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Can a Propane Tank Explode?

Safety guidelines for home propane tanks and portable cylinders.

propane tank Wake County, NC It can be pretty exciting in an action movie when someone fires a bullet at a propane tank, and it explodes in a huge fireball.

There’s a reason the term “movie magic” exists. It takes a lot of pyrotechnics experts on a film set to create that effect. The simple fact is that propane tanks don’t explode easily. They have safety mechanisms to prevent excessive pressure build-up. It would take quite a bit of effort to make one explode.

What is BLEVE?

When considering explosion risks, it’s important to discuss BLEVE or Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. This term is standard for firefighters and hazardous materials response teams. It refers to a situation where so much pressure builds up in a container that it cannot be safely vented.

Today’s propane tanks and portable cylinders have pressure relief valves. These valves open to release pressure from containers where the fuel has expanded and internal pressure reaches a certain level. The pressure drops to a safe level, and the valve closes.

Heat makes propane expand. Propane BLEVE can occur when sustained extreme heat is applied to a propane container. A fire emergency would be an example of this situation.

How can you detect a gas leak?

Even though it’s incredibly difficult for a propane tank to explode, propane is still a flammable gas. It’s important to know how to identify it. Propane producers add an odorant to their fuel that makes it smell like skunk spray, rotten eggs or spoiled meat.

While odorized propane is fairly easy to detect by smell, it’s still a good idea to install UL-listed gas detectors near your propane products. Carbon monoxide detectors will not alert you to a gas leak.

How do you respond to a gas leak?

If you smell propane or receive an alert from a gas leak detector, evacuate the house or affected area immediately. Don’t stop to investigate where the leak is coming from. On your way out, extinguish all potential sources of ignition, such as candles or cigarettes. Don’t use light switches or phones. Call emergency services and LG Jordan Oil & Gas once you are at a safe distance from the leak.

If it’s safe to do so, shut off the supply valve on your propane tank or cylinder. Emergency personnel and propane technicians can check the area for escaped gas and perform any needed repairs. Even if you don’t smell gas anymore, please stay away until service professionals locate and repair the leak, check all propane appliances and relight your pilots. They will give you the go-ahead to return.

LG Jordan — Safety Is Our Top Priority.

At LG Jordan Oil & Gas, our team of trained, experienced technicians can help ensure your home’s propane appliances work safely and efficiently. We lease and sell top-of-the-line propane tanks in a range of sizes. We will ensure your propane storage container is installed and connected in a safe, discrete location, and we’re always available for propane tank maintenance, repairs or general upkeep.

Need help with a propane tank or other gas equipment in Wake County? Reach out to LG Jordan today. We’re ready to help!