Whether for barbecues, heating or cooking, many users of small cylinders with filling weights of 5 or 11 kilograms frequently have the same problem. “Where should I store the reserve cylinder?” is often the crucial question. It is least in the way when kept in the cellar. However: Are you even allowed to store it there?
Propane, butane and mixtures of the two are inherently heavier than air. This means that in rooms, corridors, stairways etc., LPG settles at the floor. Of course, this is extremely problematic, especially for cellars. A brief but dramatic scenario: The small cylinder or a system part has a leak, unburned gas is escaping and forming an explosive mixture in the cellar.
You should therefore never store the gas cylinders in the cellar or below ground level. This can also be reinforced by regulations. For private individuals as well as fitters, the Technical Rules for LPG (TRF) are important.
Two at home, but…
Logically, it states that the user may store gas cylinders up to a filling weight of 16 kilograms in the building. But only “if the floors on all sides are above the top ground surface […]” – according to the original wording.
For private individuals, this means: Theoretically, you can have two filled gas cylinders in your home. One to operate the gas stove, for instance; another stored as a reserve. But these should not be kept in cellars or bedrooms, for example!
In the industrial sector, storing gas cylinders under ground level is also forbidden, for a start. The Occupational Safety Information ASI 8.04 regulates the use of LPG at markets, folk festivals and in stationary operations.
While there are certain situations in which you may use the gas equipment under ground level, this is never the case for the gas cylinders. These conditions can be found directly in ASI 8.04 under point 10.
We have also put together further important information relating to the safe use of LPG systems in the industrial sector in an easy-to-read e-book.
There are also accident prevention regulations – summarised in regulation 79 of the DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance). These are also very clear on the matter: “The business owner must ensure that systems […] are not set up in rooms below ground level.”
Exception to the rule
There are no rules without exceptions – for example, for stationary consumer units and when temporary work below ground level is necessary. But the exceptions are linked with defined conditions. As these would go beyond the scope of this discussion, we recommend reading about these in DGUV V 79 under paragraph 6 (6) and paragraph 31.
Finally, it should be noted: Even if it’s almost definitely the easiest option to store the gas cylinder in the cellar, you just shouldn’t do it. This also applies to empty gas cylinders. And we’re not just being difficult here, it’s important for protecting your health.