From the desk of…
Propane has become popular for use in Tiny Houses on Wheels. Propane is a liquid that turns into gas for fuel by burning the gas. Propane is a powerful and relatively inexpensive way to produce heat for your home, for cooking and heating hot water.
Propane is maintained under pressure inside a tank in a liquid state. At -44°F propane turns into a vapor or a gas and is suitable for burning. Propane tanks very in size. The most common are 20-pound and 30-pound tanks. A 20-pound tank is sometimes referred to as a 5-gallon tank although it normally actually holds closer to 4.7 gallons. Tanks are filled to 80% capacity leaving 20% for expansion of the Gas.
Life safety and fire safety of the main concerns when utilizing propane in your tiny house. The builder communicates these concerns through an owner’s manual and warning labels.
Propane gas is produced and used at relatively low pressure by using a pressure regulator to keep the pressure around 3 pounds.
Here are some tips for staying safe while using propane:
- Inspect your propane system regularly. Look for signs of rust corrosion fatigue wear or tear. Check the brackets and the mounting software as well. If you notice any issues have a qualified technician do the repair. They can also check for leaks and inspect valves and fittings.
- Inspect your propane appliances like the cook stove, furnace and water heater. Make sure the supply lines running from the appliances are in good condition and not rubbing against each other or sharp edges or corners.
- Maintain the property detectors.
A well-maintained and battery operated or battery back up smoke detector carbon monoxide and propane detector or “sniffer” should be checked regularly. Also there needs to be a class BC fire extinguisher within 2 feet of the main entrance door, and visible always in case it is needed. Exit the vehicle immediately if any detector Goes off.
- Check your vents.
Combustible air intake vents and exhaust fans must be kept free of debris, sticks, dust, twigs, and bugs or any other items that might restrict the flow of ventilation.
If you smell gas:
- Propane has a distinct smell. If you smell gas put out all smoking materials, pilot lights and open flames.
- Do not operate Appliances, lights or cell phones. This may cause a spark to trigger an explosion or fire.
- If you are able to turn off the gas supply safely, turn off the gas supply at the cylinder or container.
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the home.
- Leave the area and call 911 or the fire department.
- Before you use or restart a propane device, call to qualified technician inspect the system and repair as needed.
Here’s to a safe and efficient Tiny Home on Wheels. Until next time…