Propane installation distance rules

National and local authorities have established that propane tanks should be setup at a certain distance from neighboring structures such as property lines, other propane tanks, parking lots, other buildings, playgrounds, or driveways. This is logical in the sense that propane is a flammable material and distance rules contribute to the safety of your propane installation.

Propane professionals know what distance rules apply on your property and for your propane tank (they depend on whether the tank is above- or underground and how large the propane tank is). Therefore, it is simpler and safer to rely on your propane company to make recommendations as to where your tank should be setup.

General tank distance rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (US Department of Labor) and the National Fire Protection Association decide on general standards for propane tank distance rules. However, local authorities may impose stricter distance rules so you should check with the closest building or fire department, or propane companies, to find out the exact rules that apply to your area.

Larger propane tanks have to be placed further from nearby structures. Aboveground tanks are also subject to stricter distance rules since they present a higher safety risk. Underground tanks may be placed slightly closer to neighboring structures such as pools, vents, sheds, etc. The general rule, as seen in the table below, is that propane tanks should be at least 10 feet from the nearest buildings.

Tank capacity (gallons)

Minimum distance (feet)

From tank to building

Between tanks

Underground

Aboveground

Under 125

10

0

0

125-250

10

10

0

251-500

10

10

3

501-2,000

25

25

3

 

Minimum distance requirements between tanks and between tanks and nearby buildings

Source: Table H23, Standard 1910.110, OSHA

Distance rules for aboveground tanks

Distance rules for underground tanks

Point of transfer distance rules

According to the NFPA, the point of transfer is “the location where connections and disconnections are made or where LP-Gas is vented to the atmosphere in the course of transfer operations”. Given that filling propane tanks release propane into the atmosphere, the following distance rules apply.

Between the point of transfer and:

Distance

Buildings with fire-resistive walls

10 ft

Buildings with other than fire-resistive walls

25 ft

Property line that can be built upon

25 ft

Places of public assembly

50 ft

Driveways

5 ft

 

Source: NFPA 58

Safety relief valve distance

Because safety relief valves release excess pressure from the tank in the form of propane gas, they must be placed away from potential sources of ignition and must not be obstructed. Remember: propane is a highly flammable gas. Again, propane companies are familiar with safety precautions related to relief valves so enquire with experts as you get quotes but do not forget to check companies’ safety record with local authorities (fire department) and with the companies themselves (emergency response record).