Propane gas is a hydrocarbon (C3H8), and it is a gas at standard conditions. It has a boiling point of -42 degrees Celsius and a melting point of -188 degrees Celsius. Propane is non-toxic and odorless.
Propane is used in various applications, including grilling, heating, and vehicle fuel. According to research published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), propane, known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is used by 5% of homes during winter. (Source)
When propane is burned, it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. Propane is clean burning fuel, one of the lowest emitting fossil fuels, making it ideal for any climate change activist.
In general, propane tanks have a far longer lifespan than electric or oil fuel sources, but usage and aging might cause the propane tank to produce strange noises over time. These sounds likely arise from either the propane tank or the gas line linked to it.
If the propane tank is making some strange noise, below is a guide to help you troubleshoot and fix this problem.
Propane Tank Noises
If you hear any unusual noises coming from your propane tank, it’s important to investigate the source of the noise right away. There are several potential causes of strange noises emanating from a propane tank, and some of these causes can be dangerous.
One potential cause of strange noises coming from your propane tank is that the tank itself is starting to rust. If this is the case, you’ll need to have the tank replaced as soon as possible. Rust can cause leaks in the tank, which can be extremely dangerous.
Another potential cause of strange noises coming from your propane tank is that something is blocking the flow of gas into the tank. This can happen if there is a blockage in the pipe that leads from the tank to your home. If this is the case, you’ll need to have the pipe cleaned or replaced.
Below are four common propane tank noises you should always watch out for.
Propane Tank Gurgling/ Humming Noises
If you hear humming or gurgling noises after turning on the gas, it might indicate that the propane tank is overfilled. Overfilled tank places extra strain on the tank regulator and restricts the outflow. This may cause weak flames and discolored pilot lights.
If you are experiencing this problem, I would recommend you get in touch with the propane distributor. Always contact a professional to help you drain the gas.
The humming might result from air trapped or the regulator vibrations. A pocket of air may occasionally become caught within the rubber diaphragm or the hose, resulting in a humming noise.
After turning on your propane gas tank, if you hear a banging sound, there is likely an imbalance in the gas and air mixture. By seeing the flames, it is simple to determine whether or not this is true.
The correct measure is indicated if the fire is blue and has a yellow tip. On the other hand, a white flame or yellow flame indicates an incorrect mix of gas and air, and you should contact a professional. A professional can modify how the propane tank regulates airflow.
Usually, these problems are not serious, but ignoring strange sounds increases the likelihood that other issues may go unnoticed. If you have any concerns about noise, you should always contact your propane provider for more assistance.
The hissing noise is one of the most common noises emitted by propane tanks and is often an indicator of a gas leak. If you hear this sound, you should immediately switch off your propane tank and contact the propane supplier to have a technician dispatched.
Any hissing sounds emanating shouldn’t be mistaken with the initial gas rush you hear when you switch on the propane line.
Propane is one of the cleanest energy sources for residential and commercial usage. Research has shown that propane tanks are twenty times more resistant to puncture than methanol, ethanol, or gasoline tanks. Despite this, it is always important to be conscious of any strange noises that you are unfamiliar with
However, the odor of rotten eggs, which propane mimics, should make it easier to identify propane leaks.
This is a far less common sound than the other three sounds mentioned above. The most common cause of the squealing sounds is a faulty regulator; when that happens, you will need to replace it.
Even though squealing noise is not always an indicator of a faulty regulator, it would be wise to contact a professional.
How to Prevent Propane Tank Noises
Propane tanks are a safe and reliable fuel source for many homes and businesses, but like any other type of appliance, they require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Here are a few tips to help you keep your propane tank in top condition:
Understand the Effects of Temperatures
As propane expands when heated, the level in your tank will decrease as the temperature drops. You should keep this in mind if the temperature is below 60 °.
Whenever the delivery company arrives to fill the propane tank, they will utilize a volume correction tool to verify that the tank is correctly filled up.
Pour a glass of hot & not boiled water on the wall of an above-ground tank and examine the condensation to determine the level. The maximum condensation level indicates the propane amount in your tank.
Although you may be good at DIY, propane appliances must be serviced by skilled experts.
According to industry standards, qualified propane technicians will be in a position to maintain and fix your propane tank.
In reality, propane tanks require yearly maintenance to function properly, so you should arrange frequent inspections with your propane provider.
These service checks will verify that your propane system is operating correctly, saving you money and keeping you safe.
Above-ground tanks must always be placed on the level ground lest they topple over. Check for dampness in the soil under the tank during your inspection. You will also need to confirm that the cement platform the propane tank rests on is still in perfect condition and has not started to degrade.
If a wooden platform supports the propane tank, ensure it is not decaying or moldy. Otherwise, it might ultimately collapse, causing major problems.
Know what to do in the event of a leak
Although propane tank leaks are uncommon, they do occur occasionally. Therefore, everyone in your household must know what to do in case of a leak.
The easiest method to detect a propane gas leak is by the intense, pungent odor it emits. A chemical is added to propane such that, in the case of a leak, it emits a rotten eggs smell which is hard to miss.
Since propane is held under pressure, you can hear a hissing noise as the gas leaves the gas line. In the event of a leak, you must act immediately and take the following precautions:
- Never light an open flame.
- Turn off any devices, lights, or appliances that might produce a spark.
- Turn the gas off if doing so is safe.
- Immediately contact a professional to check the safety of your propane tank.
How Long Does a Propane Tank Last?
Propane tanks are designed to last longer than standard metallic tanks: on average, a high-quality, maintained, properly galvanized above-ground tank or cylinder should last at least 30 years, while certain aluminum/ composite tanks can go even longer.
Propane tank lifetime is mainly determined by the tank’s size, purpose, and maintenance; for instance, propane tanks put underground have a reduced average lifespan of between 20 and 30 years, but this depends on a number of factors such as soil type and how the tank was installed.
If you hear noises from your propane gas tank, it is important to take action immediately. This could be a sign that there is a problem with the tank itself or a leak in the system. Either way, it is important to call a professional to come and check things out.
Even with some handy DIY skills, you shouldn’t attempt to fix the problem yourself. Instead, you should ensure that you involve a professional.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.