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McPhail Fuel Co.

McPhail Fuel Company is a local and family owned business meeting the residential and commercial propane fuel needs of customers throughout the North Bay area.  We pride ourselves in fair & ethical pricing.

The Industry Leader in Propane Fuel and Innovative Safety Standards for Over 125 Years.

Neil McPhail, a Canadian emigrant to the United States originally from Scotland, founded the company in 1884 by establishing a livery stable in San Rafael. Teams of McPhail’s horses transported railroad and PG&E work crews as well as the fashionable visitors from San Francisco vacationing at the Hotel Rafael.

Propane Services We Provide

McPhail Fuel Company offers a full range of propane related products and services for our residential and commercial customers.
McPhail Fuel Company supplies residential propane.

Residential Propane

We are a comprehensive propane service provider for your home, and offer a variety of services including complete installation, tank rentals, full routed deliveries...
McPhail Fuel Company supplies commercial propane.

Commercial Propane

McPhail Fuel Company is your dependable provider of a wide array of commercial propane applications, such as forklift cylinders, bulk delivery, dispenser delivery...
McPhail Fuel Company supplies agricultural propane.

Agricultural Propane

Full service for your farm, dairy, vineyard & more. Delivering clean-burning propane to power everything you need to keep your business in business...

Proudly Serving the greater north bay area’s propane fuel requirements since 1924

Supplying Propane Fuel and Related Maintenance Services To Residential Customers

Supplying Propane Fuel and Related Maintenance Services To Commercial Customers

Supplying Propane Fuel and Related Maintenance Services To Agricultural Customers

Why Choose McPhail Fuel Company?

We are a local business. We are a family business. We care about our customers.

McPhail Fuel Company is proud of its rich heritage and lengthy service to Northern California communities. The company believes that continued success depends on a customer-focused approach and commitment to safety. Future directions of McPhail Fuel Company include a disciplined, prudent expansion into growth markets without compromising its delivery of exceptional service to its existing customer base.

Keeping it Local

Community Focus

We love supporting the communities in which we do business. We have helped support local fire deptartments, schools and preschools, and animal rescue. We are a dog-friendly office and some of us bring our pups to work!


Our Satisfied Customers Share Their Experiences

Setting New Standards

Propane With Integrity

Contact McPhail Fuel Co.

McPhail Fuel Company is here to to provide outstanding customer service. Call us at: (707) 285-3525 or (415) 285-3525

Or, feel free to send us your question(s) using the form below:

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Helpful FAQs

Here you will find our most frequently asked questions. Please view our FAQ page to find answers to many common questions received from our valued customers.
Propane (also called LPG—liquefied petroleum gas—or LP gas) is a widely used fuel. It is transported and stored as a very cold liquid, and can cause a “freeze burn” or frostbite if it contacts the skin. The liquid propane is turned into a gas inside a tank or a cylinder. In its natural form, propane is colorless and odorless. To make propane easier to detect in the event of a leak or spill, manufacturers deliberately add a chemical compound to give it a distinctive smell.

Propane is flammable when mixed with air (oxygen) and can be ignited by many sources, including open flames, smoking materials, electrical sparks, and static electricity.

Propane vapors are heavier than air. For this reason, they may accumulate in low-lying areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and ditches, or along floors. However, air currents can sometimes carry propane vapors elsewhere within a building.

It is important to become familiar with the parts of your propane system so that you can take quick and appropriate action in case of a leak or other emergency. The illustration at left shows a typical home propane system.

Propane is delivered to your home as a very cold liquid and is pumped into a specially designed storage tank (A). The liquid changes to gas before it leaves the tank. Propane tanks are typically painted white or silver to reflect heat and prevent the pressure inside the tank from getting too high.

If you have an underground tank, only the cover (B) will be visible above ground.

The cover on top of the tank protects several components from weather and physical damage, including:

  • The tank shut-off valve (C), which you can close to stop the flow of propane to your home in case of a leak or other emergency.
  • The regulator (D), which controls the pressure of the propane gas coming out of the tank.
  • The safety relief valve (E), which will pop open automatically if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. The valve will close again when the pressure returns to normal.
  • The tank gauge (F), which shows the percentage of propane in the tank.

Propane flows from your tank to your home through pipes (G), most of which run underground.

You may also have a secondary pressure regulator (H) on an outside wall of your home to further adjust gas pressure.

A shut-off valve (I) in each pipe can be closed to stop gas flow to an individual appliance.

An appliance connector (J) is the final segment in the gas piping system. This specially designed flexible tube—typically 2 or 3 feet long—carries gas from a pipe to the back of an appliance (K).


  • Vapors from flammable products—such as gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, and solvents —can be ignited accidentally by the pilot light of a propane appliance.
  • Flammable vapors are often heavier than air and may travel along the ground and collect in low or confined areas (such as a basement or pit). Sometimes the vapors may follow air currents in the building to higher levels. Any source of ignition in these areas (such as a pilot light, spark, heater element, or electric motor) could cause an explosion or a fire.


