View Full Version : Getting propane installed at home, can I fill the tanks myself?


IONH
09-10-2010, 06:43 PM
Okay, the title may seem like something odd, but here's the idea.

I've had a couple of propane companies out to my house to see about installing a tank for my house for a stove (to begin with). I'd also like to run gas to my detached garage for heat (used sparingly) in the winter.

Both companies suggested I would be best to have one tank for each building, that it would be cheaper. Neither charged for their tanks. Both charged a fee of ~$85 if I did not use at least one full bottle (or total combination of pounds) of propane per year. They assured me a stove top (inside will be electric) will not use the 50 pound tank pretty much no matter how much I use it.

Anyway, I can buy a 100 pound propane tank for ~$165 locally. They will fill it at that location for about $70.

It would seem like a no brainer that I should just buy my own tank and get it filled and bring it home, then pay a professional to run the lines and do all the permit stuff (two permits, one for propane on my property, another for where it runs in my house).

My main question is this... is it legal for me to transport a full 100 pound tank of propane in my own vehicle?

Secondarily, can those tanks be laid on their side when full? This is not a requirement of mine, but would definitely limit my choice of vehicle when I need to fill it.

Thanks everyone in advance!

OccupantRJ
09-10-2010, 07:03 PM
Get a 123 gallon tank installed like I did. I got tired of guessing how much gas I had and of hauling it. They will run out at just the right time to screw you up. I do still, however, run propane on my torch setup in the shop, but it literally lasts for years between fillings. It is a safety requirement to haul a tank in the upright position in my state. Has to have a protective cap or collar on the valve to transport, also. Probably your state has similar requirements.

Mattlt
09-10-2010, 07:34 PM
Or get two 100# cylinders with an RV-type valve that lets you switch between them. You can still be drawing off one while you're filling the other. Ask your propane supplier.

Another option: How about a larger tank? Around my parts (MN) they offer a "summer fill" and a "keep fill" option. Summer fill is done in August or September before the grain drying season kicks in. They usually give you a .10 - .20 break per gallon on the price. Keep fill is a route discount. They come around once per month and top off your tank. This is a smaller price break, maybe about .05 per gallon.

Yet another option is contracting for how much you need. This is typically done in early summer, and I'll admit, it's a crapshoot. By contracting, you're betting on the cash price of propane going up, but you're locked in at the price you contracted at. This is a hard thing to do if you don't have a good idea how much propane you're going to use over the winter.

I got burned the first year in my house (1995). The cash price in the fall was something like .65. Come about February it was up to $1.30. Needless to say I contracted the next winter.

Now I've got an outside wood burner - haven't used more than a few gallons of propane a year.

Oh, and one more thing. If you get a tank from Supplier A you may have problems getting Supplier B to fill your tank. Rightly so, since Supplier B doesn't own the tank.

BillK
09-10-2010, 07:41 PM
ion,
Looking at where you live, I can almost guarantee you that you will use up a 100lb bottle heating the garage, even if you just use it weekends. Our last shop had propane heat. During the winter we probably averaged about 300 lbs a month.

2drx4
09-12-2010, 03:17 PM
While local regulations may vary...

You're allowed up to 150Kg (300lbs, approx) in a maximum of 5 containers, without having to display placards, carry TDG documentation, etc. Basically, for consumer use only. Tanks 'must' be secured in an approved usage position (upright normally, some tanks are meant to be used sideways, some can be either). How they are to be secured is not specified, use common sense (ratchet straps or chains are common).

Personally, I lay them down, even though it's not technically legal, unless it's my forklift tank (which is meant for upright or side service). The reason they want them upright is so that if the safety valve pops, it will vent vapour rather than liquid. In all reality, it doesn't make much difference.

Tanks can be in an enclosed space. However, I think you'd be insane to have over 100lbs of propane in a vehicle with you. So please, put them in the bed of a pickup...

rodnok1
09-12-2010, 06:46 PM
An easier solution was brought up by having two tanks and a Rv type selector, I have seen selectors leak when a tank isn't there. You may want to consider 2 30# tanks for the stove and a selector. They are easy to transport and should have enough flow to prevent icing up. They fit nicely in a trunk and once you tell the idiots who fill them how to do a 30# tank it's easy. For a large draw furnace they wouldn't work however.
Personally I would buy the 100# tank and install the lines and refill myself. Some companies will refill customer owned tanks on site BTW.

nehog
09-12-2010, 07:23 PM
...
My main question is this... is it legal for me to transport a full 100 pound tank of propane in my own vehicle?

Secondarily, can those tanks be laid on their side when full? This is not a requirement of mine, but would definitely limit my choice of vehicle when I need to fill it.

Thanks everyone in advance!

1. yes it is fully legal.

2. No you cannot lay the tank on its side. That is not legal.

Basically you will need either a trailer or a pickup truck, and as well you will need to have a way to secure the tank so it will not fall or move. With a 100 lb tank, that's harder than you might think (been there, done that!) :headscrat

avc8130
09-12-2010, 08:18 PM
What about grill tanks? I have a huge 5-burner grill that I use at least as much as my gas stove. I go through 2-3 tanks/year. Can those be used with a stove?
ac

IONH
09-12-2010, 09:39 PM
Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

The stove I will be getting is dual fuel so only the cook top is gas. I don't use my stove top much at all right now, but the use will probably go up once I get propane as I enjoy cooking on gas far more than electric. Both companies who gave me estimates so far said I would be lucky to use 30 gallons per year if I cooked A LOT. So a 100 pound tank holds 23 gallons, which is almost what I'd use for the entire year... if not enough for a year.

I have a pickup truck and will build a rig to prop up/secure a 100 pound tank in the upright position.

I thought you had to be licensed to run gas piping which was more than 3 feet long. Also, there are two permits I need in order to do this.

As far as my garage goes, I did not mention this but I am not a mechanic and do not heat my garage often. Usually it is during a critical automotive failure that I find myself out there for a week or so changing an engine/transmission/whatever. Right now I have a 40k btu torpedo heater hooked up to a 20 pound (I believe, the typical size) grill tank and I don't usually go through more than 2-3 tanks per winter. This being said, a 100 pound single tank for the garage will probably be fine.

D KRAGER
09-13-2010, 05:36 PM
What about grill tanks? I have a huge 5-burner grill that I use at least as much as my gas stove. I go through 2-3 tanks/year. Can those be used with a stove?
ac

Yep, my buddy has one of those big ass grills, in the colder months the 20# bottle wouldn't vaporize fast enough, so we rigged up a 100# bottle. Now he just fills it once a year.

To the OP: If cooking and the occasional use in the shop I'd get a couple 100# bottles, one for the cook top and one for the garage and be done with it. Get a hand truck also, it's much easier to move bottles with the dolley.

6768rogues
09-14-2010, 08:47 PM
Propane here is cheaper delivered for heat than picked up for who-knows-what. And there is sales tax on picked up propane but no sales tax on delivered heating fuel. That is a local thing, my farm in another county is in an area that has sales tax on heating fuel.