Propane Leak Detection: Common Places To Check

Posted on: 28 March 2016

Any time you have a propane heating system in your house, you need to be aware of the risk of propane leaks. Propane is highly flammable, so any spark around a leak could be dangerous. Understanding some of the most common warning signs of propane leaks can make a big difference. If you aren't particularly familiar with propane heating, you may not understand what those signs are. Here's a look at some of the things you should be attentive to with your propane system.

Are You Hearing Hissing Sounds?

If you are hearing hissing noises around your propane tank, that's a sure sign that it's leaking. The propane is under so much pressure in the tank that it makes this audible noise when it forces out of whatever opening is permitting the leak.

The bleeder valve is a common culprit. When your propane company fills the tank, they have to open the bleeder valve. If the technician doesn't close it completely, it will allow some propane to seep out, causing that hissing sound. The bleeder valve should be the first thing you check. Turn the handle clockwise to be sure that it's closed.

The pressure relief valve is another area where propane may leak. It's a necessary component that ensures consistent pressure in the propane tank. The pressure can fluctuate in the heat, so if it's a particularly hot day or your tank sits in direct sunlight, the pressure may build up in the tank and cause a leak through the pressure relief valve. You'll know if the cover on the pressure relief valve is visibly loose. Cover the tank in cold, damp towels or hose it down with cool water to ease this problem and call the propane company about insulating the tank.

Did You Evaluate All The Fittings?

When the valves on the tank are eliminated as the source of the issue, it's time to check the fittings. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a homemade bubble solution. Mix some dish detergent with warm water so that you have enough detergent to generate bubbles. Put it in a spray bottle and spray the fixtures of the propane tank and your propane lines. Watch for large bubbles around each fixture. If bubbles appear, you'll need to have the fixture replaced. A propane technician can do this for you.

Propane is a consistent, reliable heating fuel for most homeowners. Understanding how to spot leaks in your propane tank will help ensure that reliability for some time to come. Talk with a propane technician like Gas Production CO Inc about other tips for maintaining your system.