  • Store flammable liquids in well-sealed containers outside.
  • Do not use gasoline, cleaning fluids, oil-soaked rags, or other flammable liquids inside a building where propane appliances are located.

PROPANE VAPORS CAN BE DANGEROUS. Propane vapor is also combustible and can ignite explosively. Keep propane storage containers closed. Never store propane cylinders in an enclosed area, or near a heat or ignition source.

  1. NO FLAMES OR SPARKS! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or a fire.
  2. LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
  3. SHUT OFF THE GAS. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
  4. REPORT THE LEAK. From a neighbor’s home or other nearby building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
  5. DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING OR AREA until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
  6. GET YOUR SYSTEM CHECKED. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

Propane has a strong, unpleasant smell like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Propane manufacturers add the smell deliberately to help alert customers to propane leaks, which can create a safety hazard.

TAKE THE SNIFF TEST. Teach everyone in your home or building what propane smells like. You can use the blue circle on the page opposite of the inside front cover. Or, ask your propane retailer for a demonstration.


  • It may be hard for some people to smell propane for the following reasons:
  • They have a cold, allergies, sinus congestion, or another medical condition.
  • Their sense of smell is reduced due to the use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
  • Tobacco smoke, cooking odors, and other strong odors can mask the smell of propane.
  • As people age, their sense of smell can become less sensitive.
  • If the smell of propane is present in the air over a period of time, “odor fatigue” can occur. The nose “gets tired,” and a person no longer smells the propane odor.
  • The propane smell may not be strong enough to wake up someone who is sleeping.
  • The propane smell may be in a location (basement or attic) where it is not detected by people in other areas of the building.
  • A phenomenon called “odor loss” can occur—an unintended reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane.


Odor Loss. On rare occasions, propane can lose its odor. Several things can cause this including:

  • Air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder can reduce propane odor concentration.
  • If the propane is leaking underground, its passage through soil may reduce the smell of propane.
  • The propane odor may stick to the inside surfaces of gas piping and distribution systems and possibly other materials.

Since there is a possibility of odor loss or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED that you or others in your home may have difficulty smelling propane, consider buying one or more propane gas detectors.

DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS. serious safety hazards, including fire or explosion, can result.

  • If an appliance valve or a gas line is left open when the propane supply runs out, a leak could occur when the system is recharged with propane.
  • Air and moisture could get into an empty or depleted storage tank, which can cause rust build-up inside the tank. Rust can decrease the concentration of the odor of propane, making it harder to smell.
  • If your propane tank runs out of gas, any pilot lights on your appliances will go out. This can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly.
  • A LEAK CHECK IS REQUIRED. In many states, a propane retailer or a qualified service technician must perform a leak check of your propane system before turning on the gas.
  • SET UP REGULAR DELIVERY. Establish a regular delivery schedule with your propane retailer. Also, periodically check the fuel gauge on your propane tank. If the fuel level drops below 20%, call your propane retailer.


WHAT IS A PILOT LIGHT? Many propane appliances may have a pilot light—a small, constantly burning flame inside the appliance. (Appliances without a pilot light often have electronic ignition instead.) If your appliance has a pilot light, it is an important safety feature. The pilot light ignites the main burner when needed.

WHEN A PILOT LIGHT GOES OUT. A pilot light that repeatedly goes out—or is very difficult to light—may be signaling that there is a problem with the appliance or with your propane system. If this occurs, do not try to fix the problem yourself. Contact a qualified service technician to evaluate the appliance. Accidents and serious injuries can occur when customers attempt to fix a pilot light problem on their own.

IF YOU LIGHT A PILOT LIGHT YOURSELF, you are taking the risk of STARTING a fire or AN explosion. Many serious injuries occur when people attempt to light pilot lights. Proceed with great caution and follow these rules:


Carefully follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings concerning the appliance.

If the appliance is in a basement or closed room, thoroughly ventilate the area before lighting the pilot.

  • DO NOT smoke or have any source of ignition (such as flames or spark-producing materials) in the area before lighting the pilot.
  • Be especially alert for the smell of propane. Sniff at floor level before lighting a pilot.
  • DO NOT allow any extra or unnecessary people (especially children) to remain in the room or area of the building where you are lighting a pilot.
  • DO NOT try to light pilot lights in any area where other odors may make it difficult for you to detect the smell of a propane leak.
  • DO NOT light the pilot if a musty or damp smell persists. These conditions can mask the smell of propane.
  • DO NOT apply force or use tools on the pilot light or its control. This could cause damage that leads to gas leakage. Use only your hands to operate knobs, switches, or buttons.
  • DO NOT attempt to let air out of gas lines by opening a valve or fitting inside a building or enclosed space. You may release gas and not be able to smell it.
  • DO NOT apply oil to a sticky knob or button on a gas control valve. Oil can cause the control valve mechanism to stick and malfunction.

What's Going On In Our Community?

At McPhail Fuel Company, we take pride in supporting the community we have been part of since 1883.