In terms of energy usage, propane makes up less than 2 percent, but it is still a potential source of danger if you are not exceedingly careful when handling it. This hydrocarbon is used commonly for cooking and heating, but it is one of the most flammable chemicals. This makes it easy to use for such activities, but it also means that it should be handled cautiously. A propane transfer is something you might need to do for several reasons, but when you do, there are a number of risk factors you should be aware of before you begin. This guide can help you avoid some of the mistakes that most often lead to injury and accidents.
Understand the Risks Propane Can Pose
Propane has no odor nor no color, so you will not have a way of immediately identifying it. It does, however, pose risks that you need to be aware of. Propane acts as an asphyxiate. This means that it can deprive your body of oxygen and result in any of the following injuries:
- Cardiac arrest
- Damage to nerves
These are the symptoms that may occur after highly concentrated quantities of propane are released. Signs of lesser exposure include numbness, nausea, congestion, hallucinations and hyperventilation among other various symptoms. It is important to understand these risks so that you can seek immediate help if you begin to suspect you have poisoning from the propane.
Consider Whether It Is a DIY or Professional Job
Depending on what purpose you are attempting a propane transfer for, you may or may not need to call a professional to complete the task for you. It is never a bad idea, but many people do propane transfers in order to move the chemical from a large and unwieldy tank into a smaller and more compact one. Since propane can take the form of either a gas or a liquid, you can heat the larger tank so that the propane vaporizes and cool the smaller tank so that it liquefies, transferring the chemical through a hose connecting the two containers.
Use the Right Tools
If you have decided to attempt a propane transfer, you will need the following supplies:
- Two tanks of different sizes
- POL fittings
- Dual-sided hose
- Warm and cold water to control temperature
These supplies will allow you to attempt the propane transfer at home, but as is noted above, you should proceed with caution. The process may take a long time.
Trust Professional Expertise When Necessary
Even if you use all of the right tools and precautions, you will likely not be able to perform a basic propane transfer the way a professional can. If the project surpasses your expertise, a professional with a flow meter can help you. What function does a flow meter serve in this context? It provides information regarding the flow and pressure of the propane, so any risks such as leaks can be detected early. This can be an invaluable resource for people who need to transfer a chemical but don’t want to take the risk of personally attempting it at home.
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