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Two Things to Consider When Checking for Propane Leaks

by Antonin Fontai

If you have a propane tank on your property, it's important that you monitor it regularly for any signs of leaks. After all, even a single errant spark near a leaky propane tank could trigger disaster. The good news is that when you know what to watch for, identifying a leak isn't as complicated as you'd think. Here's a look at some of the things you should be aware of to know when it's time to call your propane gas service.

What Should You Listen For?

Sometimes you can hear a propane leak before you spot any other signs. Remember that the propane gas is under pressure inside the tank, so if there's a small leak, that pressurized gas is going to force its way through the hole. The pressure behind it often causes a hissing sound that will get progressively louder as you get closer to your propane tank. Before you assume that the hissing you hear is the sign of a leak, though, there are a couple of things you should check.

Bleeder ValveAny time you get a propane delivery, the driver has to open the bleeder valve. After filling the tank, he or she should then close the valve. If the delivery driver doesn't get the valve closed all the way, you're going to hear a hissing sound. Rule out the bleeder valve as the source of your hissing noise by turning it clockwise to be sure that it's closed completely.

Pressure Relief Valve—The pressure relief valve is designed to regulate the pressure inside the propane tank. If it's a particularly hot day or the tank is sitting in direct sunlight, the added heat outside the tank can cause some buildup of increased pressure. Check the condition of the relief valve. You'll know if it's open because the protective cap that sits on top of it won't be over it anymore. If it's open, don't touch it. Cool the tank down by spraying it with a garden hose. When you cool the outside, it will help ease the pressure buildup inside.

If you rule out both of these things and you're still hearing a hissing sound from the tank, that's a sign that there's a leak somewhere else.

What Should You Look For?

The gas line fittings are another common source of propane tank leaks. You should evaluate the condition of the fittings to see if they are leaking. You can reach out to a propane gas service technician, but you don't necessarily need a professional test kit to discover a leak in the fittings. Create a mixture of water and a little bit of dish washing detergent. Put that solution into a spray bottle and set the nozzle so that it's spraying a solid stream. Spray some of the solution on each of the pipe fittings and the fixtures around the tank. If you see bubbles, that's a sign that the fitting in question is leaking and needs to be replaced.

Contact a service like Graves (John) Propane Of Arizona Inc for further help and information.