There are some simple precautions you can take to keep your heating system safe this winter from the elements. Falling snow and ice can cause serious damage to your fuel storage system. For your safety, please make every effort to keep your propane and/or oil storage systems free from significant volumes of snow and ice that could cause damage.
After a snow storm: Should your tank become covered in snow, use a broom to clear it as a shovel may damage the tank. Be aware of icicles and snow that may fall off your roof and onto your tank. Weight from the icicles can cause structural damage to your home and may lead to collapsing of awnings or gutters to fall as well.
After the storm passes and it is safe to do so, check the entire area for downed power lines, damaged gas lines or piping, or damage to your tank. Immediately contact your local utility company or Irving Energy if any of these hazards exist. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
Finally, you should clear snow and ice from your driveway and clear a path to your tank so we can keep your tank full and your home warm all winter.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
Now that the snow is FINALLY melting, it is time to talk about the safety of the heating oil and propane lines that run outside from your tank into your home. This year was one of the most challenging in memory regarding the amount of snow and ice that fell off roofs. As the snow continued to accumulate, it wasn’t until March, or even April that the snow started to melt and slide off the roof. This melting snow and ice can be very dangerous to anyone or anything below. Your heating oil and propane tanks and lines are also at risk if they are not installed in an optimal location.
One night, we received a call about a propane leak caused by falling ice. The ice hit a propane regulator. After advising the customer to temporarily relocate to a safer location outside of their home, Irving Technicians responded immediately (along with the local fire department) and repaired the damage and relocated the regulator to a more appropriate location away from the dangers of falling ice. I then decided to take a good hard look at my own home. My propane lines were installed by the previous homeowner’s propane company and they run directly below the earth’s surface. I’m not sure where they run, but I can assume that the ground above them took the brunt of heavy snow and ice when it fell off my roof. Because of this, I’m going to call my local Irving Energy branch and have new propane lines run in a safer location (on the gable end of my home.)
I recommend that everyone take this time to look at your heating oil or propane tank and ensure it is in the safest location possible. Or better yet, call a highly trained Irving professional technician so they can visit and give you sound advice on what safety improvements you can make to your system. Here’s to a great Spring and I look forward to talking with you soon!
Our propane and heating oil delivery drivers take pride in keeping you warm. Winter is a busy time for heating fuel companies and to ensure proper delivery to your home and business our drivers send along this friendly safety reminder. Please ensure that we can easily access your propane tanks and fuel fill pipes and that your driveway is clear and safe. Use special caution when clearing snow around tanks and lines to ensure you do not damage them. Additionally, ensure the vents on any direct vented heating appliances are clear from snow that my have fallen off your roof or your deck. If you have any other questions concerning propane or heating oil delivery please call 1.888.310.1924 or visit our Safety Tips. Propane users can find more safety tips online at www.pgane.org and www.propanesafety.com.
Please help us keep you warm this winter. Your comfort is very important to us and we appreciate your help so that we can deliver your fuel safely.
Valuable information and good conversations – that sums up what we are looking to accomplish on Irving Energy’s Blog.
We wish to provide readers of our blog with relevant and valuable information on topics related to all things heating oil, propane, and diesel. Irving Energy is fortunate to be made up of hundreds of great people with boatloads of knowledge and years of experience about keeping you warm and fueling your business. If you have questions like what’s the trend in heating oil prices, is price protection a good option for me, or how should I keep my furnace running efficiently, then the team here has answers.
Right now we get to share this knowledge with our customers on the phone, via email, or face to face in our customers’ basements, driveways, and front porches – we have thousands of conversations with our customers every day. Our blog gives us another venue for these conversations.
We know how we are going to start and even have our first few posts written, but beyond that we are looking for your feedback and comments to determine where we end up. We can’t have a good conversation without at least two people involved, so we’re looking forward to talking with you.