Storage and Distribution Storage and Distribution
Storage and Distribution Storage and Distribution
If you’re building a home, you’ll choose a propane supplier with your contractor and schedule a time for your tank to be placed. Your service technician will typically provide a Propane 101 lesson: how your tank works (and how to shut it off), what propane smells like in case of a leak, and other safety reminders. Your contractor and propane supplier can help you navigate any decisions you need to make about your propane tank. They’ll provide guidance on appropriately sizing the tank — the average size is 500 gallons, but it may need to be larger or smaller depending on the propane systems installed in and around your home.
Sizing the tank
Determining your tank size depends on how much propane you’ll use. The table below lists some average amounts of propane use for different applications in the home. If you’re using propane for another, non-residential application, ask your propane provider about how much fuel you’re likely to use.
|Climate Region||High-Efficiency Space Heating||High-Efficiency Water Heating||Cooking||Clothes Dryer||High-Efficiency Direct-Vent Fireplace||TOTAL|
Source: Newport Partners 2011 Energy and Environmental Analysis of Propane Energy Pod Homes. Findings are based on climate averages across 16 locations developed through building energy simulations. Assumptions include a 2,400-square-foot home built to the 2009 IECC, and the use of high-efficiency propane heating and water heating equipment, moderate efficiency propane direct-vent fireplace, and standard efficiency propane cooktop, oven, and clothes dryer. Warm and moderate climates were assumed to use hybrid air source heat pumps with propane furnace backups for space heating.
Many homeowners choose to rent a tank from a propane supplier. That way, you’re not responsible for maintaining the tank, and if it ever needs to be repaired or replaced, your supplier will take care of it. Owning the tank also means paying for a professional to maintain it, plus buying and installing it. Talk to your supplier about which option may be right for you. If you don’t already have a propane supplier, find one now.
Underground versus aboveground tanks
If you’re a homeowner, you may have the option of burying your propane tank to maintain the aesthetics of your landscaping. In this situation, the propane provider refills the tank via a small dome visible in your yard. Talk to your propane supplier about burying the tank early, if that’s your preference. Building and safety codes and ease of access may dictate the final decision.
You’ll have the option of getting propane refills automatically or being a will-call customer. The propane delivery system is designed to be as flexible and convenient as possible, giving you peace of mind throughout the year. Keep in mind that cold months are busy for propane suppliers, especially in the midwest or upper northeast regions. If you wait until the last minute to request a refill, it’s possible prices will be higher and wait times will be longer than usual. Automatic refill customers don’t face the same challenges.
A typical delivery
Most propane providers make deliveries between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to minimize disruptions, though deliveries may start earlier when fuel demand starts to rise. After the delivery, you’ll usually receive a receipt on your tank or doorknob confirming the transaction. To make deliveries quick and easy, make sure the delivery vehicle has a clear path to the tank by trimming away any shrubs or other obstacles. Be sure to provide any keys or gate codes to the propane supplier, and arrange for pets to be inside, if needed. In snowy weather, shovel any driveways or paths that the propane provider will need to access.
Propane autogas users get to choose from five types of refueling options, including on-site refueling. If you’re considering installing an on-site refueling station, review your available space and assess whether it’s large enough for a dispenser and 1,000-gallon tank. You’ll have the option to lease or own your refueling infrastructure. Download the Refueling Guide for a full explanation of propane autogas refueling.
Forklifts and commercial mowers
Propane cylinders for material handling and commercial landscaping are generally stored in secure, on-site cages. Your propane supplier stops by according to a predetermined schedule to refill or replace the cylinders so your work time is never interrupted. Talk to your supplier about the possibility of installing your own on-site refueling station. Some businesses choose to have their staff complete training for refilling their own propane cylinders to save more time. Ask your fuel supplier for more information and for prices. If you don’t already have a fuel supplier, find one now.
Many commercial buildings use remote tank monitoring technology to ensure that the propane supply is reliable and uninterrupted. These smart monitoring devices allow propane companies to track their customers’ propane storage levels and usage patterns so they can schedule propane deliveries when needed — an especially important feature for customers with unpredictable demand, such as restaurants and swimming pools. Some of today’s advanced monitoring systems also integrate with other smart devices, like building management systems, to allow owners or facility managers to also track their propane usage.
What size propane tank is needed for my home?
Your contractor and propane supplier can help you navigate any decisions you need to make about your propane tank. They’ll provide guidance on appropriately sizing the tank — the average size is 500 gallons, but it may need to be larger or smaller depending on the propane systems installed in your home.
Can I put the tank anywhere in my yard to make it less visible?
Propane offers above- or below-ground tank options to maintain the aesthetics of your home. If your tank is buried underground, the propane supplier refills the tank via a small dome visible in your yard. There are regulations as to where the propane tank can be placed; work with your contractor and propane supplier to ensure your tank is properly placed.
Does my propane tank get refilled automatically?
You'll have the option of getting propane refills automatically or being a will-call customer. The propane delivery system is designed to be as flexible and convenient as possible, giving you peace of mind throughout the year.
How does the autogas refill process work for my refueling station?
For on-site refueling infrastructure, propane is delivered directly to your location by your local propane provider. Your provider can simply drive a propane bobtail truck up to your refueling station or depot and refill the tank.