Lake Park Office: 14583 Hwy 10 West, PO Box 329, Lake Park, MN 56554
Mahnomen Office: 1458 State Highway 200, Mahnomen, MN 56557


Propane Safety Tips for Your Home

Winter Preparation Tips:

1. Clear your propane tank or meter of ice and snow

Accumulation of snow and ice places stress on your propane source, whether a propane tank or meter piping. Damage to the piping or tank can cause a leak. Blocked regulator vents can dangerously over-pressure the system, negatively affecting appliance operation.

  • Ensure a pathway is cleared of snow and ice for safe delivery of propane.
  • Be sure to keep your propane source clear of ice and snow.
  • Do not shovel snow up against the propane tank or meter.
  • Take care when using a snow blower or plow near these areas.
  • Keep eaves troughs clear and in good repair so that water does not drip, which can cause ice build-up on your propane tank, cylinder or meter piping.

2. Prepare your furnace

  • Change your furnace filter annually.
  • Contact Community Co-ops to have a certified HVAC ensure your furnace is working properly for the season.
  • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
  • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

3. Check the exterior, doors and windows

  • Inspect exterior for cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weather-stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  • Remove window screens and install storm windows (if applicable).

4. Inspect your roof, gutters and downspouts

  • Adding insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from escaping to your roof and causing ice dams.
  • Replace worn roof shingles.
  • Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
  • Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions to direct water away from the home.

5. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Regulations can require a smoke detector on every floor and outside every bedroom.
  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

General Tips

  • To readily recognize a leak, know what propane smells like. Propane gas retailers have pamphlets available with a scratch-and-sniff feature so the entire family can recognize the smell. Propane leak detectors, similar to carbon monoxide detectors, are also available. See your propane retailer to obtain one.
  • Be aware of where gas service lines are located, especially when working in the yard.
  • Water can damage the internal safety mechanism in the gas controls of an appliance. If you suspect an appliance’s gas controls may have gotten wet (due to flooding, for example), have a trained technician replace them immediately.
  • Install a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.

Heating Appliances

  • All furnaces can collect lint and dirt and should be cleaned regularly. Contact a local propane retailer for information on proper cleaning, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not store items in, on or around a propane appliance that might obstruct air flow. Forced-air furnaces generally have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulation it throughout the home. Check the filter regularly and clean or replace when necessary.
  • Check for signs of improper venting, such as soot around the appliance or moisture on the inside of windows when the appliance is operating.
  • Vacuum regularly around the furnace, especially around the burner compartment, to prevent a buildup of dust and lint.

Water Heaters

  • Drain the tank periodically until water runs clean. Usually 2 to 3 gallons to get rid of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank.
  • Insulate the hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. With a propane, natural gas, or oil water heater, be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help, such as a propane retailer or a licensed plumber.
  • To guard against scalding, set the temperature of the water heater at 115° Fahrenheit.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s installation and operating instructions.
  • Have the unit serviced if the burner flame is NOT blue. The blue flame indicates complete combustion. A yellow flame means air inlets are clogged or burners need adjustment. Contact a propane retailer’s service department immediately.
  • Always keep pot handles turned inward while cooking and do not leave food simmering unattended.
  • Always keep the range surface clean.
  • Schedule regular preventive maintenance checks for all appliances.
  • Do not cover the oven bottom with foil, it can restrict air circulation.
  • Never use gas ranges for space heating.
  • Never allow children to turn the burner control knobs on your propane gas range.
  • Keep all flammable materials away from burner flames.
  • Periodically check range pilots for carbon build-up


Propane Gas Grill Safety Tips

Propane Grill Do’s

Always use the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Always follow all the manufacturer’s instructions and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.

  • Make sure the grill burner controls are turned off and keep the cylinder valve closed when not in use.
  • Make sure the gas grill is shut off and completely cooled before covering it after use.
  • Always use or store cylinders in an upright, vertical position. Store cylinders outdoors away from sources of ignition (i.e. heat, matches, or lighters).
  • When a cylinder is refilled, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust, or leaks.
  • After filling, take the cylinder home immediately. While transporting, keep the vehicle ventilated with the cylinder valve closed and plugged or capped.
  • When a grill is not in use, cover disconnected hose-end fittings and burner air intakes with small plastic bags, or obtain protective fitting caps from the propane gas retailer to keep out dirt, insects, and moisture.
  • Before lighting a propane gas grill burner, use a leak-detection solution to check all connections for tightness. Contact a local propane gas retailer to obtain the leak-detection solution and instructions on how to use it.
  • If there is a significant and uncontrollable release of gas or fire, call the fire department immediately and move all people and pets away from the unit.

Propane Grill Don’ts

  • Do not bring cylinders indoors or into an enclosed space such as a garage.
  • Do not smoke while handling the propane cylinder.
  • Do not leave the cylinder in a vehicle.
  • Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
  • Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
  • Do not use, store, or transport a cylinder where it could be exposed to high temperatures. (This includes storing spare cylinders under or near the grill).