Running out of propane can wreak havoc on your day. The easiest, cheapest way to avoid this is to make sure you never run out in the first place.
But in the unfortunate event you think you did, commonly referred to as an “out-of-gas experience” or more accurately as “interruption of service,” here are the possible causes and what you should do in each instance, which always includes contacting your propane provider with your findings.
Out of gas
First, check your propane container percentage. If you have multiple containers, check the percentage on each of them. If you do identify an empty container, shut off the service valve by turning it clockwise.
To remember which way is open or shut, just remember, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.” If you cannot read the gauge or don’t have one, you should secure the valve and contact your provider as soon as possible.
A leak in the gas piping system
Have you smelled gas by any piping before running out? If there’s a shut-off valve in-between the location of the smell and the propane container, shut it off. Even if you’re not sure about any smell, be safe and shut it.
Valve handles are designed so that they are open when parallel to the pipe, and closed when perpendicular to the pipe. Importantly, the service valve on the container should also be shut off. Contact your propane provider with your findings as soon as possible.
Malfunctioning distribution system controls, fittings, or valves
This could be a regulator or blockage issue in the gas piping. If you have multiple propane appliances in your home, check if your other appliances are working. If they are, you may not be out of gas.
Check your container percentages, then call your propane provider, who will put you in contact with the proper person or department to address the issue.
Modifications to or components removed from the distribution system or gas appliances
This could occur with DIYers or a tradesperson who worked on the appliances or piping, which we never recommend. On that note, NEVER try to hook up a BBQ cylinder to your system – it is dangerous. Your propane service provider will want to know about any modifications or newly added propane appliances to adjust future deliveries, which would also mean you are on an automatic delivery plan.
Per federal code requirements (National Fuel Gas Code Section 4.2.1/4.2), any interruption in service, including an out-of-gas experience, requires that a qualified technician perform a leak check paid for by you. This is because if a valve or gas line is open when the propane supply runs out, a leak can occur when the system is recharged with propane.
Also, air and moisture penetrating an empty container can cause corrosion inside the container. Corrosion can decrease the concentration of the odorant added to propane, making it more challenging to locate if there is a leak.
Lastly, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out if your propane container runs out, a problem that can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly by your propane provider’s service technician.
The bottom line: Don’t run out of propane!
You can avoid all these problems with Paraco’s Automatic Propane Delivery service. Our system knows how big our customers’ containers are, and, if the customer chooses to let us know, even what appliances and equipment in their home run on propane. When we factor in the temperature in the area over time, we can accurately estimate how full their container is.
These customers are auto-scheduled, so they’re never in danger of running low on propane.
We also offer a fully-monitored Tank Butler Service for ultimate ease. This automatic wireless system is excellent, especially if your propane use is unpredictable from month to month or season to season. You can view your gauge level online at any time.
We’re always working to develop new ways to meet your needs, and we love to talk with our customers to explore the options best for them.