Although very few propane-related accidents happen, it remains a highly-flammable gas. Therefore, federal and local authorities have imposed strict regulations on propane tank installations. These rules are mastered by propane professionals (qualified service technicians). Because so many elements of a propane tank installation are subject to regulations or safety precautions, it is important to know what is included in the offers propane companies make as you compare quotes from different retailers.
Propane tank permits
Propane tank permits ($25-$50) enable local authorities to know where flammable material is located in the area and plan accordingly. It is not complicated to obtain a propane tank permit: the relevant fire or housing department document has to be filled and submitted with a description of the tank and surrounding area, including distances between your tank and neighboring structures, to ensure National Fire Protection Association rules are respected. Propane companies usually apply for propane tank permits on your behalf so you should check whether it is included in the quote you request from different companies as you choose your propane retailer.
Tank installation distance rules
National Fire Protection Association distance rules aim to strengthen the safety of your propane installation. To decrease the risk of propane-related accidents and potential consequences on your property, propane tanks have to be installed at a certain number of feet from vents, windows, buildings (including sheds), playgrounds, parking lots and property lines. The general assumption is that aboveground tanks follow a 25-ft rule and underground tanks follow a 10-ft rule but exact installation configuration depends on the way your home is designed. Propane companies are aware of tank distance rules so it is best discuss where the propane tank should be setup with the company you have selected.
For your propane tank installation to function properly with your home system, it needs to be fitted properly. Propane tank fittings include various valves (to relieve excess pressure, to control propane flow, etc.) and regulators (to ensure the home system appliances are getting propane at the right pressure), as well as the gas service line to connect your tank to your home appliance system. When requesting quotes from propane companies on propane tank installations it is recommended that you check what is included and what is not. Some companies include fittings and others do not; knowing what is included can save you a fair bit of money (for example, valves cost between $30 and $100 each).
Propane GAS checks and installation maintenance
Propane companies often include a gas appliances system check to ensure your entire system, from the propane tank to each appliance, functions properly. This is important in terms of safety (appliance malfunction can lead to carbon monoxide inhalation) and lifespan of your propane system (uneven propane gas flow can damage a residential propane system).
As you check whether this included in the quotes different propane companies have sent you, you might also verify what maintenance services different companies offer. It you suspect a gas leak, if one of your appliances is not functioning properly, or if you simply need your system checked (it is recommended to have it inspected once a year) it might be more convenient to have your propane company send a technician than to have to look for one yourself.