fb Propane Safety - Dowler-Karn

At Dowler-Karn, the safety of our customers, employees, and the communities we serve is paramount.

We wish to ensure all customers, whether long-term or new, there is a variety of resources available to reference the safe delivery, storage, and usage of propane to power homes, businesses, fleets, and farms.

Propane Safety Resources

  • Handling and transporting small cylinders
  • Storing a small cylinder
  • Get to know your propane system
  • If you smell gas or a potential leak
  • How to turn off the tank
  • Winter safety tips / requests
  • CPA Propane Safety Brochure for families

Handling and transporting small cylinders

  • Propane cylinders are a portable means of storing and transporting propane. They are regulated by Transport Canada and bear a TC stamp on the collar.
  • Portable cylinders must be inspected and requalified every 10 years – it is against the law to fill an outdated cylinder. The requalification of a cylinder must be performed by organizations that have the appropriate equipment, training, and certification to do so and have been certified by Transport Canada to do the work. It is also illegal to fill propane cylinders or tanks to more than 80% capacity, allowing room for volume changes due to temperature variations.
  • Propane cylinders and tanks must be equipped with a pressure relief valve that opens and closes to prevent excessive internal pressure due to abnormal conditions. Be sure you know how to transport, handle, and safely store these small cylinders. When transporting, always ensure the cylinder is upright, ventilated, and secured. Please don’t leave it in a hot vehicle. Always head straight to your destination and take it out of your vehicle when you arrive.
  • Connecting the cylinder is easy. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to check for possible leaks between the hose connector and the cylinder or regulator. This can be done with soapy water. Slowly open the cylinder valve and watch for bubbles. If they appear, close the valve, further tighten, and try again. When you connect a cylinder to an appliance, make sure it is turned off.
Storing a small cylinder

Storing a small cylinder

  • Keep it outdoors.
  • A small cylinder should never be stored in an enclosed space like a garage, basement, tent, or shed.
  • Keep it away from the house and areas that have heat sources.
  • Keep ignition sources away from the area while handling or transporting cylinders. Never throw your propane cylinder in the garbage.
  • To dispose of your old cylinder, drop it off at a municipal transfer station or depot that accepts propane cylinders.

Get to know your propane system

If you are not familiar with your propane system, take a few minutes to review it.

Identify core components— tank, regulators, meter, piping, and supply valves—as well as any appliance vents. Be sure you know where your gas supply valve is located if you need to close it in the event of an emergency. For more information, contact your propane retailer.

If you smell gas or a potential leak

Does everyone in your family know what to do if they suspect a gas leak? Propane’s distinctively unpleasant smell is just one of the safety features of your system. Propane has an added odorant that smells like a skunk’s spray or boiled eggs. That odorant is called Ethyl Mercaptan, and it is added to propane, so leaks are easily detected. Leaks may also be detected by hearing an unfamiliar hissing noise or the presence of ice frosting.

If you smell, hear or see a leak, take these steps below:

    Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
    If it is safe to do so, turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
    Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
    Call your propane retailer right away from a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR THE AREA until your propane retailer determines it is safe to do so.
    Before attempting to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure it is leak-free.

How to turn off the tank

To turn off the gas at your tank, start opening the lid to reveal your shutoff valves. Turn the valve to the right or clockwise to stop the flow of propane. If you have more than one tank, do so for all of them.

There are several reasons to turn off your tank. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, you should turn off your tank, AS LONG AS IT IS SAFE to do so. Stay outside your home and a safe distance away until a qualified professional is present and has tested your system, and indicated it is safe to return. After a storm or natural disaster, if something doesn’t look right with your system, such as a tank that has changed position, or lines that have been bent or broken or potentially damaged, turn off the gas, if safe to do so and call us. Never turn the gas on yourself. Please leave it to a qualified professional.

Winter safety tips / requests

Keep vents clear. Appliance vents and chimney flues must ALWAYS be clear of snow or ice. Some homes may have “direct” vents, which are close to the ground. Improper venting can cause carbon monoxide to become trapped in your home, causing serious illness or even death.

Clear driveways and pathways to propane tanks. Please remember a propane delivery truck needs at least a 10-foot-wide path to be able to deliver fuel to your home. Also, keep the tank area and a path to the tank free of snow. When plowing, snow blowing, or shoveling, do not push or pile snow around your tank, meter, regulator, or piping.