush it clean with a wire brush and apply a coat of rust prevention spray paint to extend the life of the cylinder. Some LP propane tanks must be painted with a reflective coating to prevent a build up of pressure, but a small patch of white or grey paint should not affect this.
Get a Safety Inspection and Certification
When you bring an LP gas cylinder to be refilled, the employee filling the tank will perform a basic visual inspection to ensure it is safe to refill. Propane 101 warns that if a filler turns away your tank due to a safety concern, replace the tank instead of trying to find a company that will bend the rules to fill it. The employee will check for the support ring around the bottom and top of the cylinder that protect it from damage and a valve cover to prevent leaks. Propane tanks must be professionally inspected and recertified for safety 12 years after the manufacturing date. Most propane refilling companies have at least one person on staff who can recertify a tank.
Protect It From Weather
While the steel of a LP gas cylinder is designed to withstand the rigours of weathering, constant rain, heat and frost can speed up rust or damage the seals and valves of the tank. Inspectapedia, a building and environmental inspection website, warns that LP cylinders used for fuelling a home may need extra protection from water and frost, especially the regulator that connects the tank to a home's gas lines. This regulator is also on gas grills. Frost, rust and sun may damage this device and lead to dangerous leaks.
Keep Sufficient Distance From Other Appliances
LP gas cylinders may develop small leaks that are undetectable by smell or visual inspection. If the tank is stored too close to another appliance or heat vent, the ignition system of the device may cause an explosion, according to Inspectapedia. Keep propane tanks at least 10 feet away from a window, central heating and cooling unit, or a direct vent for a furnace. Inspectapedia also recommends keeping LP gas cylinders away from windows, fans and other air intake areas where propane fumes may enter a living area.
All propane tanks, including LP gas cylinders, include at least three safety valves. The relief valve lets off excess pressure and propane if the tank is damaged or overfilled, preventing the tank from exploding. Service valves allow the tank to be cleaned or drained if debris and other liquids contaminate it. The bleeder valve is used to refill it and usually features a gauge that shows the pressure inside the tank. Some tanks that are designed to be filled by weight may not have a gauge on the bleeder valve.
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