Propane Tips for Underground Propane Tanks

Some useful information for Austin, TX propane consumers considering a underground propane tank.

Propane tanks are available in many different sizes with many available options and it’s no surprise that an ever increasing number of homeowners and builders are installing underground propane tanks as they continue to select propane as their energy source of choice.

If your home is already equipped with an underground propane tank or you’re considering the installation of a underground propane tank, here’s some good news. You’re certainly in good company.

In 2006, the Propane Research & Education Council empowered the NAHB Research Center to conduct a survey with a group of over 200 builders located in various geographic areas across the country.

Here’s what the study revealed:

  • First of all, awareness of underground propane tanks is strong; eight out of ten professional builders indicated that they are aware of the use of underground propane tanks.
  • For homes built off the natural gas main, 34% of the homes use an underground propane tank.
  • In the previous 12 month period prior to the survey (March 2006), twenty one percent of the new homes were outfitted with underground propane tanks storage systems even if they were located near the natural gas main.

Important Tips to Consider if You’re Considering an Underground Propane Tank

First of all, if you’ve got a large family, go ahead; think big. One of the advantages of an underground propane tank is that you can install a larger sized tank and it’s buried and out of sight. The larger tank may be the best suitable choice for your family’s needs. Your propane provider can help you determine the best sized tank for your home.

Now about location. You’ll want to consult with your propane provider (who will be installing the tank and providing subsequent delivery services). A good propane provider will be interested in ensuring that your tank is installed according to state and local regulations. Since the tank is underground, in order to protect the tank from electrolysis and corrosion, a bag of magnesium (referred to as an anode bag) will be attached to the tank with a wire.

With your tank buried and out of sight, a dome will be visible at the ground surface. This is where valves, connections, and tank fittings are located and where your delivery driver will connect to fill your tank. All fittings and connections are centrally positioned and safely protected by the dome walls and cover. Since all of the fittings are hidden and protected by the dome, an underground propane tank provides an excellent aesthetic solution for your landscaping.

Ongoing maintenance, no problem. Just make sure you select a propane provider who provides comprehensive services that include the regular inspection of all valves and important components.

With the right propane provider as your partner, your underground propane tank will serve you with green, efficient, and dollar smart energy for many years to come.

Question: We currently have an above ground tank on a property we just purchased, we would like to have an underground tank as we understand that this will be out of sight. Can we use the current tank and just put it underground?

Terry Garnett: That’s a great question and we get asked that a lot. No, you cannot. We talked about this earlier. Under the lid are many of the service valves utilized for the propane tank, however, one very important valve -the relief valve- is not located under the lid. It is actually located on the body of the tank on an above ground tank.

So if you bury an above ground tank, you bury the relief valve.

On an underground tank, extensions are put on all valves to bring them above ground level. So, you cannot use an above ground taken for an underground tank. They are two different tanks.

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Question: I live in an area of central Texas where we have a lot of flooding, and we had a lot of flooding this last year. Our entire yard was under water. Is there any potential damage to my propane lines?

Terry Garnett: Water may pose more of a detrimental effect to underground tanks and regulators that are not installed correctly- too low. Your delivery driver should be assessing your system on his scheduled visits, but I recommend notifying your provider for a Hazmat Safety Check and Inspection if you experience anything like that.

Question: I keep reading about Hazmat safety inspection. What is that?

Terry Garnett: We are a Licensed Hazardous Materials provider. We term many of our services under that title in abbreviated format-Hazmat. A Hazmat Safety check is a pressure test of your gas line, a visual inspection of your system, and performance assessment and documentation of the propane appliances in your home.