We at DeCarli’s highly recommend that you check out Propane 101.com. Their website was designed for and geared toward average citizens using propane or considering the use of propane as an energy source. This site promotes the understanding of LP Gas in a non-technical manner so that people can better identify with what occurs within the propane industry. In short, Propane 101 is propane information in simple terms.
What exactly is Propane?
Propane is one of the liquefied petroleum gases (LP-Gas or LPG) that are found mixed with natural gas and oil. Propane and other liquefied gases, including ethane and butane (such as is used in lighters), are separated from natural gas at natural gas processing plants, or from petroleum at refineries. The amount of propane produced from natural gas and from oil is about equal.
Propane naturally occurs as a gas. However under pressure or lower temperatures, it becomes a liquid. Because propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, it is transported and stored as a liquid. Propane becomes a gas again when a valve is opened to release it from its pressurized container. Propane burns cleaner than gasoline and other fossil fuels. It emits lower levels of carbon dioxide and particulates and doesn’t produce sulfur dioxide, a primary cause of the greenhouse effect. Propane is non-toxic and vaporizes quickly, so it won’t contaminate soil or groundwater. It is in plentiful supply - there’s enough propane to meet America’s needs in the 21st century. Most of the propane used in the United States is produced right here.
Why does Propane smell?
For safety reasons pure and simple. In its natural state, propane is odorless. As a safety precaution, an odorant called Ethyl Mercaptan is added so any presence of propane may be easily detected. Interestingly, while most of us are able to detect even the slightest propane odor, some people can’t smell it!
What are some basic propane tank requirements?
Here are several things that you should know about your propane tank easily seen without having to know the technicalities of propane tanks and the regulations tanks are subject to. Listed below are simple tank related safety and compliance items consumers can see for themselves without having to know technical details.
Manufacturers Nameplate - Containers without nameplates are not permitted to be filled
Tank Paint Color - Propane tanks are required to be painted a reflective color
Regulator Position - Propane regulator must be covered and protected or pointed vertically down
Tank Placement- The tank must follow the NFPA 58 codes for tank placement.
What are the main parts of a Propane Tank?
The visible parts of the propane tank as shown in the picture above play a vital role in the usability and serviceability of the gas tank. All of these parts are attached to the tank at the manufacturer with threaded fittings. These specialized propane tank parts consist of the following replaceable fittings and connections.
Fill Valve - Point at which hose from delivery truck is attached to the tank for re-fueling
Relief Valve - Safety relief mechanism designed to vent propane in an over-pressure situation
Service Valve - Point at which propane is converted to vapor for use with appliance(s)
Fixed Liquid Level Gauge - Indicates the level of propane is at or above 80% capacity
Float Gauge - Presents a visible indication of the propane volume in the tank. Also called a dial gauge
Vapor Return Valve - Connection used during propane delivery to remove excess tank pressure
Liquid Withdrawal Valve - Used to withdraw liquid propane from the tank
How to check your propane tank gauge.
If you are a Will Call customer, DeCarli’s Propane recommends that you regularly monitor your tank level. Look for the round dial attached to the tank with numbers from 5 to 95 (Not all tanks have gauges. If your tank does have a gauge, it is located on the top of the tank, usually under a liftable hood. Please be careful when you lift the hood—insects sometimes nest there). To allow for propane gas to expand with temperature fluctuations, a propane tank is considered full at 80% of its capacity. For example if your tank gauge reads 70% and you have a 124-gallon tank it has 86.8 gallons in it. For your convenience, comfort and safety DeCarli’s Propane recommends that you always maintain at least 20% in your propane tank. We can help you not worry about running out of fuel. Call us to become an “Automatic” customer and we will make sure your tank has propane at all times.