How to Store Gasoline Safely
While gasoline itself may not exactly be flammable, the vapors produced are extremely combustible. Because of this, gasoline is considered to be an unstable and potentially deadly substance.
In order to prevent any devastating fires or explosions, it is important to follow the correct gasoline storage practices which we are going to take a look at here today.
You need to learn which are the best places to store your gasoline as well as the correct containers to use. It is also important to understand how to store gasoline if you are using it for a home power generator.
Where are the Best Places to Store Your Gasoline?
First off, never ever store your gasoline in your home. Doing so is not only a serious fire hazard, but a public health hazard as well.
Exposure to the fumes is associated with certain health risks. It is not just toxic when people ingest it. It can also cause damage to the skin, eyes, and lungs when a person comes into contact with gasoline liquid or the fumes or vapors of gasoline. The effects of gasoline poisoning can harm every major organ in the body.
Inhaling the vapors can irritate the sensitive lung tissues, and a number of the chemicals can enter the bloodstream which then makes it difficult for the body to move oxygen around the body tissues, causing healthy tissue to die.
Symptoms that commonly occur following gasoline vapor exposure include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Flushing of the face
- Coughing or wheezing
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart failure
So now that you understand why you should never store gasoline in your home, where should you store it?
Well, gasoline should always be kept in an outdoor structure such as a tool shed, a storage barn, or a separate garage. The temperature within the structure should have an average internal temperature of about 80° Fahrenheit or below.
For obvious reasons, there should be no potential sources of ignition anywhere near where the gasoline is stored. This includes hot water tanks and radiators. To be safe, you should also have a fire extinguisher handy at all times near your gasoline storage location.
Always Use the Correct Containers
Now, I really shouldn’t have to tell you to always use the correct containers, it’s common sense yet many people fail to follow even the simplest of instructions putting themselves and others at risk.
Gasoline should only be stored in authorized containers that are firmly sealed and clearly labeled. These containers can usually be purchased at hardware stores at reasonable prices so there really isn’t any excuse for not using them.
Be sure to leave some room in the container to allow for some expansion.
Never store your gasoline in glass jugs or other improvised receptacles and make sure the storage containers you do use have suitable lids. You can’t just stuff a rag into the opening of a container. This is downright dangerous.
It is best to store the least amount of fuel required for an operation. Gasoline rapidly decomposes, so it is less pure if it has been stored for longer than several weeks. As a result, gasoline that is stored over the winter season will probably be worthless by the time spring comes.
Be sure to add a couple ounces of fuel stabilizer per 5-gallons of fuel prior to filling the tank with gasoline. This will ensure your fuel stays fresh for up to a year. For a 25-gallon tank, you’ll need approximately 10 ounces of fuel stabilizer.
If you own a home generator for use during power outages, you should never under any circumstances, try to store gas in its tank. This is again due to gasoline’s tendency to rapidly break down. If your generator is unused for an extended period, the gas sitting in it may cause severe destruction to the internal parts.
Instead, you should only store your gasoline in an approved receptacle as mentioned above and only add the gas to your generator when you need to.
Don’t store your gas in the same room or location where your generator operates either, since a generator is a potential source of ignition.
In general, gasoline should be used within a month of purchasing it. If the engine is not going to be used for an extended period of time, it’s best to drain the fuel tank and then run the engine until it stalls.
- If you get gasoline on your skin, use soapy water straight away to wash it off and avoid potential skin irritations. Do not smoke or light a match until you are sure all gasoline has been removed
- If you get gasoline on your vehicle, use a rag or paper towel to wipe it off. Do not smoke or light a match until you are sure all gasoline has been removed
- Gasoline should only be used for its intended purpose – as a motor fuel. Never use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps
- Do not mix gasoline with kerosene or diesel. Also, do not use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps
Safely Maintain Your Storage
Along with the steps above, you will need to periodically inspect your storage tanks for pressurization. If the tank appears to be ballooning out with gas fumes, carefully remove the cap and allow the fumes to escape. This will keep the pressure in your fuel storage tank at a safer level.