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Standards Division

This is a list of current LP-Gas (usually propane) items of interest and frequently-asked questions (FAQs) for consumers:

Items of interest:

(Click here to be taken to the the Frequently-Asked Questions page)

The listing that follows contains these headings: (Click on the item to go to that heading.)
1. Description of different valves available on grill cylinders.
2. Proper storage of propane containers.
3. Safety alert concerning misuse of propane cylinders.
4. Disposal of old grill cylinders
5. Some safety concerns about turkey fryer use.
6. Heater Safety
7. Winter Storm Propane Safety
8. Hurricanes and Propane Safety
9. Extreme Heat Propane Safety
10. Propane use at flea markets, farmers markets, festivals
11. Underground Propane Tank Removal/Abandoning
12. Underground Propane Tank Corrosion Protection
13. Inspection of Residential and Commercial Propane Tanks
14. Grilling safety

1. Description of different valves available on grill cylinders.
2. Proper storage of propane containers.
3. Safety alert concerning misuse of propane cylinders. Some illegal drug manufacturers are putting anhydrous ammonia into propane cylinders. Occasionally these contaminated cylinders show up as returned cylinders in propane exchange cabinets or as abandoned cylinders along the road or in the woods. This link takes you to a site that explains the dangers.
4. Disposal of old grill cylinders
5. Some safety concerns about turkey fryer use.

6. Heater Safety - As cooler weather comes, space heater use increases. Power outages greatly increase space heater use. As with all energy sources, there are some risks involved. Space heaters come in fixed-location and portable types. Also, some are for outdoor use only and some are for indoor use only. Read the container and instructions carefully to determine if the heater is appropriate for the use you intend.

It seems that each year there are deaths form carbon monoxide poisoning from propane and kerosene space heater use. All combustion generates some carbon monoxide. If you use a propane heater indoors in a very tight location (little ventilation), you risk being in a place with built-up carbon monoxide. Heaters specified for outdoor use will cause a more rapid build-up of carbon monoxide than one rated for indoor use.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, scentless, tasteless gas that kills in high enough concentrations. Using a carbon monoxide detector will warn you if concentrations get too high. Other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea and headache, but these should not be depended on in place of a detector.

Space heaters can also cause suffocation. They use the same oxygen out of the air that you need to support your life. Any heater used indoors should be equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). The unit will shut down before it uses too much of the oxygen if it has an ODS. However, be warned that it will generate a higher concentration of carbon monoxide as it decreases the oxygen level in the room.

If you take nothing else away from this section, please remember the part about not using outdoor heaters indoors.

7. Winter Storm Propane Safety - What to do for your propane system before and after a winter storm. This education brochure was provided by the Propane Education Research Council (PERC).

8. Hurricanes and Propane Safety - Know these safety measures to help keep your family safe during and after a hurricane. This education brochure was provided by the Propane Education Research Council (PERC).

Please note that the brochure lists preparations to be made well in advance of a storm, some to be made as the storm approaches, and cautions for after the storm.

Before the storm:

  • Make sure that propane containers that are below the 100-year flood level are securely anchored to prevent them from floating away.
  • Know what propane smells like so you can recognize the hazard if it leaks. Install carbon monoxide and/or propane detectors.
  • Know how to shut off the propane supply.
  • Learn from your propane company which appliance valves need to be closed and where they are.
  • Have an emergency plan!

As the storm approaches:

  • Turn off the gas. Do this whether you are staying or evacuating.
  • Turn off valves near appliances as directed by the propane company.

After the storm:

  • Be very aware of your surroundings.
  • Never use outdoor appliances indoors!
  • Do not use ovens or stoves for space heating.
  • Do not turn the gas back on until the propane company checks the system for leaks. (A state law.)
9. Extreme Heat Propane Safety - When extreme heat hits, follow the safety do's and dont's in this education brochure provided by the Propane Education Research Council (PERC). The extreme heat referred to in this brochure is not likely to be present in North Carolina, but there have been a few cases where propane containers that were overfilled released propane on a very hot or sunny day, causing injury and property damage.
10. Propane use at flea markets, farmers markets, festivals ,and similar events must follow the rules in the LP-Gas Laws and LP-Gas Regulations. LP-Gas laws are in Sections 119-54 through 119-61. Click here (LP-Gas Law) and scroll down to the desired section. Click here (LP-Gas Regulations) to see the LP-Gas Regulations. Or you may click here to see a letter that summarizes the requirements for use of propane at these events.
11. Underground Propane Tank Removal/Abandoning - If you have an underground propane tank that you no longer use, here is some information about its removal or abandonment.
12. Underground Propane Tank Corrosion Protection - New requirements went into effect on January 1, 2011, for protecting these tanks from corrosion. More information is provided here.
13. Inspection of Residential and Commercial Propane Tanks - We sometimes get questions concerning our authority for performing inspections of consumer propane tanks or for how we perform these inspections. You may see a summary memorandum about these inspections or you may go to our frequently-asked-questions about these inspections.

14. Grilling safety - See a brochure from the National Fire Protection Association about tips you need to know to safety use your grill.

There is an excellent, recent (5/23/2016) interview video and list of precautions for grilling. See it by clicking on this link. Keep in mind that this interview is with a New York fire marshal and some statements and items in the list may be different from North Carolina requirements. For instance, he said to not store a cylinder in your house in in the basement. It must not be stored inside any building. The listing says, "Never transport or store propane cylinders in the trunk of your automobile." That is partially correct. The trunk is not a storage place for cylinders. They may be transported in the trunk if they are secured in place and upright.

Page last modified on May 24, 2016.

 

NCDA&CS Standards Division, Stephen Benjamin, Director
Mailing Address:1050 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1050
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3225; FAX: (919) 715-0524



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