Are Propane Grills Safe?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Are Propane Grills Safe?” and will discuss why a propane grill can explode.

Are Propane Grills Safe?

Yes, propane grills are safe. Propane grills are very safe if used correctly, but if a gas valve is left open, a buildup of gas that is subsequently ignited by a flame may cause an explosion. Temperatures over 160° may also lead to an explosion because they raise the pressure within the tank, causing the safety release valve to be unable to keep up. However, such occurrences are very uncommon.

Do propane tanks for grills have the potential to blow up?

Yes.  However, unless a few unusual circumstances exist, it’s extremely improbable. By now, I’ve been grilling for almost two decades now. My background is Texan, and that’s how we roll. One in 37 million people will die in a propane tank explosion, according to the US Department of Energy.

It’s easy to see how rare something like that would be, but it does happen. Urban legends about propane tank explosions have been investigated by the television program MythBusters as well. They wanted to test whether, like in the film Casino Royale, firing a tank with a pistol would result in a huge explosion.

A propane tank may release a propane cloud, but an open flame is required for it to ignite to cause a cloud to form. If you have a propane tank connected to your grill and everything is in excellent operating condition, you shouldn’t have any problems or witness any explosions.

Don’t, however, attempt to shoot your grill.

Explosions caused by propane are usually caused by one of two things:

·         An open flame source may ignite the gas if it’s left on. This can happen when it’s left on for a long period.

·         Fire is the most frequent problem caused by very high temperatures in and around the tank.

What might cause a propane tank to go off without warning?

Due to the rarity of a grill fire, the most probable cause of a propane tank explosion is an open tank valve. Gas tends to accumulate when this occurs. Leaving a burner knob on while extinguishing a flame may cause gas buildup within your grill. You’d have a lot of propane gas in the grill if you went ahead and lit it right after you lit the grill.

Lighting the grill at that time may produce a flare-up, but a full tank explosion is extremely improbable since a huge quantity of gas would have to accumulate. It’s necessary to expose the propane tank to very high heat to cause the second kind of propane tank explosion, which I previously described.

I’m not referring to the scorching Texas summers. My concern is with very high temperatures, such as those that could be present near the tank’s location, such as a forest fire. Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) occurs when a propane tank is subjected to high heat, such as a fire.

To put it another way, when propane is subjected to that much heat, it starts to boil. Boiling anything, as we all know, releases steam. Steam can’t escape from a propane tank since there is nowhere for it to go. As a result, pressure builds up. The tank may ultimately collapse and explode if there is nowhere for the excess pressure to go.

The tanks used to store propane are very durable. Propane tanks of all kinds are required by law to include a pressure release valve to prevent tanks from bursting due to high-pressure conditions.

It’s called a BLEVE because it occurs when the tank’s pressure increases faster than the safety release valve can relieve it. The tank may burst if it occurs. However, that gas will not ignite if it is not in contact with a flame source.

What happens if the propane tank gets too hot and explodes?

Yes.  When it’s 70 degrees outdoors, the pressure in a 20-pound propane tank is 145 pounds per square inch, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 

When the temperature rises to 90 degrees, the pressure within the tank rises to 180 pounds per square inch. The pressure within the tank rises to 235 psi when it is hot enough to feel like Texas, which is about 105°.

In other words, how high can a propane tank’s pressure go? Of course, this will vary based on several factors, such as how full the tank is. As a general rule, the pressure relief valve should begin venting when the pressure reaches 375 pounds per square inch (psi).

If a tank is 375 psi hot, how hot does it have to be? It’s somewhere about 160 degrees. As you can see, exposure to the sun in the middle of summer will not cause your propane tank to blow up. To do so, far higher temperatures are required.

Other FAQs about Propane Grills that you may be interested in.

Is it Safe to Use a Propane Grill Indoors?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Are Propane Grills Safe?” and discussed why a propane grill can explode.

References