Propane Winter Safety Tips

November 24th, 2014 by Tevis Propane

We’ve already witnessed winter’s wrath this November with bone-chilling cold.  Now, with some meteorologists forecasting pre-Thanksgiving snow this week, we’ve decided it’s time to provide our Maryland propane users with some winter safety tips!

It’s very important for our customers to be prepared for winter weather, especially in the mid-Atlantic where the weather can change quickly.  We all know Maryland winters are infamous for large snowstorms, damaging ice, and crazy temperature variations (take this week for instance: 72 on Monday and snow on Wednesday).  Winter storms can cause extended power outages and hazardous travel conditions. Access to fuel, and emergency and medical services may be limited once a severe storm hits Maryland. Implementing a winter safety plan now is essential to help reduce your risk.

Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Safe

If your home uses propane to generate heat or run appliances, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your family safe and avoid potential dangers. These steps can also help you conserve fuel costs — maximizing the value of your energy dollar.

  1. Make sure you have an adequate propane supply. If you’re on Tevis’ Automatic Delivery program, you don’t have to worry about a thing!  We can accurately predict when you will need a delivery and ensure you’ll never run out of propane.  And our ECHO Tank Monitoring System goes a step further by allowing us to monitor the actual propane levels in your tank.  With Automatic Delivery, you’ll avoid running empty in times of heavy snowfall or ice when roads may be inaccessible for delivery.
  2. Mark the location of your tank with a flag, pole, or stake.  It should be high enough that a significant Maryland snowstorm won’t cover it.  If you already have markers, make sure they are planted firmly and highly visible. Should your tank become covered with snow, use a broom to clear it.
  3. Make sure your heating system and appliances are running efficiently. Before the start of each heating season, have one of our qualified service technicians inspect and service your appliances and propane system. This will ensure that your appliances are running as efficiently as possible, conserving fuel and saving dollars.
  4. Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with everyone in your family. Post a list with our contact information and emergency services (fire department, etc.) along with instructions for turning off propane, electricity, and water. If you do need to turn off your propane, contact us prior to turning it back on.
  5. Prepare a family disaster supply kit with several days’ worth of water and canned foods along with a can opener, extra clothes and blankets, flashlights, and batteries. Include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio so you can stay informed as conditions change. Make sure to keep rock salt, firewood, and snow-removal equipment accessible from inside.
  6. Check your chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and propane tank for damage, blockage, or debris caused by snow and ice. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning could occur due to blocked or damaged chimneys, flues, and vents.  Use a broom rather than a shovel, and clear these areas frequently.
  7. Consider installing UL-listed propane gas detectors and CO detectors. These detectors provide you with an additional measure of security. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation, location, and maintenance.
  8. After the storm passes and it is safe to do so, check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, or damage to your propane tank. Immediately call our local utility company or Tevis Propane if any of these hazards exist. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
  9. Never use a stove for space heating and never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas, particularly in the event of a power outage. Proper ventilation is necessary for their safe operation, and CO fumes emitted can be lethal. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use. Never store, place, or use a propane cylinder indoors or in enclosed areas.

Following the steps above will not only prepare your family for potential emergencies, but also give you peace of mind, knowing you’re ready for anything!  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call your friends at Tevis Propane!

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