Introduction to Residential Propane Tanks

Every day, builders make countless decisions: what land to invest in, what style of home to put up, the magic price point that will attract buyers and still allow room for profit.

But for builders and contractors who opt for a home that uses propane as its energy source, there's one set of decisions that can be left to more experienced professionals. Those concern the propane tank.

The preparation, installation, and maintenance of a propane tank is performed by the propane retailer. The retailer may consult with the builder on options for tank location, but the builder can help make these choices and then stand back and let the propane retailer do all the work.

That's because there's great flexibility when it comes to placing a propane tank—unlike an oil tank, which is what a builder might be more familiar with. "An oil tank can't be buried so it's usually placed in the basement," says Larry Doughty, director of sales (Northeast region) for American Welding & Tank. "But a propane tank can be several hundred feet from the house. With the vapor pressure that the tank creates, it can even be placed up a hill quite a ways." Another reason a propane tank can be safely buried is that propane is not considered a potential contaminant to groundwater.

Builders and contractors who prefer to keep the tank above ground should consider concealing it with landscaping or a fence so that it is out of view but still accessible.

Here's a list of other questions that those new to building with propane may ask their propane representative. Addressing these topics will help you plan your project as well as anticipate related questions from prospective buyers.

  • Given the propane use expected in this home, what size tank do you recommend?
  • What size hole is necessary for an underground tank of this size? When will you excavate?
  • What other steps are there in installation, and how will they fit into my project cycle?
  • What kind of training does a service technician receive in order to be qualified for propane system installations?
  • What standards and requirements exist for the construction of the tank? What is the service life of the tank?
  • Will you perform any required maintenance of the propane system?

For more information on the installation of propane tanks, download a copy of the Propane Planner or contact a propane retailer in your area. And to learn how to incorporate propane products into your next project, be sure to check out our free online CEU courses, available at the Propane Training Academy. The categories mentioned in this article are discussed in the following training courses:

Community Propane Systems: Economic, Environmentally Responsible Energy Solutions

Go Green with Propane: An Overview of Propane Gas Systems for Green Residential Construction

Propane Gas Underground Systems: Residential Infrastructure Requirements and Energy Benefits 

Gas Fireplaces, Cooktops Drive Desire for Propane
Off-Grid Products That Deliver High Performance
Introduction to Residential Propane Tanks


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