As one of the most powerful sources of energy for your home, propane gas can be a great ally when it comes to staving off cold weather here in Connecticut.
But how does propane stand up to the cold as a fuel in your tank?
Actually, propane handles the cold quite well, since it has a freezing point of -306.4°F (!). This is one reason why propane is the perfect fuel to use for backup power, especially in locations that experience bitter winters.
But there is one problem to keep an eye out for as outdoor temperatures plummet: When propane is exposed to extreme cold, the vapor pressure in your tank drops; in very cold conditions, there may not be enough vapor pressure in your tank to keep your system/appliance working properly.
Cold Weather Propane Tips
To avoid a vapor pressure problem during cold weather extremes:
Never attempt to cover up your tank; this will insulate the cold propane inside the tank from the natural heat of the daytime sun, possibly making the problem worse.
For the same reason, don’t let snow build up on your tank – it will keep temperatures inside the tank colder than temperatures outside the tank. Clear your tank with a broom to prevent tank damage – never use a shovel.
Turn down the thermostat in your home – Decreasing the temperature in your house will lessen the time your system/appliance operates, permitting the pressure in the tank to build.
Some other extreme weather propane tips:
Clear snow and ice from propane tank regulators, vents, piping and valves to prevent damage that could cause a gas leak.
Remove snow and ice from appliance vents, flues and chimneys to allow the gas to vent properly.
Place a flag, pole, or stake next to your tank that is tall enough to be seen over the expected snowfall and drifts; this will help you find the tank in heavy snow.
Turn off the main gas supply if an appliance fails to light or if a gas leak is detected.