North Shore Oil & Propane
Safety
Carbon Monoxide

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?

You can't taste or smell CO, but it is a very dangerous gas, produced when any fuel burns. High levels of CO can come from appliances that are not operating correctly, or from a venting system or chimney that becomes blocked.  CO CAN BE DEADLY! In some cases, CO can cause brain damage or death.

SYMPTOMS OF CO POISONING INCLUDE

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea

IF YOU SUSPECT CO IS PRESENT, ACT IMMEDIATELY!

  1. If you or a family member shows physical symptoms of CO poisoning, get everyone out of the building and call 911 or your local fire department.
  2. If it is safe to do so, open windows to allow entry of fresh air, and turn off any appliances you suspect may be releasing CO.
  3. If no one has symptoms, but you suspect that CO is present, call NSOP or a qualified technician to check CO levels and your propane equipment.

TO HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CO POISONING:

  • Have a qualified service technician check your propane appliances and related venting systems annually, preferably before the heating season begins.
  • Install UL-listed CO detectors on every level of your home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range-top burners to provide space heating
  • Never use portable heaters indoors unless they are designed and approved for indoor use.
  • Never use a barbecue grill ( propane or charcoal) indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Regularly check your appliances exhaust vents for blockage.

SIGNS OF IMPROPER APPLIANCE OPERATION THAT CAN GENERATE HIGH CO LEVELS:

  • Sooting, especially on appliances and vents
  • Unfamiliar or burning odor
  • Increased moisture condensation on windows

 

 
Clear the Way!

Our drivers and service personnel need safe access to all tanks and equipment.  During the summertime this really only involves clearing weeds and brush away from the fuel and propane tanks, but in the winter can be much more of a burden.  Please be kind to our drivers and service personnel by making sure to clear the way to the tanks in the wintertime.

Please consider the following:

  • Is my driveway passable?  It might need plowing and sanding in order for the truck to make it in or out safely.
  • Can the delivery man FIND the tank in the snow?
  • Are there buried toys or other debris under the snow waiting to injure somebody?
  • Do low hanging branches need to be trimmed back?
  • Are rose bushes or other thorny fauna far enough away from the tank and path of travel that nobody will get poked or cut?
  • Is there slippery ice that could be sanded chipped away?

Over time, fewer injuries mean lower prices for everybody!

 
Propane Safety - What If I'm Out?

If you smell propane click here!

Sometimes it can be tough to know when you are out of propane.  The following image is of the propane tank "liquid level gauge" that is installed on every ANSI approved tank either above ground or below ground.  Call us when it gets in the red <20% range!

Most have a red colored section starting at the 20% mark.  We generally strive to fill the tank when it gets down to between the 20-30% range.  For safety and to comply with regulations, we fill tanks to the 80% mark.  With 80% considered the useful 'top' of the tank, every 20% is actually a quarter of your usable propane.  If it took you 3 weeks to get down from a full tank to the 20% range, then you've got roughly another week to go when  you hit 20%.

If your tank is below 20%, please call or order online right away to avoid an outage situation.  Please tell our staff that your propane tank is low and let them know the percentage.  We will do our best to get you within the next day or two so that you don't run out.

To add more confusion, these gauges are magnetic in nature.  They can be thrown off by electromagnetic fields generated by power lines, large equipment, Magnetite, Taconite, or other iron rich rock formations.  Along the tri-county area that we service, we seem to have a lot of those abnormalities.

Occasionally the liquid level gauge sticks in a certain position as the propane is used up.  This can be obvious when the gauge reads the exact same level for several days straight.  Giving the tank a moderate shake can usually loosen it and provide an accurate reading.

All reports of outages are treated, for safety reasons, as being caused by a leak.  If you let your tank run out, we cannot assume that it ran out naturally, and must perform leak tests and inspections to guarantee the integrity of the system and that it is safe to put back into operation.  Please see our 'I smell Propane' page.

 
Propane Safety - What if I Smell Gas?

If you smell gas, you may  have a leak or an outage situation.  All reports of outages, for safety reasons, are assumed to be caused by leaks until proven otherwise by proper leak tests and inspection.

IF YOU SMELL GAS

  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor's home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call NSOP right away. If you can't reach us quickly, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until NSOP employees or emergency personnel determine that it is safe to do so.
  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

Are you sure you can smell it?

Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk's spray, or a dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people and smokers may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Consider purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.

Oderant Fade is an unintended reduction in the concentration of the ordorant chemical that is added to propane.  It is a condition that makes it more difficult to smell. Although infrequent, a couple situations that can cause odorant fade include:

  • The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder
  • The filtering of leaking propane through the soil


Since there is a possibility of odor fade or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

 


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