There are many reasons why homeowners and business owners opt to store gasoline around them. The first reason is during the spring season where power tools such as lawnmowers, weed eaters, and garden shredders get to work to cut grass and reduce weeds around the garden. The second reason is during a power outage caused by a storm where the only way to power up your home is by using a backup generator. While this will prevent you from queuing in gas stations, most homeowners have been left wondering whether it’s safe storing gas cans in the garage.
Of course, you do know that gasoline is a volatile liquid that’s highly flammable if it’s mishandled. Just like its close cousins (such as Butane and Propane), gasoline can release vapors that can easily be ignited by just a small flame or a spark. Since you’ll definitely require gasoline around your garage to avoid interrupting your workflow with regular visits to the filling station, this short guide will present a short detailed procedure on how to handle gasoline right from the filling station to storing it in your garage.
Storing Gas Cans in Garage: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Check Your State Laws
First and foremost, you don’t need permission from anyone to store gasoline in your garage. However, just to stay on the right side, it’s recommended that you first check your local laws, whether state, county, or city ordinances, regarding storing gas containers in your garage. You can also gather tips from the local fire department and the local Federal Department about their rules, laws, tips, and so on.
Step 2: Select the Appropriate Gas Can
Since gasoline is a highly flammable liquid that can cause accidents if not deaths when mishandled, it’s strictly recommended that you select the right container meant for storing gas safely. The container should be red and labeled “gasoline” with all the necessary warnings and safety information labeled.
The gas can adhere to the new 2009 rules regarding gas cans in terms of strength, stability, flame arresting capability, and safety lock features. The lid should be spring-loaded to provide a tight seal to prevent gas vapor from escaping.
Remember, gasoline containers are red while kerosene and diesel cans are blue and yellow respectively. Regarding the capacity, the specific gas can should be no more than 5 gallons (19L). This is according to most state, county, and regional laws.
Step 3: Filling and Moving Your Gas
Now that you’ve selected the right gas can, the next step is to fill the can with gasoline in a filling station and take it home. One mistake most people make here is to fill their gas cans while holding them. This is a very risky practice that can cause a buildup of static electricity that’s enough to ignite the gasoline vapor.
So, to prevent any accidents, it’s highly recommended that you place the plastic can on the ground while filling it. Next, fill the can slowly and carefully as doing it too fast can cause spills and excess vapor buildup that can cause an explosion in case it’s accidentally ignited.
Finally, fill the can at least 95% full. This way, you’ll (1) reduce spills and overflow, and (2) there will be a little space left at the top for gas vapor to expand hence reducing pressure buildup.
Step 4: Transporting the Gas Home
Once the container is full, put back the cap and close it tightly. Make sure there are no spills or splashes before putting the can in your car’s trunk. Make sure the gas can is sitting upright and not exposed to sunlight during the transporting process.
When you get home, remove the can from your car’s trunk and take it straight to the garage for storage. Letting it stay in the car for too long is quite risky as any leaking fumes can easily be exposed to your car’s hot interior.
Step Five: Take the Gas Cans to Your Garage
When I speak of a garage, I simply mean a separate safe place that’s well protected from the elements. In most cases, a detached and enclosed garage is the best location and should be at least 50 ft. away from the main house.
Remember, gas vapors are very dangerous and can easily ignite when exposed to fire sources, heaters, or sparks.
Step Six: Inspect Your Garage
Before you organize your garage, it’s a good practice to first inspect it thoroughly to ensure that it adheres to all laws and guidelines as stated by your local health and safety authorities. The temperatures inside should be cool and no more than 80°F.
The room should be free from any household appliances that can accidentally heat or cause static electricity. The location should not be near windows or any openings that can expose the gas cans to direct sunlight. Remember, if the gas containers are heated, the vapor inside is likely to expand and cause an explosion.
Step Seven: Don’t Store More Than 25 Gallons
Although regulations may vary from one state to another, the majority of the fire codes specify that no more than 25 gallons of gas should be stored in one room. So, if you have more than 25 gallons, then you’ll have to store the rest of the gas cans in separate storage places that adhere to safety laws as specified by your local fire department and other health and safety authorities.
Step Eight: Inspect the Status of Gas Cans
Once you’ve stored your gas cans safely and responsibly, the final step is to inspect the cans to ensure they’re sitting upright on a flat surface. The area should be secure and free from human traffic to prevent knocking the cans accidentally.
The gas cans should also be next to safe cleaning materials. This way, you can quickly identify and clean spills fast enough.
Now that you’ve safely stored your gas cans in a garage, the next question you need to ask yourself is how long the gas will last. According to most state regulations, the maximum shelf life of gasoline is no more than 12 months. You see, as time passes, gasoline loses most of its lighter hydrocarbons through evaporation leaving it weak and less effective.
If you happen to use it in your lawnmower, generator, weed eater, or well pump among other gas-powered appliances, you might end up damaging their engines. So, to avoid this, it’s recommended that you mark your gas containers after refilling to keep track of young and old gas. This way, you can easily rotate the gas by using the old ones first while preserving the young gas for future use.