Learning how to maximize the efficiency of propane for your home or business is key for optimizing your energy requirements. As the #1 propane provider for Central Texas for over 30 years, Terry Garnett’s Propane receives numerous email and telephone requests for information and propane tips.

Here are some propane tips to assist our friends and neighbors in getting the most from their propane energy systems.

Question: Is it all right if it’s a cold weather snap to use my stove as a space heater, in the short term, if I’m out of propane?  Is that safe?

Terry Garnett: Never use any type of an appliance other than for its recommended and intended use.  It is a safety issue. Please always follow manufacturer recommendations on all gas appliances.

Question: How often should I have my propane appliances tested by a qualified technician?

Terry Garnett: There is no magic number. I recommend having your entire system checked at least once a year by a qualified and  licensed technician. An annual pressure test of your propane lines is a sound investment.

Question: One thing that we are interested in at my home is that we want to have a green environment; does propane contaminate soil or water?

Terry Garnett: Propane is one of the cleanest fossil fuels available today. It is non abrasive to soil and water.

Question: Compared with the tanks that are used for ethanol, methanol, and gasoline, are the propane tanks actually more volatile or puncture prone or how does the safety of a propane cylinder stack up with a gas can?

Terry Garnett: Propane tanks are very safe and their construction heavily regulated. They are not puncture prone, and comparing them to a gas can is like comparing a Volvo to a unicycle.

Question: I don’t really plan on doing any of the work myself.  Is it really important to know where my gas service lines are?

Terry Garnett: It’s always good to know where your tank is and where your gas service lines are.  Know where the shut off to your system is and how to shut it off. Remember ALWAYS locate your gas line before you dig.

Question: We read on the Internet we could buy an electronic leak detector.  Is that a scam or is that really such a thing?

Terry Garnett: There are propane gas detectors, and they are great if you or others in your home have difficulty smelling propane, or if appliances are in little-used areas in your home where the smell of propane might not be detected. Detectors can provide an additional measure of security.

Propane gas detectors are designed to sound an alarm if they sense the presence of propane. Their operation does not depend on the concentration of odorant in the air, just the propane concentration at the detector.

Be sure the units you buy are listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). To be sure propane gas detectors operate properly, install and maintain them as the manufacturer recommends.

But more importantly trust your nose. Never ignore the smell of propane, even if no detector is sounding an alarm to signal the presence of propane. However, if a detector is sounding an alarm, treat it as an emergency and act immediately, even if you do not smell the propane.

Even if you install gas detectors, have a qualified service technician inspect your propane system and propane appliances periodically.