The main reason why propane users should protect their propane tank is that unprotected propane tanks that are tampered with by humans or nature can lead to propane leaks, which can lead to injury or even death. Remember that propane is a flammable material and hazardous material for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The simplest way to ensure your propane tank is protected adequately is to seek advice from qualified service technician. If you rent a propane tank from a propane company, the company’s staff will make recommendations on how best to protect the tank. Should you want or have your own propane tank, it might be useful to request advice from the propane company you select in this regard.
Protecting your propane tank from vehicular traffic
Propane tanks need to be accessible by road. Otherwise, your propane company’s bobtail (truck that carries propane for deliveries) will not be able to reach your propane tank and fill it with propane. However, propane tanks need to be protected from potential impacts by cars. A car bumping into a propane tank will not damage the tank itself. Still, it is likely to move the service line. Depending on how serious the impact is, the gas service line, which moves propane from the tank into the home, can be damaged or even break. This will result in a propane leak and should be avoided at all cost.
Protecting propane tanks from tampering
In areas with high human activity, such as a home garden or a playground, it is recommended that propane tanks be fenced in to protect them from being tampered with. Damage to the propane tank itself is almost impossible. However, tampering with a propane tank can lead to damage in the service line, which carries propane to the building with propane appliances. Gas lines that are damaged can lead to leaks, which can be very dangerous. Having some sort of fence around a tank placed in a busy area helps ensure that connections are not mishandled or damaged and prevents leaks from happening.
Protecting underground propane tank with cathodic protection
Underground propane tanks are exposed to corrosion if the tank is in a hostile environment (wet ground with natural or man-made chemicals). Extreme cases of corrosion lead to the virtual destruction of a propane tank or propane piping. Either way, the risk is that corrosion might lead to a propane leak. Because propane migrates, even if the leak is underground there is a risk of propane moving into the basement of a building, for example.
Protecting underground propane tanks against corrosion is twofold. First, manufacturers add a line of coating to the steel tank. Second, cathodic protection prevents corrosion entirely. This entails making underground propane tanks a cathode (metal that is not oxidized and receives electrons from an anode, which is oxidized).