If, like millions of Americans, you are interested in using propane for part or most of your home’s energy supply, you will need to have a propane tank installed on your property unless the previous owner has left theirs. One of the reasons so many people use propane to fuel appliances in their homes is that it is stored close by and delivered in bulk.
This section lists the various installation issues regarding propane tanks, appliances and fittings, enabling propane users to better comprehend what they should look out for, what questions to ask, and what to take into account when selecting a propane company and finding the right propane deal.
Initially, you will have to decide how large you want your propane tank to be and whether you prefer to buy a propane tank or lease it from a propane company.
- In terms of size, your propane tank should match your propane usage or be slightly larger to enable you to plan propane deliveries earlier than necessary and take advantage of better pricing in the summer months. Propane companies will suggest a size depending on what you use LP gas for and include a propane tank in their quotes.
- Most American families prefer to rent their tank from their propane company. For a yearly fee that varies between $25 and $250 per year, a tank is installed and maintained by the company’s qualified service technicians. However, this ties you to a single company for your propane deliveries. Buying a propane tank is a considerable initial investment ($450-3,500 depending on size and whether it is aboveground or underground) but lets you order propane from the company that offers the best price per gallon.
Where to install your tank
Once you have figured out what size tank you need and decided on whether to lease or buy it, you must establish where you want to have it installed on your property. Propane tanks follow strict distance regulations established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 58) that require them to be 25ft from nearby structures for aboveground tanks and 10ft for underground tanks. These distances vary according to tank size, however, so you should ask your propane company or fire department for advice.
After deciding where your tank should be you need to obtain a permit for it. Propane tank permits enable local authorities to map places where flammable material is located (propane is considered a hazardous material because it is highly flammable). Again, propane companies tend to offer to take care of this on behalf of their clients since they are used to filling in the relevant forms and providing the required drawings (of where the tank is positioned).
What is included in a tank installation?
When having a propane tank installed it is recommended that you check exactly what is included and what is not. Most propane companies and tank manufacturers include the basic valves and gauges but you might be requested to purchase other fittings such as extra yard line (connecting the propane tank to the appliances). Check with the various companies from which you have asked quotes.
Installation and maintenance
Beyond tank installation, you might ask propane companies what services they offer in terms of maintenance and inspection programs. For example, it is highly recommended to have your tank and propane system inspected once a year to ensure that there are no safety risks and that it is operating properly.