Colder Temperatures: Improving The Efficiency And Safety Of Propane Use In Your Business

If you have several industrial propane tanks on your work site, whether they are used as heating fuel or to power any industrial vehicles, you need to prevent your tanks from freezing during the winter months if they are stored outside. Preventing freezing helps to improve efficiency and keep your employees safe. Here are some things to consider:

1. Propane tank heaters.

Propane heaters are like specially fitted electric blankets for your tanks that will help to keep the internal content at an optimum temperature. Even though propane is colder than air, and inside the tank it is stored under high pressure, the lower temperatures of winter months make it more difficult to get gas out of the tank because the colder temperature decreases the pressure within the tank, making your machines or propane heaters work harder or strain them by operating with lower fuel levels. Using a heater for your tank will help to even out temperature inequality and keep the contents at optimal pressure, helping it to burn at an even rate.

2. Never allow your propane tank to run dry.

You should always aim to keep your tanks safely full. This helps maintain the internal pressure during colder temperatures and prevents the tank or the contents from freezing. If you live in an area where temperatures fluctuate, causing tank pressure to change frequently, using the above mentioned heaters will help to prevent the danger of an exploding tank, especially if your machine use small tanks, like those used to power forklifts, that are typically used both outdoors and indoors many times each day.

3. Monitor pressure valves and check them daily.

Be sure that checked tank pressure and outlet valves becomes industry standard for your business. During cooler weather, employees should be aware of the right pressure levels for both large and small tanks, and they should never be overfilled. If the pressure in the tank becomes too great, it can cause a leak, which is easily ignited by an engine spark. Checking the pressure can also help you to avoid costly replacement of tanks that become stressed with frequent internal pressure changes. Pressure can change easily when tanks are stored outdoors during the cold winter months, so under-filling your tanks might be the best course of action to prevent explosion or damage to pressure valves. 

4. Buy reserve propane in the summer.

The price of propane per gallon usually drops during the summer months, which means it is best for your business to stock up during this time. Keep the stored propane in a temperature controlled room, and have each storage tank checked frequently for leaks. Of course, carbon monoxide monitors should also be standard wherever propane is being stored or burned.

5. Cover fittings and hoses when possible.

Keep any connecting valves or hoses clean and free of debris by placing small covers over them. This helps to prevent corrosion to metal fittings, which can fatigue over time, leading to a greater chance of leaks or tank explosion. It's also a good idea to house tubing away from general traffic, so that employees do not trip over them or accidentally puncture or kink them.

6. Train all employees on how to recognize carbon monoxide poisoning.

Propane leaks are usually easy to detect because the gas is treated to have a foul smell. The greatest danger with propane is not the leak, however, but the product of combustion. Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely dangerous, and all employees should know how to detect the symptoms and provide the correct first aid response. Common symptoms include lethargy, losing consciousness, and a blueish tint to lips and fingertips. First response should be moving the person to fresh air and calling 911. 

For more information on proper heaters for your industrial needs, contact a supply company in your area.