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Heating Systems Safety Tips

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January 12, 2015 - Propane systems have been used for heating homes for many years. Propane is a safe heating product provided installation and safety requirements are applied.

Propane is heavier than air and tends to gather in low lying areas like valleys and ditches or the lowest attainable portion of the household. Propane is in a gas form already; for this reason ignition sources should not be around propane except in controlled circumstances. An odor (rotten egg smell) has been added to consumer propane for detection purposes should there be any leakage.  

All joints in a propane appliance should be soap tested before ignition source is added; soap testing is the process of using a 50/50 solution of dish soap and water and applying it to the joints that supply the gas to the appliance and looking for small bubbles being produced. If it bubbles that means gas is leaking where the bubbles appear.

The Canada Safety Council recommends an annual safety inspection by a qualified service technician of the entire system in the home including appliances. The technician checks for leaks and ensures applicable standards are met. He can also check the tanks, piping, regulators, gauges, connectors, valves, thermostats, pilots, burners, and controls to make sure they are in proper working condition.

If you smell gas:

  • No flame or sparks - IMMEDIATELY extinguish smoking materials and open flames, do not operate appliances, telephones, cell phones, and do not turn flash lights on and off.
  • Evacuate the area immediately; get all out of the building or the area where the gas leak is suspected.
  • Shut off the gas if it is safe to do so; turn off the tank or the supply valves.
  • From a safe location away from the leak, call 911 and report the leak.
  • Before you re-start the appliance, have a qualified service technician inspect your cylinder tank and appliance.

Propane cylinders must be re-certified or replaced every 10 years. Inspect the tanks for rusting, gouges or cuts and replace as necessary. Do not store propane tanks near heat sources or indoors. Transport tanks in an upright position in order for the safety valve to operate properly. Propane tanks are painted white to reflect heat from the sun, do not paint them a dark color.

During winter months fossil fuels such as wood, oil, propane, and gas are being utilized to burn for warmth.

These fossil fuels can produce carbon monoxide if they do not burn properly.  Carbon monoxide is a product of an incomplete burn; it is a colorless, odorless gas that mixes evenly with air. This product is a toxic gas that can cause serious injury or death. 

Installation of carbon monoxide alarms is now law in residential homes in Ontario. In homes with fossil burning fuels, or an attached garage, these alarms are to be installed outside sleeping areas. For added protection install carbon monoxide alarms on all levels of the home.  Carbon monoxide alarms do not replace smoke alarms and are to be tested with the same frequency as smoke alarms.

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For more information please contact:

Ronald Woolfrey
Fire Prevention Inspector
(705) 324-5731 ext. 586

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