The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

Preparing for thunderstorms in your propane-powered home

Posted: June 26, 2018

Summer can be a great time for fun with your family, enjoying the heat and Seacoast oceanfront breezes. But that heat also brings with it the threat of severe weather – a problem that brings with it some particular safety considerations for your propane-powered home.

The good news is that by taking a few simple propane safety precautions, you can greatly reduce the potential for property loss or personal injury to your loved ones.

Here are some propane safety basics for your family during a severe weather thunderstorm here in Southern Maine and New Hampshire:
Before the storm

  • Know how and where to shut off your outdoor propane valve and indoor propane appliances; if you’re not sure how to do this, contact us.
  • Make sure that everyone in the house knows the rotten egg smell of a propane leak – and what to do if they detect it.
  • NEVER store a propane cylinder indoors, or in an enclosed basement, garage, or shed.
  • Install UL-listed carbon monoxide (CO) detectors at every level in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location, and maintenance. Also consider installing propane gas detectors. Both items are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local hardware store.
  • Prepare instructions for your family for how to turn off electricity, propane, and water. If you’re not sure how to do this, contact the appropriate utility for instructions.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it regularly with your family.
  • Get routine annual maintenance for your propane backup generator, if you have one, in advance of summer and winter storm seasons; be sure the generator has enough propane to last at least a week after the storm in the event of road closures.

During the storm

  • Stay informed about the storm by listening to news online and in your local media.
  • If you are outside and can hear thunder, seek safe shelter immediately.
  • Keep clear of electricity-conducting metal objects such as propane tanks and equipment, tractors, and telephone lines if lightning is in the area.
  • If you are caught outside and cannot get to a safe dwelling, find a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.

After a storm

  • Carefully inspect the area around your home if it is safe to do so. If you are suspicious about your family’s safety, leave the area immediately and have your property inspected by a qualified professional. If it is dark, use flashlights – never candles – in the event of a propane gas leak.
  • Check for downed power lines; they can create major safety hazards.
  • High winds can move or damage gas lines and tanks. Contact us immediately if any of these hazards exist.

Follow these general safety rules

  • NEVER use outdoor propane equipment indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in CO poisoning or even death. These include outdoor portable heaters, barbecue grills, and portable generators.
  • NEVER store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, or shed.
  • NEVER use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating.
  • NEVER modify or attempt to repair valves, regulators, or other appliance parts!
  • NEVER turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water, or if you suspect a gas leak.
  • ALWAYS inspect chimneys, flue pipes, and vent connectors for damage, blockage, or debris after a severe weather storm.
  • ALWAYS inspect your propane appliances for water or other damage if it is safe to do so. If you suspect any of your propane appliances or equipment has been damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply, IMMEDIATELY schedule a professional inspection your propane system; do not use or operate appliances or equipment, or turn on the gas supply, until your system has been cleared for use by a qualified service technician.

Stay safe this summer! Contact your P. Gagnon & Son professional today if you have any questions about severe weather propane safety in your home, or if you need routine annual maintenance or an annual tune-up for any of your propane equipment!