The Difference Between a Leak Check and Safety Survey

August 23, 2022 –

Conducting residential or commercial propane installation safety surveys is critical for propane company professionals and essential for keeping customers comfortable and safe. Paraco, keeping safety front and center, holds a core set of safety principles that guide all our employees to ensure we operate with the highest safety standards and integrity.

Frequently asked by our customers is what is the difference between a leak check and a safety survey, and why and when they must be performed. Both are essential for compliance and customer safety and are required under specific circumstances.

An initial leak check is always performed in conjunction with a safety survey for new installations and setups after the regulators, appliances, and appliance shut-off valves have been installed and connected to the gas piping. Ensuring the installation is free of leaks is the foundation for customer safety.

Whenever there’s an interruption of service (out of gas, container valve turned off, etc.), a Paraco technician will perform a leak check on the above or below ground propane tank using a pressure gauge somewhere in the piping system, pressurize the piping, then shut off the container service valve. If a leak exists in the piping, the gauge face will show a pressure drop, meaning there is a possible issue that needs to be addressed in the system.

This leak check is performed for a minimum of 3 minutes and uses the propane vapor as the medium for measuring the pressure.

A leak check is also required:

  1. Anytime there is an interruption of service (whenever the gas pressure in the system no longer supports the appliances and pilots); for example, an out-of-gas situation
  2. When service has been interrupted, and the installation has been transferred from one customer to another
  3. If the system is used on and off seasonally and has been turned off.

Leak checks are also performed when:

  1. A customer reports gas odor, gas leak, a possible propane leak (which smells like rotten eggs), or there has been excessive, unexplained usage
  2. The integrity of the system is in question
  3. Piping systems which have been in place and previously used, but are new to Paraco, whether or not there was any interruption to service
  4. A section of piping is added, replaced or repaired unless otherwise isolated by installing a shut-off valve or disconnecting the gas piping; and/or (5) a regulator or appliance has been replaced or added.

In contrast, safety surveys review and document the entire system, including container(s) size, line size, equipment/appliances, serial numbers, and model numbers of all propane appliances and tank(s), and include a leak check of the entire system.

At this time, our service technician will also show the customer how to shut off appliances and tanks in case of emergencies. Safety surveys are performed on all new installations, move-in-move-outs (MIMO), and for all customers getting new equipment.

Performance of leak checks and safety surveys are the ideal way to determine that your propane gas system is operating safely and correctly. If your service technician accomplishes one of these procedures on your propane installation, you may feel confident that it is working safely and optimally.

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