Propane Tank Maintenance and How to Care for Them

Whether you’re a homeowner who relies on propane for heating, or a business leader who uses if for industrial purposes, propane is a versatile and important commodity. However, as helpful as propane is to us, we often overlook the need of caring for our propane tanks year round.

Propane Tank Maintenance

propane tank heaters

Propane is one of the most commonly used heat sources around the world. This is especially true in rural areas that don’t have a direct connection to natural gas lines. Propane tanks offer an affordable alternative to building expensive gas piping, though unlike natural gas lines, tanks must be regularly checked for wear and maintained to ensure it’s functioning effectively.

Tank Checklist

The most important part of using propane is safety. Holding regular checks for your propane equipment is a best practice, and will help mitigate leaks or dangerous situations. It’s wise to have a list of things to check for when looking for signs of wear on your propane tank, such as the following:

  • How much propane remains in your tank
    • To check propane level, slowly pour a glass of hot (not boiling) water on one side of the tank. You should see condensation appear on the tank. The highest part of the tank with condensation is where the liquid propane is inside the tank.
  • Check for leaks
    • It’s important that checking for leaks is a part of every inspection you do to your gas system. To discover a leak, pour a mix of warm, soapy water on the tank and gas lines. If there is a leak, bubbles will appear.
  • Make sure propane is on level ground
    • Propane tanks that sit on the ground are always at risk for tipping over. Check the dirt below and around the tank for settling or an increase in moisture.
    • Confirm the concrete that the tank is sitting on is in good condition. Chipping or flaking is a sign of deterioration, which could lead to an unstable base.
    • Ensure that wood is not rotting or molding. The weight of the propane tank on a wooden base will shorten the time leading to a collapse.
  • Damaged or missing valves, indicators, dials or controls
    • It is not safe to operate any propane equipment that has damaged or unusable parts.
  • Kinks in gas line
  • Corroded equipment
  • Soot accumulation
    • Soot is a sign that the propane gas isn’t operating correctly.
  • Proper ventilation
    • Do not use propane tanks in places where ventilation is limited. Always make sure there is a good flow of air in order to prevent buildup of gas in the event of a leak. Propane gas is heavier than air, so if there is a leak you might not know about it until a substantial amount has filled the storage space.
    • The best practice for proper ventilation is to always keep the propane tank outdoors.

Caring for Your Propane Tank

When it comes to caring for your propane storage, it’s imperative that you have a working knowledge of your tank and all the potential threats that could impede its proper functionality. Understanding the warning signs of a damaged or inefficient tank is important, not only for reasons of economical operation, but for the safety of all involved.

Tank Safety

Several factors play into the safe and efficient operation of any size propane tank. These factors include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Shutting off valves when the tank is not in use
  • Keeping reserve tanks at a minimum
  • Not leaving portable propane tanks inside a vehicle
  • Securing portable tanks properly
  • Replacing weathered and/or worn canisters

Propane in the Cold propane tank heaters

Operating propane tanks in cold environments requires additional measures to ensure efficiency and safe usage. Cold temperatures can reduce the pressure of propane in the tank, causing it to evaporate even when not in use. When delivery of propane can be hampered by winter weather, having enough propane on hand to make it through is critical.

Powerblanket offers propane tank heaters to maintain a constant temperature on the tank. These heating blankets allow tank pressure to remain unchanged no matter how low temperatures drop. Using a heated gas delivery system makes all the difference when the ability to heat your home or business is on the line.

Propane tank heaters also increase safety usage when operating propane tanks. When the weather gets cold, it may be tempting to bring your tank indoors to help keep it warm. This is highly unsafe, and is never recommended. Instead, use a propane tank heating blanket to heat your tank safely in its outdoor environment.

Stay in the Know

Knowing how to properly manage all these aspects of propane storage and usage is very important, but there are many other factors to consider as well. Matters such as storage, setup, protection, government regulations, and the warning signs of hazardous circumstances are imperative to good propane use.

For more information on how to care for your propane and the tank in which you keep it, call Powerblanket at 866.945.4203 or email [email protected]


Product Spotlight: Gas Cylinder Heaters

Do you store gas in cylinders? If so, then you know how the cold can affect them, even during this mild winter. In order to keep your storage from being compromised by a drop in temperature, you need a solution that can both insulate and heat. This is where Powerblanket® Gas Cylinder Heaters come into play.

 

Pressure and Depletion

Let’s face it, this is one of the mildest winters North America has seen in a very long time, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t getting cold enough to affect equipment and resources left out in the dropping temperatures, even though they aren’t dropping as low as usual. As far as gas storage goes, if you’re storing it in gas cylinders, you’re likely keeping it outside, and if it’s outside, it’s going to lose pressure—causing depletion and problems with extraction.

