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Propane Safety


#1
All this talk lately about propane tanks in the house has made me
very nervous, although I've never had a problem. But tell the
insurance company?  I can't bring myself to open that can of worms. 

Dear Alan Mason,

Your worries about contacting your insurance company are not helpful
to you.

If you contact them BEFORE there is a fire or other loss then you
will be dealing with the “good cop” insurance agent. The agent will
want to help you. He/she will want to find a way to keep you as a
customer, to find a way to make your set-up work safely, in other
words, to keep you in business so that the company keeps receiving
your premiums and avoids risk of having to pay out for fire damage.

If you have to deal with the insurer AFTER there has been a fire
then you will be dealing with the “bad cop” insurance adjustor whose
job it is to find any possible reason to avoid paying for the
damage. An adjustor will ask lots of questions, look in many
corners, etc.

The fact that you mention that all this talk about propane safety
makes you “very nervous” almost guarantees that your nervousness will
only be worse and probably quite obvious at that point in time. A
violation of the company or government rules about your propane
installation may be enough to void the policy even if the propane did
not start the fire. So get ahead of the problem. The insurers want
to avoid payouts so they will do their best to help you get it right

  • out of simple profit-seeking good sense.

Another way to look at this - Why are you wasting your money paying
for insurance that will not pay off when you need it ? Cancel the
policy and use the money for a good party.

I don’t think much of leak detectors, as I have mentioned in a
previous post. Of course they might help but I can think of a bunch
of reasons why they might not help also. For example, if there is
nobody home when the detector notices a leak, who will notice its
alarm signal? Or if some well-meaning person arrives in response and
turns on a light switch to see what’s up. Or if the propane has been
driven to the opposite end of the room from where the detector is
located.

Marty in Victoria.


#2

I missed the original post; however, the first question that popped
to my mind was- Isn’t it illegal to have a propane tank in a
building? Aren’t they supposed to be outside a building, at least
for bbq size tanks and larger? I do not know the particular safety
reasons for that regulation, but I don’t think I’d violate it.

We live in a rural area and use propane for heat, stove, soldering,
and forging. We have separate regulators, off the main tank, one high
pressure for soldering & forging, the other low pressure for heat and
stove.

-Kirsten
www.kirstenskiles.com


#3

Kirstin

You were wondering what the safety reason is for not having a large
BBQ sized propane tank located in your home…

Propane tanks are equipped with a spring loaded pressure relief
valve. This is required by law to prevent a propane tank from over
pressuring and ripping open. When a propane tank is overfilled
(especially in cold weather) and brought inside into a heated home,
or left in the sunshine by a window, the liquid propane in the tank
expands and vapourizes and pressure starts to build up in the tank.
The relief valve pops open and lets some of the propane out of the
tank to lower the pressure inside the tank. Once the pressure in the
tank drops to a safe level, a spring on the valve pops it shut. This
works just fine if the tank is located outside as the tank
manufacturer intended, since the propane gas will disperse
harmlessly, but not so OK inside your home. Once the relief valve
pops open, it will not close until the pressure in the propane tank
comes back to a safe level. That means you can have an uncontrolled
release of large amounts of propane in your home. This is one of the
main reasons that propane BBQ tanks should never ever be stored
inside your house.

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Canada


#4
tank drops to a safe level, a spring on the valve pops it shut.
This works just fine if the tank is located outside as the tank
manufacturer intended, since the propane gas will disperse
harmlessly, but not so OK inside your home

Is this also true of very small propane tanks, like the
Coleman-stove variety? This is the propane I’m currently using with
my Little Torch, in combination with the disposable oxygen bottles
from Home Depot. I keep both types of tanks indoors in my basement
studio, and it seems that many other jewelers a nd lampworkers do the
same. It is certainly convenient and seems safe as long as one
follows the usual torch- and gas-safety protocols. But is this a ba d
thing?

This thread has me fretting way too much…

Cheers,
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#5
    Is this also true of very small propane tanks, like the
Coleman-stove variety? This is the propane I'm currently using with
my Little Torch, in combination with the disposable oxygen bottles
from Home Depot. I keep both types of tanks indoors in my basement
studio, and it seems that many other jewelers a nd lampworkers do
the same. It is certainly convenient and seems safe as long as one
follows the usual torch- and gas-safety protocols. But is this a
bad thing? 

Hi Jesse

I wrote the original post that you were responding to… I
personally use the one pound disposable bottles that you are
referring to with my Little Torch.

The small 1 pound bottles disposable propane bottles are also
equipped with small pressure relief valves similar to the ones found
on the larger BBQ sized bottles. But, since the disposable bottles
are filled by the manufacturer under controlled conditions, the
relief valve should never ever open when exposed to the typical
temperatures found in your home basement studio. The only time that
I would expect these relief valves to open is if the bottles are
exposed to fire or a direct torch flame. As long as they are
handled in a careful manner, these propane bottles are perfectly
safe to use in your home.

Regards
Milt Fischbein - Jewellery Artist
Calgary Canada