Lakes Gas Blog

Are you hitting the road this summer to see the country from your recreational vehicle?

Before you get behind the wheel, take some time to learn about your vehicle’s propane system. A little knowledge will make it easy to stay safe and have fun this summer. Here’s a rundown from the Propane Education and Research Council

What should I get checked?

Be sure to get your propane system checked by a certified dealer once a year to ensure everything is working properly and there are no leaks. Older propane tanks should be checked to ensure they have an overfill protection device and working intake and exhaust vents to prevent blockages caused by debris.

It’s important to remember that RVs generally change hands many times. They may be resold, rented, or rebuilt frequently. Previous owners may have modified the propane system by replacing the propane cylinders with a larger one or installing vent protectors, or propane taps for barbecue grills, generators, and other propane appliances. You’ll want to know what modifications have taken place so you can report them when your vehicle is inspected.

What modifications can I make to my propane tank?

You may need to upgrade your RV, but you should not paint propane cylinders, valves, or mounting equipment. Doing so could cover up service issues that could be dangerous if left alone. And painting a cylinder a dark color can make it absorb more sun, causing the gas to expand, which could lead to an explosion.

Can I keep my propane system on while I’m driving?

PERC recommends against it. Though some RV owners drive with the system on to run their air conditioning and keep their refrigerators cold, doing so causes huge risks. During travel, a line can break causing propane to escape into the RV and ignite with the smallest flame.

When you consider that most RV refrigerators can keep groceries cold for hours even when they’re turned off, riding with your system on doesn’t seem worth the risk.

 Whatever you decide, be sure to turn off your propane system when refueling, as neglecting to do so can cause large explosions.

Follow these tips and have a great time this season!

 

Summer’s almost here!

Soon, school will be out and families will be firing up those propane-powered grills for cookouts.

If you have children in your home, it’s important to teach them how to be safe around propane to avoid possible injury, property damage, and fire.

But let’s be honest: Propane safety is not the world’s most exciting topic. If your attempts to talk about it with your children have resulted in eye rolls, here are some tips you may want to try from the Propane Education and Research Council’s PropaneKids.com.

Let your child be a “safety ranger” for a day. Walk around your home with him, armed with this checklist. Show him where you use propane in your home and check for any hazards. If you see one, explain why it is dangerous and correct it. Then, have him help you point out other hazards. Remind him to always report any propane hazards to an adult.

Designate a “family meeting place” and let your child design a sign for it. This is a spot outside your home where your family will meet in any emergency, propane related or otherwise. From here, you’ll decide what to do next.

Conduct a drill. Have your children pretend to smell gas and react accordingly, practicing the safety plan you’ve designed for a propane emergency.  Correct any mistakes, and praise behavior that follows your plan.

Make it fun. Games are a lot more fun for your kids than listening to a safety speech. So illustrate your messages about propane safety with interactive activities. For instance, the web site suggests an activity to help your kids understand how quickly gas can travel and how it is usually not visible. Stand on the other end of a room from your children and spray a scented air freshener. Do not tell your children what the scent is, but see how long it takes them to guess it. You can even time their responses to show them how quickly a dangerous gas could travel.

Making propane safety interesting for your children can help them remember what to do in an emergency. For more tips and activities, go to the PorpaneKids.com Tools and Resources page

You use propane for your grill and in your home. But it’s not just keeping you warm and cooking your food. It’s taking you places.

Your city’s police cars and your children’s school busses – even your local public transportation vehicles – may all be running on propane.

There are more than 350,000 vehicles run on propane in the U.S., according to a National Propane Gas Association report. Many of them are part of a fleet, such as service trucks, school busses, shuttle busses and law enforcement vehicles.

That means that whether you own a propane-powered vehicle or not, you may be riding in or otherwise benefitting from one.

So why are cities, companies, and school districts shunning gasoline in favor of propane?

Propane is a popular auto gas for the same reasons it is popular on farms and in homes: it is cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and versatile.

But propane also has one big advantage over gasoline that makes it perfect for fleet vehicles that must run in cold weather.

Propane auto gas vehicles with liquid injection systems avoid the cold-start problems common to gasoline-powered vehicles, which means no more missing work or school on winter days because your car (or bus) won’t start.

And in a recent edition of trade magazine LP Gas, Blue Bird reported their propane-powered school buses started and ran well – even during icy polar vortex conditions in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin that included temperatures of -13 degrees.

If you make decisions about fleets, or are just considering a “greener” personal vehicle, propane gas is worth looking into. Just don’t count on “my car won’t start” as your winter excuse for missing work.

 
 
 

If you’ve recently decided to switch to propane gas, you may have some natural gas appliances laying around that aren’t yet equipped to handle propane gas.

And with the do-it-yourself fever that seems to sweep into our lives every spring, you might be thinking about converting those appliances yourself.

Though mostly possible, appliance conversion has become more difficult over the past few decades, as appliance manufacturers create models specifically designed for either propane or natural gas.

If an appliance can be converted, doing so involves replacing gas orifices, burners and/or appliance regulators to allow for the vast difference in pressure between natural gas and propane gas.

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you’re thinking of converting an appliance from conventional to propane gas:

    1. Check the appliance. Most will list the specific gas it is designed for and whether it can be converted. This information can be found on the rating plate, located near the gas control valve. If your appliance can be converted, the packaging will most likely say so as well, and a conversion kit might even be included in the package.
    2. Find out if you need an expert. Some cities have ordinances that require conversion be done by a trained professional. You’ll want to review the laws in your area before you begin any project. If you’re unsure of the process, or have never done it before, it might be wise to leave it to an expert. Additionally, certain parts, such as appliance generators, should only ever be changed or serviced by a professional to avoid damage or safety hazards.
    3. Never attempt to convert an appliance if you are unsure whether it can be converted. You could start a fire or permanently damage the appliance.
    4. Check your supplies. It is imperative that the parts used are the correct size. Improperly sized burners, for instance, can combust or damage the appliance.
    5. Do not attempt to convert electric appliances. Conversions are only possible between natural gas and propane appliances.
    6. Consider the cost. Often, it is cheaper to buy a new appliance than to purchase the parts necessary to convert an old one.

Following this advice will help you decide whether conversion from conventional gas to propane is the right choice for you.

Did you see the February 2014 issue of LP Gas? The trade magazine devoted much of its “Southern Hospitality” issue to ranking the top 50 propane retailers in the country.

Lakes Gas was ranked number 12, just below many companies who served customers in every state. Lakes Gas operates in five states: Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota.

The propane companies were rated based on sales of propane gallons in the fiscal year 2013. During that time period, Lakes Gas sold 51,000,000 gallons to its 93,500 customers.

The list of propane service companies also included facts about each propane company, including details about their corporate headquarters, year founded, number of locations, and number of U.S. states served.

Read the full list and article here.

Thanks for your help in our continued growth!

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