Underground Propane Tanks
One of the benefits to using propane vs oil for your heating fuel is you can bury the tank underground instead of having an oil tank in your basement. I like using underground propane tanks for a number of reasons as I’ll point out in this post. If you’re building a new house or considering a change to propane then this is a good quick review of the issues.
Underground propane (LPG) tanks must be installed according to local and state regulations. These regulations are typically similar to above ground tanks. Obviously the regulations protect your safety and the performance of the tank. The installation of underground tanks must also follow the provisions of NFPA 58, Section 3.2.9. Installing a propane tank underground will provide an aesthetically pleasing option compared to an above ground tank.
Typically the propane tank can be placed 10 feet from the house. You’ll want to choose a location that’s convenient for the delivery truck especially if you live in an area with lots of snow. When the tank is buried there is a small dome that protrudes above ground that allows access to the fill valve. Most home owners end up placing some type of landscaping feature around it to make it blend into the landscape.
Underground propane tanks are subject to corrosion from electrolysis. Electrical currents which occur naturally in the earth can corrode holes in unprotected tanks. The easiest way to protect the underground propane tank is to use cathodic protection. This is done by attaching a bag of magnesium (anode bag) to the tank with a wire. The anode bag releases electrons which protect the tank from electrolysis and corrosion. Check out the following link if you’d like a more detailed explanation of cathodic protection.
The other nice thing about a buried propane tank is you can install a nice big tank. I use a 500 gallon tank at my house and I could heat the house for the entire winter off two tank fills. Plus I have the added benefit of not worrying about having an oil tank rupture in my house and then dealing with an environmental disaster inside my home!