New Propane Safety Device on the Menu for this Summer's Cookout Season

June 1, 1999

Lisle, IL (June, 1999) - More than 55 percent of homeowners who cook outdoors use propane gas grills because of their instant even flame, precise temperature control and easy cleanup. Unlike cooking with charcoal and lighter fluid, propane gas grills do not produce potentially harmful emissions.

This summer, some consumers will find they need a new safety device when they take their older propane cylinders to be refilled. An overfilling prevention device (OPD) is required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 58, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, 1998 Edition. The OPD offers additional protection against filling the cylinder with too much propane, providing consumers with even greater peace of mind.

'If the cylinder is at least 12 years old, it must be periodically 'requalified' to ensure that it is safe for continued service,' said Daniel N. Myers, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Propane Gas Association. At the time the cylinder is requalified, NFPA 58 requires the cylinder to have the new OPD valve installed. NFPA 58 also requires all small propane cylinders have an OPD installed by April 2002.

Propane Grill Safety

'People choose propane gas grills because they are safe and convenient,' Myers says. 'The OPD provides additional protection and helps prevent potentially hazardous conditions caused by cylinders that may be overfilled. Because propane expands as it gets warmer, it is important not to exceed the proper filling limit for each cylinder to avoid an unintentional release of propane.'

The OPD is similar to the floating device in a conventional toilet tank. As a cylinder is refilled and the propane liquid level rises, the floating device also rises. When the propane liquid fills approximately 80% of the cylinder's volume, the OPD valve mechanism shuts off the liquid flow into the cylinder.

Since October 1, 1998, all newly manufactured small propane cylinders are equipped with an OPD. According to Roy Willis, President of the Propane Education & Research Council, there are two ways to identify an OPD-equipped cylinder. 'The tank may have a special triangular handwheel with the letters 'OPD,' or the tank may have an OPD wrapper or warning label.'

'When getting their cylinders refilled at their local propane supplier,' he continues, 'consumers should ask the service person to check the date that their cylinders need to be requalified. If the cylinder is due for requalification, an OPD must be installed. Consumers should keep in mind that in many parts of the country, starting April 1, 2002, cylinders without OPDs cannot be refilled.'

'Above all, consumers can feel good knowing this new safety device will give them extra protection and additional peace of mind, when they're spending time with family and friends, enjoying a cookout with their gas grills,' Willis added.

For more information see your propane supplier, or call the NPGA at 1-800-968-9484.

Propane Gas Grill Safety Tips

  • Always read the owner's manual before using your grill.
  • Always use the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep the grill away from buildings, dry leaves or brush.
  • Make sure all connections are tight before lighting the burner.
  • Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
  • Always check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the cylinder.
  • Never attach or disconnect a cylinder or move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or hot.
  • Never use a cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of external damage: it may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane supplier.
  • Keep the grill and cylinder clean.
  • Always keep the lid open when lighting a gas grill to prevent gas build up.
  • If a burner doesn't ignite, turn off the gas. Keep the grill's lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light again. If the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF.
  • Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight, following lighting instructions.
    Never attempt to move a hot grill.
  • When not in use, the cylinder valve must be turned to the OFF position.
  • Never store a propane cylinder indoors.
  • Always store propane cylinders upright, in areas where temperatures won't exceed 125 degrees F. Never store a spare cylinder on or near a grill.