It's summer and, boy, are you enjoying the grill. But you're going out of town, and you think you should probably turn off the propane while you're gone. You're right and, in fact, you need to turn it off after every single use. But first, you need to know where and how to do it, including identifying the valve.
How to Turn Off a Gas Grill Propane Tank
The most common use of propane tanks is to power gas grills. These are typically 20-pound tanks. The propane supply to the grill should be turned off after each use. This may seem extreme to some grill owners, but it's a fact that, if the knob were to be bumped or turned on by mistake — or if rodents chewed through the gas hose, not an uncommon occurrence — the best-case scenario would be that you would waste a lot of propane, and the worst case would be a fire or explosion.
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Step 1: Inspect the Tank
Start by taking a good look at the propane tank. Maintaining the tank is an important part of grill care. Wipe dirt and foreign material from the top of the tank around the gas valve and from the gas valve itself with a rag.
Step 2: Check the Grill
Turn all knobs on the grill to the off position.
Step 3: Find the Valve
The propane valve is at the top of the tank and resembles a male hose end. Attached to it is the knob, which is usually shaped like a fat triangle or a rounded star shape.
Step 4: Turn It Off
The valve knob should have a dial with an arrow indicating the directions for open and close. Turn it in the off direction (almost always clockwise). Be sure to turn the knob all the way so you know it's completely off and closed.
How to Turn Off a Home Propane Tank
Some homes use large propane tanks for heating or cooking indoors. Sometimes you need to turn off the propane at individual appliances, but other times you need to turn off the main tank. These are large tanks stored outdoors near the house or in the yard.
The tanks can hold hundreds of gallons, so it is important to know how to turn off the gas if needed. Cylinders used to supply home cooking appliances with propane need not be turned off after each use, but need to be turned off if the appliance won't be used for extended periods or when the cylinder needs to be changed.
If you suspect a problem with your tank or smell gas, vacate the area and call the fire department for immediate assistance.
Step 1: Locate the Shutoff Valve
The top of the tank has a large, round lid with a hinge allowing you to open it. When you open the lid of the tank, you can see the shutoff valve, typically a round knob.
Step 2: Stop the Flow of Propane
Turn the knob to the right or clockwise all the way to close the valve and stop the flow of propane. If you have multiple tanks, shut them all off.
Gas Tank Maintenance and Warnings
Keep propane tanks in good working order by having them inspected regularly, as leaking propane containers are extremely dangerous. Propane tanks used for home grilling have expiration dates, after which the vendor selling the propane will no longer fill the tank, but will replace it with another. Still it's the owner's responsibility to inspect and ensure that the tank appears to be in good shape between fillings.
It's safe to turn your small propane tank off and back on, but never turn the gas on yourself for larger tanks in your yard that run bigger appliances. For these types of tanks, contact the propane supplier.
Handle propane tanks with care. Grills are designed to be used near the accompanying propane tank, but don't allow other combustible materials within 10 feet of your tank. Check for leaks each time you turn the tank on. Do not use a propane cylinder that you suspect is leaking.
If you smell propane before the propane appliance is lit, turn off the propane tank and the appliance. If the smell stops, have the appliance checked. If the smell does not stop or if you smell propane while the appliance is lit, leave the area immediately and call the fire department.