Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Propane in the news too much!

Propane is the most used and possibly least understood heating source for colder climates. Your propane cylinder contains liquid. That liquid expands 270 times to become a gas. The lower flammability limit for this gas is a 2% mixture air/propane.

That means 1 liter of propane will form an explosive gas cloud 270 cubic meters large! One has to wonder why it is kept in basements.

The stench, or Methyl Mercaptan smell you know as propane can be washed out with water. If propane is spilled on snow, the stench will stay at the point of entry to the snow while the propane will run down hill under the snow and create a problem in another area. Example a leaking propane tank on a barbeque on your back deck leaks into the snow. The snow takes out the Mercaptan and the gas being heavier than air sinks into the soil and through your foundation into your basement with no alarm of smell. Link

Of equal importance to people using propane heat in a confined space: When propane burns it gives off water vapor and carbon dioxide.

The water vapor given off by burning propane will make the confined area wet as in wet bedding and clothes. Because of this it is nearly impossible to stay warm. Exhausting (a chimney) the heater will fix this!

The carbon dioxide will kill you by shutting down your breathing. You will feel no discomfort or become alarmed with "oxygen deprivation" symptoms. In fact, you will be entirely comfortable as you pass on. Your body does not sense oxygen, but it monitors carbon dioxide. When your body thinks it has enough carbon dioxide, you stop breathing and die.

(Formerly The Dangerous Goods Training Centre)
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