Propane Is Always Custom-Fit
When it comes to job-site planning, there are four major steps that your propane retailer or subcontractor will walk you through to ensure you get the right tank and pipe configuration for your customer's needs.
STEP 1: Determine Tank Size
There are two main types of propane tanks. DOT cylinders, familiar to homeowners with propane grills, are generally used above ground and typically don't contain more than 25 gallons of propane. Typical horizontal ASME tanks have a water capacity of 125 to 1,000 gallons, and they can be filled with propane to the 80 percent level. Propane tanks can be installed above ground, and there are also models that are safe to bury underground, out of sight.
In the early stages of your project planning, one of the important questions you'll need to answer is: What size tank does my project demand? Your propane retailer is trained to assess and meet your project requirements, but you'll be better informed by keeping these rough guidelines in mind.
Other factors influencing tank size are the total square footage of the home; total BTU load of installed propane appliances; and geographical location, since colder climates require more fuel. Also keep in mind that a larger tank can help your homeowner "ride out" price spikes by purchasing propane in larger quantities during periods of low prices.
STEP 2: Determine Tank or Cylinder Placement
The next question you'll be asking is: Where should the tank get placed? When selecting a location for the placement of a DOT cylinder or ASME storage container, you should evaluate only accessible, safety-approved sites. Considerations should include:
- Building and safety codes: These vary from location to location. Precedence must be given to state and local regulations and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code. Your propane professional will refer to these standards when planning placement of your containers. Extra copies are available from the NFPA, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269. Generally, tanks fall under a 10-foot rule with regard to clearance from the home and other structures. There are additional distance requirements for the point of transfer and other considerations that your propane retailer will determine for you.
- Ease of access: Delivery trucks will need adequate access to refill tanks or exchange cylinders.
- Customer's desires: Aesthetics play an important part in project success. Be sure to review proposed tank placement with your customer and discuss landscaping, if necessary.
STEP 3: Permitting and Installation
Your propane retailer will take care of permits and installation. In the case of new construction and underground tank placement, it's not uncommon for a propane company to have the septic company or another subcontractor dig the hole.
STEP 4: Purging Propane Containers
Water and gas are contaminants to propane containers. On new installations, your propane professional will purge new propane containers to ensure that there are no contaminants present that might decrease appliance performance and require service calls.