When you store pressurized gas in cold temperatures, or any temperature below ideal, then the pressure in your tank is going to be far less than efficient. This is simply due to the molecules of gas moving closer together, just like in your car’s tires. And of course, as the molecules move closer together, the pressure drastically drops. This means when it comes time for extracting the gas from your tank or cylinder, you’re going to run into troubles; it’s going to seem like there isn’t as much gas in there.

 

Powerblanket® Gas Cylinder Heaters

Powerblanket® Gas Cylinder Heaters solve this problem by adding a protective barrier that both insulates and heats your tank or cylinder to the ideal temperature needed for optimal pressure maintenance. Powerblanket offers a range of gas cylinder heaters equipped for maintaining temperatures of propane, butane, nitrogen, oxygen, and other compressed gases. Powerblanket® Gas Cylinder Heaters offer uniform heat distribution across the entire cylinder. This revolutionary heating solution reduces costs by optimizing container temperatures and increasing cylinder efficiency.

What’s more, the Powerblanket® product line is designed for any heating job. Every product is built using a rugged vinyl shell that is safe to use in temperatures as low as -20° F. So in other words, Powerblanket products can keep your equipment protected well below freezing.

 

Standout Features

  • Increases performance and efficiency of gas cylinders
  • Provides even heat distribution
  • Saves money by optimizing gas and material usage
  • Safety certified by UL/CSA/CE
  • Eliminates unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather

 

 


Welding Preheating

Welding Preheating

Prepping pipes and other surfaces for welding can be a real challenge since metal surfaces often need to be hot before you begin. If the metal isn’t hot enough before you start welding, it will affect the cooling rate. If a weld cools too quickly, the metal could go into shock and cause fabrication hydrogen cracking. There are many metal preheating methods. Some of these include: furnace heating, torching, electrical strip heaters, induction heating, and radiation heating, and welding preheat blankets.

Why Preheat Metal?

When you preheat and post-heat the metal, it allows for better hydrogen diffusion; up to 1000 times more diffusion at 250 °F (121 °C) than at room temperature (68 °F, 20 °C). Cracking risks reduce as more hydrogen diffuses after the weld is complete.

man in helmet welding pipes

Types of Heat Transfer

There are 3 main types of heat transfer: convection, radiation, and conduction. All 3 methods are useful in different applications. Let’s take a closer look.

Convection

Convection transfers heat around a space by the movement of molecules. For example, the rolling circular motion within a pot of boiling water is convection heating.

Radiation

Radiation is the transfer of heat through electromagnetic radiation. Radiant heating is what you can feel in the air when you sit around a campfire.

Conduction

Conduction transfers heat through direct surface contact. This is the most efficient heat transfer method to use when preheating a wide variety of metal surfaces for welding. Radiant heat will waste time and energy heating the air around the metal instead of the metal itself. Direct contact will ensure even, consistent heat over the surface of your welding materials.

Let’s compare 2 different welding preheating methods. Induction heating using radiation and heating blankets using conduction.

Induction Heating vs. Heating Blankets

Induction heating involves coiling a conductive metal object around the surface or container that needs to be heated. Electromagnetic currents then circulate and heat the object they surround. Once these metal coils are in place, they are not easy to remove and re-install. Induction heating is well suited for objects needing continual applied heat in a fixed, controlled location. Induction is commonly used in factories, where long strips of piping are continuously fed through the center of inductive heating coils.

However, for field work welding and on site repairs, induction is not a practical solution, especially in colder weather. Welding in a dynamic environment requires more portable and flexible preheating options. High temperature heating blankets are flexible enough to conform to and heat any metal in need of welding. They also use conductive heating that evenly distributes across the entire metal surface.

Powerblanket diagram on heat transfer in heating blankets

Welding preheat blankets are easily installed, removed, stored, and placed in another welding location.

Powerblanket Welding Preheating Solutions

High Temperature Heating Blankets

Powerblanket specializes in innovative heating solutions that fit a wide variety of surface shapes, and can be used in a myriad of locations. Our portable heating blankets come in every shape and size to accommodate any welding job.

Powerblanket diagram showing even heat distribution in our heating blankets blankets

Thick insulation and efficient heating spreading technology drive heat downward into your welding surface, eliminating hot and cold spots.

At Powerblanket, we also provide heating blankets that are certified to be used within hazardous locations. Safely preheat metals in C1D2 locations, so you can weld wherever needed.

Gas Cylinder Heaters

Our gas cylinder heaters and propane tank heaters are the perfect fit for tank welding jobs. With a large selection of sizes available, Powerblanket can fit and preheat any sized tank, even when welding in the coldest of conditions.

Contact us to find the perfect preheating solution for your welding needs at 866.945.4203 or [email protected]