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Will Hot Temperatures Affect My Propane?

What You Need to Know About Propane in the Heat

propane franklin county, vt Vermont summers have always been mild, but weather patterns can change. It was 88 degrees in Burlington last year—in April—and overall, our average temperatures have been trending warmer. Here in northern Vermont, we need to be more aware of how deep cold can affect propane: While propane won’t freeze, when it’s extremely cold outside, the volume of propane inside propane tank will shrink, which creates a loss of pressure. Propane won’t reach your appliances, and you could lose your heat.

Likewise, propane will expand as it heats up. That’s why every propane storage tank—from the small portable cylinders you use with your grill to the bigger tanks for your home—have a pressure-relief valve that opens as soon as the pressure reaches a specific point. The result is some hissing as the pressure is slowly released, preventing your tank from rupturing. (This is why propane storage tanks of any size are filled to 80% capacity, ensuring there is room for expansion.)

If the pressure-relief valve is open, do not try to close it. It will close automatically when the pressure returns to a safe level.

Protecting Your Propane from Heat

These tips can help keep your tank from getting hot—and keep the propane inside it from heating up and expanding.

Paint it light. Propane tanks are required to be painted in light-reflective colors, such as white, grey and silver. This helps them stay cool. Dark colors attract and retain heat. If you want to make it less visible, consider fencing that will allow air to circulate.

Spray it down. When weather is extremely hot, use your garden hose to spray your tank with cool water. This will help lower the pressure and temperature inside the tank.

Make space. Don’t store things around your propane tank. And be sure that no flammable materials are within 10 feet of any propane tank or your grill. That goes for twigs, leaves and brush too.

Outdoor propane appliances must stay outside. The same is true for any propane appliance not specifically designed and approved for indoor use: grills, patio heaters, lights should never be used indoors.

Store safely. Never store or use portable propane cylinders indoors or in an enclosed area. Keep them outside, out of the sun, and away from combustible materials.

Alarm yourself. Be sure you know the smell of propane: It has an odor to alert you to potential leaks. Know what to do if you smell gas. Install UL-listed propane gas detectors and CO detectors in your home. They can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide or propane gas. Be sure to follow manufactures instructions for installation.

Safety First

Your safety is important to us. If the pressure valve release and the hissing continues, or it’s not a particularly hot or sunny day, you may have a leak. Contact us. Smell gas? Leave the area and then call 911 and call us.