Heating Oil and Propane Safety – Extreme Weather

Given the recent events of hurricane Irene, we are reminded how important it is to be prepared to handle unusual and extreme weather conditions. Here are 4 hazardous situations you should be aware of when it comes to your home heating system and how you should proceed if you find yourself in these predicaments:

Flooded Basement

Before entering your basement, make sure all power is turned off as water is a conductor of electricity and presents an extreme hazard to you and your family. You should familiarize your family with emergency shut offs for both power and water.

Your heating equipment must be clear of all water and inspected by a licensed electrician prior to restart.

External Flooding

If your property is flooded, it is important to check to ensure that any lines from your propane or heating oil storage tank have not been disconnected or that the tanks have not moved with the force of the flooding water. In extreme cases, tanks have actually been swept away with the current. It is crucial you contact your fuel supplier immediately to report these types of situations.

Propane Leaks

Propane has an additive which causes the product to smell like rotten eggs that helps in detecting if there may be a leak. If you smell gas inside our outside of your home:

  • Do NOT operate any switches, telephones/cell phones, electrical appliances or light any matches/cigarettes
  • LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  • Call 911 or your local fire department if outside your home (such as a cell phone in a safe location or your neighbor’s home)
  • Remain out of your home until the fire department OR a Technician arrives
  • Do Not start any vehicles around the tank
  • DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your local fire department and your Irving Energy technician determine that it is safe to do so.
  • Get your gas system checked by a qualified technician to ensure that it is leak free.

Learn more about Propane Safety

Heating Oil Leaks

If you detect a heating oil leak, then contact your fuel supplier immediately. Heating oil can contaminate water and soil, and so it is crucial that a proper and thorough clean up is completed. To avoid heating oil leaks ensure your heating oil tank is inspected annually when you have your furnace cleaned. In the winter, clear the vent line of any snow and ice to prevent pressure from building up. Flooding may lead to the rusting of your oil tank, and so it is important to get it inspected or replaced by your heating oil supplier. When you replace your heating oil tank, consider getting a fibreglass oil tank. A fibreglass oil tank will not rust and will not leak.

Learn more about Heating Oil Safety


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