Gas Cylinder Explosion At Company Barbecue.

Once out of idleness and curiosity I looked up LP cylinder explosions.  A propane tank explosion is an incredible and awesome thing to see.  The ones I looked at not only blew approximately 20′ high but then set-off ignition of other propane tanks in the area.  In Colorado this article:

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_26178056/gas-grill-explodes-at-surveygizmo-barbecue-east-boulder?source=rss

reports a company barbecue event exploded only 5 minutes after lighting the barbecues.  According to the fire fighters on the scene:

Investigators said the fire likely began where the grill hose attaches to the gas tank hose.

A propane barbecue using the ever-common LP cylinder will have a soft rubber hose attached to the gas manifold which is where all the control valves are attached so each valve can pull gas from the pipe and spray gas into the burners.  At the end of this rubber hose is the LP regulator and a plastic hand-wheel which threads to the thick threads on the outside of theLP tank valve.  This type of connection with the plastic hand wheel and thick external threads on the propane cylinder are called “type 1 QCC” connection.

A common LP regulator is designed to function for approximately 5 years.  Most regulators will last plenty longer than 5 years but it is always a good idea to swap the hose and regulator every 5 years.  Also always check the LP cylinders which have to be certified every 12 years in order to be safe.

One final thing to check is the threading itself.  Because the threads are so thick it is possible to attach the type-e-1-QCC regulator connection a little crooked.  Usually a crooked connection will have difficulty pressing the release inside the tank valve so we’ll get no gas flow at all but it is possible to tighten the connection tight enough to press the seal and release gas but the gas will leak around the connection in addition to flowing through the low pressure LP regulator.

When in doubt, pour soapy water all over the connections.  just like looking for the leak in a rubber tire, leaking gas will blow bubbles in the soapy water.  Be aware.  Cooking with propane is safe but as with anything be aware of the limitations, certification dates and leaks that could explode!

 

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