Winters with heavy snowfall can be magnificent, but they can also be challenging for homeowners. Accumulated snow and ice have the potential to damage many aspects of your home and property, including exterior components of your propane system.
“Propane is one of the safest and most reliable sources of energy in winter,” said Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education Research Council (PERC). “It keeps your home warm and allows you to cook and have hot water. A propane generator ensures that you have reliable power in any weather.”
While you can’t predict the first snowstorm or hazardous weather conditions, you can put your family in the best position for safety and warmth by planning ahead.
- Get to know your propane system. If you are not familiar with your propane system, take a few minutes to review it. Identify core components, including the tank, regulators, meter, piping and supply valves, as well as any appliance vents. Be sure you know where your main gas supply valve is located in case you need to close it in the event of an emergency; in many cases it may be located on your propane tank.
- Mark your tank and regulator. Use a brightly colored stake or flag taller than the maximum anticipated snow depth as a marker to enable emergency and propane service personnel to locate your tank. Also mark your secondary pressure regulator or meter, which is usually near the side of your home. Check local ordinances about marking tanks and regulators and follow any rules applicable to your area.
- Have an adequate supply of propane. Roads leading to your home might not be accessible for delivery, particularly after a snowstorm. Establish a regular delivery schedule with your propane retailer or call to schedule a delivery when the percentage gauge reads 30% to give the retailer enough time to make a delivery and ensure you have an adequate supply of propane.
- Talk to your contractors. If you use a snow removal service, make sure the service knows the location of all propane equipment on the property. Instruct them to keep their equipment clear of all parts of your propane system, especially tanks, regulators and gas meters. If they shovel snow off your roof, instruct them to never shovel snow onto any part of the propane system and not to block any appliance air intakes or exhaust vents. It may be helpful to designate an area to pile snow safely away from any equipment.
- Keep snow and ice from accumulating on propane equipment. Snow or ice accumulation can potentially cause parts of your propane system to crack or break, resulting in a gas leak. Gently brush away snow or ice that has accumulated around the tank, meter, regulator and any other piping by hand or using a broom. If you must use a shovel, use extreme caution. If you notice any snow or ice buildup that cannot be removed easily, contact your propane retailer. Do not attempt to remove snow or ice by kicking or hitting equipment.
- Be alert to snow buildup. Frequently check areas where snow or ice collect on your roof, structures or nearby trees and clear it if you believe it might fall on any part of your propane system. Heavy accumulations of snow or ice falling on tanks, regulators, meters, piping or valves may cause damage that could result in a gas leak. In high snowfall areas, drifting snow and ice sliding off roofs may require additional regulator and vent protection. If you think this may be an issue, contact your propane supplier for guidance on protection of these components.
- Keep vents clear. Appliance air intake and exhaust vents and chimney flues must always be clear of snow or ice. Some homes may have direct vents, which are close to the ground. Improper venting can cause carbon monoxide buildup in your home, which could lead to serious illness or even death.
- Clear driveways and pathways to propane tanks. Remember that a propane delivery truck needs at least a 10-foot-wide path to be able to deliver fuel to your home. Keep the tank area and a path to the tank free of snow. When plowing, snow-blowing or shoveling, do not push or pile snow around our tank, meter, regulator or piping.
For more safety tips and information, visit Propane.com.
Courtesy of Family Features