Propane tanks have a variety of uses around the house, like heating or cooking. They are inexpensive and easy to use, which explains why they have become popular. However, they can have issues that may cause problems and even safety issues, so you need to pay attention to the noises your propane tank makes.
Your propane tank makes noises when you overfill it — or it has imbalance issues or a leak. Other potential causes include trapped air inside, open relief valve, or regulator issues. You can release air or gas from the tank or replace the regulator to fix these issues. Call an expert to be safe.
Read the rest of this article to learn more about these reasons and a few others. I will also provide detailed fixes for each of the potential issues.
1. There Is a Propane Leak Making a Hissing Sound
You may be dealing with a leak if you hear a hissing noise from the tank. The gas may escape through a particular gap, which makes a specific noise. It would be best if you didn’t mistake the hissing the tank usually makes when you open it for the noise the leak makes.
You should never take a gas leak lightly — it may cause fires, explosions, and gas poisoning. If you hear a hissing sound and smell the typical rotten egg smell that manufacturers put in propane, it means there’s a leak, so you must proceed with caution.
See also: How Hot Can a Propane Tank Get Before It Explodes?
How to Fix
The first thing you need to do once you hear a hissing noise that is continuously coming from the propane tank is to turn off the tank’s valve. Additionally, turn off appliances powered by the propane tank and other nearby equipment.
Make sure to protect yourself and not inhale the gas. If the propane tank is indoors, leave the house if you can and stay somewhere safe until you resolve the problem. Understandably, this is a job for professionals, so don’t attempt to fix anything. Turn everything off, leave, and call professionals to handle the situation.
2. You Have Overfilled the Propane Tank
Sometimes a propane tank can make gurgling noises, which in most cases indicate that you have overfilled the propane tank. This oversight can be a significant problem because it may cause fires or explosions.
Additionally, the extra propane pressures the regulator, causing issues that make the tank underperform. This issue means that your burner won’t work at total capacity, or your heater won’t be able to heat the space effectively.
Besides the gurgling sounds, you’ll be able to see an overfilled propane tank if the flames are weak and it produces low heat. The pilot lights on a heater will also be discolored, indicating an issue. Pay attention to these details if you notice the gurgling sounds first.
How to Fix
As you can imagine, the solution to an overfilled propane tank is to drain it a little bit so it can go back to the recommended levels. You can drain the tank through the internal and external relief valves located in the tank.
However, this is something you can only do with professional guidance. You need to call an expert from the propane tank company and ask for directions. They can send someone to drain the tank for you or give instructions on how to do it yourself. If you want to be completely safe, leave it in the hands of professionals.
3. Trapped Air Inside the Propane Tank Is Making Noise
If you hear a humming sound coming from your tank, you may be dealing with air trapped inside the hose of your propane tank. The air inside can get inside a propane line while changing tanks, and you will only realize it once you see its effects. It can cause your appliances not to start at all.
As you can see, the air in the propane tank hose is an issue, but it is not a complex problem. If you think that the pocket of air is causing the humming sounds, you can take steps to remove it.
How to Fix
It’s best to purge air out of the propane lines to fix this issue. This process may sound intimidating, but it’s a pretty straightforward process in most cases. For example, to purge air from your stove top burner, you only need to follow a few simple steps:
- Rotate the propane tank valve counterclockwise to open it; rotate it as far as possible.
- Turn on all of your stove burners one by one.
- Observe the flames and wait.
- When the flames are stable and bright blue, turn the burners off; blue flames signal that you have purged the air pocket from the propane line.
- Rotate the valve clockwise to shut it off.
- Check if the propane tank still makes noise to ensure the problem is solved.
You can always leave this process to a professional if you want to be completely safe.
4. Imbalance of Air and Propane Inside the Tank
If the noise your propane tank makes resembles knocking from the inside, it might mean that the mixture of air and propane inside the tank is unbalanced. This imbalance means that an incorrect ratio of air or propane might cause a problem.
This problem is not too urgent, but it’s still something that may mean more problems in the future. It’s best to take care of it as soon as possible, even to make the noise stop. Watch the flames on your burner, for instance, to ensure that this issue causes the knocking sound.
Typically, the flames on stove burners should be primarily blue and their tip yellow. If the flames are all yellow or white, your propane tank has a problem — due to an uneven mixture of air and propane inside the tank.
How to Fix
The typical way of solving the problem of the uneven mixture inside the tank is to use the relief valve to release some gas, similar to the solution to the overfilled tank problem. Once you determine this is the issue you’re facing, call a professional to confirm and give instructions on what to do.
If they give you instructions on how to release gas in some way, follow them correctly. However, if you want to leave the work to the expert, let them know and wait for them to arrive without touching the tank.
5. The Propane Tank Relief Valve Is Open
There’s another explanation for the hissing sound besides a gas leak. Sometimes, the propane tank makes this sound if the relief valve is open. As you can imagine, the relief valve helps you release gas if there’s a problem with excess gas inside or an uneven mixture, as you saw above.
Whether the relief valve is open or broken, it may be letting gas out without you knowing, so you must fix this problem. You may also smell the typical propane smell in this case.
How to Fix
You should confirm that the issue lies in your relief valve, not in a leak somewhere. You can quickly check the relief valve by locating it on the tank and checking its safety cover. If the cover has sprung open, the valve is open and releasing gas.
You can close the valve again by turning it clockwise if it’s opened because of pressure inside. However, if the valve is broken and releasing gas, you need to contact an expert as soon as possible and follow the exact instructions that you’d follow for a leak. Turn off everything and leave the house if you can.
6. Your Propane Tank Has Regulator Issues
You can also hear peculiar squealing noises from your propane tank, which may cause you to think there’s an issue. You would be right because squealing signals issues concerning the regulator of your propane tank.
A faulty regulator is not an urgent issue but it is still a concern. The regulator makes sure that the gas flows using even pressure, so when it’s broken, you may notice fluctuations in the flames of your stovetop. You’ll see the flames going up and down, which decreases the efficiency of your appliance. You may also notice the color of the flames change.
How to Fix
Understandably, replacing the propane tank regulator is the only way to fix this problem. This process doesn’t necessarily require expert knowledge or tools, so it’s possible to do it yourself, always ensuring you’re safe and careful.
However, always consult a professional to ensure you’re doing the right thing. Professionals will provide guidelines and instructions if you wish to replace the regulator yourself or will instruct you to wait and let them do the work.
You may also like: Can Propane Tanks Freeze and Explode?
Using a propane tank to power your appliances is pretty standard because it’s cheap and easy to find. However, propane tanks pose certain risks, primarily when you use them indoors. You shouldn’t be able to hear any sounds from a propane tank, so you should assume that there might be a problem whenever you hear any noise like:
There are potentially urgent issues behind these noises, so make sure to check the tank and call professionals to get instructions on how to deal with these issues or to ask them to help.