Home Propane Tanks -The Basics
Thinking of putting in a propane tank to fuel that new gas range or fireplace insert? Here’s some basic info to get you started.
The size of tank you choose will be primarily based on the amount of gas being consumed (ie: number of gas appliances, and their BTU consumption), and the tank suppliers typically help you choose a tank big enough to suit your needs. Most people try to minimize the size of the tank for aesthetic reasons, but it’s worth noting that a larger tank can help bridge fluctuations in pricing when it comes to refills.
Choosing a location
The simplest installations are above ground, and if needed just for a single appliance (such as a fireplace), located close to the point of consumption. It is possible to bury a propane tank underground, but this requires a specific type of tank that has a protective outside coating, among other added features. A tank designed for above-ground use can NOT be buried. When installing the tank underground, the main focus of locating the tank becomes access for refills, especially in relation to a septic system, if one is on site. To get an idea of the acceptable locations for installation, this illustrated guide to the ASME standards may prove helpful. By the way, before you’re tempted to paint your backyard tank to blend in with your house, be sure to consider that painting a tank may have unforeseen consequences: Propane Tank Colors
Rent or buy?
According to AmeriGas, the largest propane supplier in the U.S., the majority of propane customers in this country (65% to 70%) lease their tank. For a 500-gallon tank, the rough purchase cost is about $2,000. The 25% to 30% who purchased a tank usually did so either to maintain their independence when choosing a supplier for refills, or because they chose to bury their tank, in which case purchase tends to make more sense.