FAQ: What Do I Do If My Tank Valve “Pops”?

faq valve safety_what if tank valve pops_may 08As Georgia Gas Distributors Customer Service & Dispatch Representative, Susan Yarbrough says that she receives calls from concerned customers during late spring and summer about a valve “popping off” of their propane tanks.

“This is nothing to worry about. It’s perfectly normal,” Susan says.

In fact, your tank’s Pressure Relief Valve is also known by another name: “the pop-off valve,” because that is exactly what it needs to do in the event that pressure builds up in your tank because of high temperatures.

“The pop-off valve is one of the most important valves on your tank,” she says. You’ll find them on full-size propane tanks, as well as on the smaller cylinders commonly used for grilling.
How does it work?

Just below the valve is a spring that is set to a certain pressure. The pressure inside the tank is normally less than the pressure on the spring. But if pressure inside the tank rises to more than the pressure on the spring, the valve “pops” open to relieve the pressure. The increased pressure is usually caused by the propane liquid inside the tank expanding as it warms up due to rising outside temperatures from the heat of the day. Once the tank pressure returns to normal, the valve closes.

Is it normal for it to make a “popping” sound?

It is perfectly normal, and it means that the pressure release valve is doing exactly what it was designed to do. When the pressure inside the tank is significantly higher than the pressure on the spring, the valve will open with a loud “pop!”, and excess propane gas is released through the opening.

What if I hear a “hissing” sound?

A small amount of propane is released (and does “hiss”) when the valve pops open. But prolonged “hissing” can tell us that the valve is stuck open (usually caused by debris that accumulated around the valve, which doesn’t allow the valve to close properly after the pressure has returned to normal). If a hissing sound persists, call your Georgia Gas Distributors representative right away, and keep open flames, sparks, etc., away from the tank.

Please let us know if you have questions about your propane tank, appliances, or any other service question, and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!