Propane storage and usage

The Calgary Fire Department wants you to be safe when using propane appliances and tanks in your home and outdoors.

Propane is a highly flammable, compressed and colourless gas which has a faint odour at high concentrations. It's heavier than air and can spread over long distances, so distant ignition and flashback are possible.

Propane may reduce the oxygen available for breathing. If the liquid from the cylinder evaporates rapidly, the cylinder may become extremely cold and ause frostbite if touched.

General safety tips

  • If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, leave the area immediately. Get everyone out of  the area where you suspect gas is leaking and call 911.
  • If you suspect a gas leak, put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones or mobile phones. Flames or sparks from these can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  • Shut off the gas at the tank. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, if safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  • Report the leak. Once you are safely away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you cannot reach them call 911.
  • Do not return to the building or area until the propane retailer or emergency responder determines that it is safe to do so.
  • Get your propane system checked.
  • Before you use propane appliances, your propane professional must check the entire propane system to ensure it is free from leaks.
  • Consider installing propane gas detectors, which are designed to sound an alarm if they sense propane. Choose detectors that are from a professional listing laboratory.
  • Follow the detector manufacturer’s instructions regarding use. If a detector sounds an alarm, treat it as an emergency and act immediately, even if you do not smell propane.
  • If a pilot light repeatedly goes out or is difficult to light, there may be a safety problem. Do not try to fix the problem yourself. Have a propane professional relight the pilot light.

Safety tips for camping

  • Ensure cylinders are mounted with the relief valve directed away from the vehicle or trailer.
  • Check that all appliances in the vehicle or trailer are turned off before opening the cylinder valve.
  • Soap test all connections at the beginning of each season and at any time there is a smell of propane in or around the vehicle
  • Always open a window or vent when using propane powered cooking appliances.
  • Check all appliance venting and grills for blockages or obstructions before lighting.

How to do a soap test

  • Use a 1/3 liquid dish soap to 2/3 water solution on the hose.
  • Any bubbling and/or smell of propane indicates a leak

Propane Appliance Maintenance

  • To install, inspect, service, maintain and repair your appliances, please contact a propane professional.
  • Check the vents of your appliances to be sure the flue gases can flow outside.
  • Clear the area around your appliances so plenty of air can reach the burner for proper combustion.
  • Do not try to install, modify, or repair valves, regulators, connectors, or controls on cylinder or tank parts.
  • Have older appliance connectors inspected for cracks and breaks, which can cause a gas leak.

Appliances must have clean burning flames. Any evidence of carbon indicates a burner is out of adjustment and should be checked by a qualified gasfitter.

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