Propane is a highly flammable gas and although propane itself is the cause of very few accidents (most propane-related accidents are caused by sparks, lack of ventilation or inadequate fittings) federal, state and local regulations exist to minimize accident risks.
Relying on propane companies to respect propane tank distance requirements
A way of avoiding the hassle of having to design your propane tank setup taking into account propane tank distance requirements is including it in the quotes you request from different propane companies when deciding from which company you want to rent or buy a propane tank. Propane dealers are familiar with building codes and can easily identify the safest and most convenient location for your propane tank.
Basic rules for propane tank distance requirements
Regardless, it is useful to know that the National Fire Protection Association has imposed propane tank distance requirements on propane users. Therefore, you cannot install your propane tank just anywhere on your property. Aside from the need for your tank to be accessible by road to enable propane companies to deliver propane, it also has to be a certain distance from other structures and buildings on your property.
According to NFPA 58 Appendix I, propane tanks are legally required to be certain distances from air conditioning compressors, window air conditioners, fans, direct vent appliances, windows, buildings and adjoining properties. Distances vary according tank size (the larger the tank, the further it has to be) and whether your tank is aboveground or underground (underground tanks pose less of a safety risk so regulatory distances are shorter).
Aboveground residential propane tank distance requirements
Underground residential propane tank distance requirements