Small propane cylinders are convenient, portable and much less expensive than the large propane tanks you might use to heat your home or power your big appliances. But it’s important to remember that small propane cylinders can still be dangerous if they are not properly used, stored and handled. Keep these safety tips from the Propane Education and Resource Council in mind when you use small propane cylinders. 

Transporting cylinders

  • Always transport propane cylinders in their upright positions. On their side they may roll or shift, which could cause damage. 
  • When moving cylinders, always turn the valve off and close securely with a plug, if necessary, even if the cylinder is empty. If you’re not sure if a plug is needed, ask your propane retailer. 
  • Put the cylinder in a well-ventilated area of your vehicle, such as a truck bed. Remove immediately when you arrive at your destination. Never leave a filled propane cylinder in a hot car. Heat causes propane to expand, which could lead to a gas leak or an explosion. 


  • Keep propane cylinders outside. Never keep them indoors or in an enclosed area, such as a garage, shed or basement. 
  • Keep them in a cool place. Do not expose cylinders to heat above 120 degrees. That temperature could cause combustion or a leak. 
  • Keep propane cylinders away from flames. That includes smoking or using spark-producing tools. Any flame could cause combustion. 


  • Propane smells like rotten eggs, skunk spray or dead animals. If you smell a leak, even faintly, or hear a hissing noise near your tank, turn off the valve. Leave the area and call the fire department or 911. Do not restart your appliance until a qualified technician has inspected your tank and the appliance. 
  • You should also test for leaks before you use your propane tank after a period of non-use. Dab a leak detector solution or soapy water to the connector valve and outlet (these should be marked with an “X”). Open the cylinder valve and watch for bubbles. If you see bubbles, close the cylinder valve, tighten the connection, and slowly open the valve again. If you still see bubbles, contact Lakes Gas immediately. 

Refilling cylinders 

  • Make sure your propane cylinder has an overfill protection device. If a tank is overfilled, the propane may not have enough room to expand, which could lead to combustion. 
  • Do not use a propane cylinder that has been damaged or involved in a fire. All cylinders should be tested before they are used. Damaged cylinders are likely dangerous. If you need to dispose of a damaged cylinder, don’t toss it in the trash. Contact Lakes Gas for tips on proper disposal.


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