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Four Steps to a Custom Fit

Originally published by the Propane Council

When it comes to job-site planning for propane, building professionals can follow four simple steps with Haigood & Campbell in Seymour to ensure the right propane storage tank sizing and location and the proper regulator placement.

#1 – Determine Tank Type and Size

There are two main types of propane storage tanks. Tanks with a Department of Transportation certification are generally used above-ground and have a maximum capacity of 125 gallons. Commonly used horizontal tanks certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) are sized up to 1,000 gallons (water capacity) and, under normal conditions, can be filled with propane up to 80 percent of the rated water capacity. ASME tanks are available for underground or above-ground installation.

Overview of Tank Type and Size Guidelines

Project Size Tank Type Capacity Dimensions
Single
appliance
DOT or ASME Horizontal
DOT or ASME Vertical
125 gallons
125 gallons
24” diameter, 5’6” length
30” diameter, 4’5” height
Small home or
warmer
climate
with limited
gas
applications
ASME Horizontal
ASME Horizontal
250 gallons
320 gallons
32” diameter, 7’3” length
30” diameter, 9’6” length
Standard
four-bedroom
home
ASME Horizontal 500 gallons 38” diameter, 9’10” length
Large home w/
multiple
gas
applications
ASME Horizontal 1,000 gallons 41” diameter, 15’11” length

In addition to the guidelines noted above, other factors influencing tank size include total square footage of the home, total Btu load of installed propane appliances, and the climate zone. See the “Typical Propane Consumption” chart on page 3 for more details.

#2 – Place the Above-ground Tank or Cylinder Properly

When selecting an above-ground location for a propane tank, the first priority is to choose an accessible, safety-approved site. Key considerations in that decision-making process include:

Building and safety codes. These regulations vary by state and local municipality. In addition to observing local codes, most states require that propane retailers follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 58: Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code (available at nfpa.org). In most cases, propane tanks must have at least 10 feet of clearance from the home, other structures, and property lines.

Ease of access. When siting the tank, it’s important to choose a location with easy access for filling and maintenance. For example, in colder climates, consider how delivery trucks will reach the tank during heavy snow conditions. Your propane supplier will give you tank location options.

Customer input. In addition to safety and accessibility, aesthetics play an important role in project success. Be sure to review all tank location options with your customer, taking into account their feedback for landscaping and overall site design.

#3 – Choose Underground Tank Site Carefully and Follow the Permitting Process

With a nearly invisible profile, underground propane storage tanks have become an increasingly popular choice for new-construction customers, as well as homeowners seeking to upgrade their existing energy systems. For builders considering large-scale exurban or other “off-the-main” housing projects, an underground community tank system is an efficient, aesthetically pleasing way to deliver propane’s exceptional energy to customers.

As with above-ground tanks, installation permits and regulations for underground tanks will vary by location. In many cases where septic systems or other excavation projects are part of the overall site plan, it’s possible to coordinate excavation for underground propane storage tanks at the same time. When finalizing a location, choose a site that can easily accommodate propane delivery under all weather conditions.

#4 – Place the Propane Regulators Properly

Like storage tanks, propane regulators come with pipe-size and installation distance requirements. For example, regulators cannot be placed closer than three feet horizontally from any building opening (such as a window well) lower than the regulator. Additionally, a regulator installed on the gas piping inlet to the home cannot be placed closer than five feet from any potential ignition source, such as a compressor for central air conditioning. For complete compliance details, contact your nearest propane retailer.

Don’t forget to visit us at haigood-campbell.com.