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Lakes Gas Blog

Common Questions about Propane

Common Propane QuestionsI'm a first-time propane user. What should I know?
Like anything, propane can be a little scary if you've never used it before. But don't sweat it. All you need is a little knowledge about how propane works and what to expect during a delivery and you'll be comfortable in no time. You can get started here.

How do I know which buying program is right for me?
That depends on your needs and how you want to pay. Lakes Gas Co. offers a variety of buying programs. Our most popular- Pre-buy and Budget, give you the flexibility you need to make the choice that's right for you. Find out more about our buying programs here.

I used way more propane than normal. How can I tell if I have a leak?
Just because you've used more propane than expected doesn't necessarily mean there's a leak. Cold weather can cause increased usage. So if it's colder than normal, you probably just used a bit more propane than you anticipated.

If you smell gas, however, leave the area immediately and call the fire department and your propane supplier.

If you suspect a minor leak but don't smell gas, it's a good idea to check for yourself. Follow these tips from our friends at Propane101.com.

Can I paint my tank to match my house?
Only if your house is a light color. Dark colors absorb more heat from the sun and can expand. Because of safety features your tank won't explode, but the expanding gas could cause a leak.

How do I dispose of used tanks?
Small propane cylinders usually have expiration dates. After this date, they can be dangerous to use. Rusted or punctured tanks may also need to be retired, as they could be dangerous to use. If your tank is no longer usable, the easiest and safest option is to leave it with the propane company. They'll know how to safely dispose of it.

Have more propane questions? Contact your local Lakes Gas office and ask one of our professionals.

How to Pick a Propane Generator

Propane GeneratorYou probably don't want to think about it yet, but winter is just around the corner. That means snow and ice storms and the power outages that sometimes come with them.

Thankfully, a generator can help you prepare for a power outage. And a propane-powered one has added benefits you won't find with generators powered by gasoline or other fuels.

Here's why propane is a better choice to fuel your generator:

Works in cold temperatures. Because propane is stored in a very cold state, it won't thicken or freeze in even the coldest weather.

Won't Expire. You never know when you'll need your generator. So it makes sense to always have your fuel on hand. If you store it correctly, you can keep propane practically forever. You won't have to run out and get gasoline when a storm rolls in.

When it comes to generators, you have two options: portable and standby. Portable generators are smaller and work for a shorter period of time, but can be useful for shorter outages. Unlike standby generators, you'll need to start portable ones yourself. If you're buying a portable generator, look for one with enough outlets to plug in everything you'll need to power.

A standby generator is larger and installed permanently on your property. It can run for much longer than a portable model and will automatically kick on or off when the power goes out. When buying a standby generator, look for a quiet-run model that's rugged enough to withstand tough weather.

The Propane Education and Resource Council is currently offering incentives when you buy certain generators. Find more information here.

Tips for First-Time Users

First time userWhether you just moved into a house with a propane tank, or decided to take advantage of record low propane prices, your first experiences with propane may be a bit confusing. But don't worry, a little information is all you need to be comfortable using propane in your home. Here are some tips for the first-time user.

  1. Know your company. If you moved to a home with a tank, check it for a sticker. Contact the company to transfer deliveries to your name, if you own the home. The company will answer any questions you have about the delivery process. If you're a Lakes Gas customer, you can contact your nearest branch here.
  2. Know the smell. It's important that you're home for the first delivery. The delivery person will teach you what propane smells like. It's important to be able to detect a leak. He'll also go over some safety instructions, including how to react if you smell gas.
  3. Know the basics. The most important thing to know about propane is that it's safe. Propane tanks do not explode. But in case of a leak, you should never store propane in an enclosed area. Lots of safety tips can be found at Propane101.com.
  4. Know your yard. Before your first delivery, inform your company about the location of septic tanks, watering systems, and power lines so they can avoid them.

Tips for Camping with Propane

Camping with propanePropane is versatile and portable, making it a great choice to power your next camping trip. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you head out.

Know What You Need
Will you be cooking primarily with propane or over a campfire? How many propane-powered devices will you bring along? Planning out your activities before you head out will help you determine how much propane to bring and whether you need a 20 # tank or a couple 1 # tanks. The larger tanks are better for cooking, while the smaller ones are great to power lanterns and other devices that don't require as much propane.

Think About a Tree
A propane tree is great for running several propane devices from one tank. Make sure you turn off the tank and let propane in the hose burn off before you turn the device you're using off. Leaving pressurized propane in the hoses can clog them.

Transport it Safely
Don't toss your tanks in the back of your truck and go. Propane tanks need to be stored upright so secure them in a standing position. And don't leave them in the sun, where the propane gas could expand. Keep them in a cool, shady place.

Follow these tips and have a great time in the Great Outdoors!

Tips for Painting Your Propane Tank

Propane tank paintingIf you've had your propane tank for a little while, it could be looking chipped or faded. You may be tempted to haul out the paint and slap a new coat on it. Before you do, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Choose a Light Color
Painting your tank to match your house may not be the best idea. Dark colors absorb the heat and can cause the propane gas to expand. This could cause a pressure to build up in the tank. Because your tank is equipped with a pressure gauge, an explosion is unlikely, but excess pressure will cause the gauge to open, causing you to lose propane. Stick to white or another light color.

Remove Rust
Rust is bad news for propane tanks. Not only can severe rust cause leaks, it can also absorb heat. So take some sandpaper to your tank before its new paint job.

Watch Where You Paint
Stick to painting only the tank itself. Don't paint any gauges, valves, data plates or labels. You could be covering up important information you might need or destroying an important safety feature of the tank.
Want more information about your propane tank? Contact a Lakes Gas representative.