Propane is an excellent fuel source for many reasons, including grilling, source of heat, and enjoying a nice swim in your pool. However, you will need to invest in a propane tank if you want to enjoy the benefits of the fuel. You will also need to know how long propane tanks are suitable for before they expire or need to be replaced. The size of the tank is a significant factor in how long it will last.
How Long Do Propane Tanks Last?
Larger Propane Tanks
Larger propane tanks (above 120 gallons or underground tanks) are commonly used for residential purposes such as supplying the main source of fuel for a house. They do not need to be recertified. However, they should be inspected annually to ensure they are still safe to use.
Homes that are 2,500 square feet or larger with various propane-based appliances are likely to use a 500-gallon tank. Propane tanks that are larger than 500-gallons are only typically used in commercial settings or large homes.
How Long Can a 500-Gallon Propane Tank Last?
The 500 Gallon tank is one of the most commonly used sizes among homeowners. The average household will burn through a 500-gallon tank of propane in five months. The home furnace uses more propane than any other appliance. Therefore, even if the propane tank is used only for the furnace, it might still not last you a full year.
How To Predict Your Propane Usage:
The more appliances that run off propane, the higher usage a home will have. For those wishing to understand the technical side of things, you will need to factor in the number of BTUs your appliances use and divide it by the number of BTUs in a gallon of propane (91,502). This number will give you the number of gallons of propane your home will consume per hour. Keep in mind, most appliances don’t run non-stop for the entire hour.
Longevity of Propane Tanks:
Propane tanks are long-lasting and come with built in safety features to protect them. Compared to oil tanks, propane tanks are much more durable. It would be best if you had a professional inspect your tank annually to detect leaks or other defects in the tank.
Underground Propane Tanks:
Underground propane tanks have a slightly longer lifespan than above ground tanks due to the fact that the ground protects the tank from harsh weather. On average, underground propane tanks last about 30-40 years. Factors affecting the longevity of underground propane tanks include the installation method and the kind of soil surrounding the tank.
One way to protect your underground tank is to use an anode bag. Underground tanks are prone to electrolysis which can cause small holes in propane tanks and cause damage. Anode bags are bags that attach to the underground tank through a wire. They get buried with the tank and absorb harmful electrical currents which elongates your propane tank’s life.
Small Propane Tanks:
Small propane tanks, such as standard 20 lb tanks, commonly referred to as barbecue propane tanks, operate slightly differently. Small propane tanks need to be recertified after 12 years. For information on how this works and what to do if your tank is expired, read our article here!
If you bring your barbecue tank to GVP’s Malvern office, we will always check the date for you and not fill past due tanks.
Signs of Wear and Tear:
There are several signs that will let you know your tank is aging and needs to be replaced soon.
1) Signs of Corrosion – If your propane tank has rust accumulated on it, that is a sign of aging. Ignoring a small amount of rust can cause the rust to spread and get worse over time. Excessive rust will thin out the walls of the propane tank causing it to become weaker. The weaker the walls are, the higher the risk of holes developing in the propane tank.
2) Dents – Deep dents or dings are another sign of wear and tear. They can elevate the pressure inside the tank and compromise the structural integrity. Also, scratches on the propane tank might have minor holes (not easily visible to the naked eye) that can allow gas to escape.
3) Bad Smell – If you notice a foul odor coming from your tank, this could be due to a leak. There are several causes for leaks such as problems with the valve of the tank, the collar, or a hole.
4) Yellow or Orange Flames – Appliances that use propane should generally have blue flames coming out of them. If you notice that the device is giving off another color fire such as yellow or orange, there could be a leak or blockage in the system.
When to Get a New Tank?
You should consider getting a new tank if your propane tank is showing the signs of wear and tear mentioned above. It is a safety hazard to keep an aged, rusted tank. Rust will thin out the walls of your tank making it weaker and possibly form holes. Holes can lead to gas leaks putting you and your family in danger. Accumulation of rust can also decrease odor concentrations of the propane so you will not be able to smell a gas leak easily.
Maintaining the propane tank and fixing any defects as they come up will elongate the propane tank lifespan. The size of the tank is also a factor in how long it will last.
Great Valley Provides Long-Lasting Propane Tanks and Excellent Service!
The propane tanks at Great Valley Propane are made of high-quality steel with a unique coat to prevent damage. In addition, we have propane tanks of all sizes to fit your needs. Furthermore, our team of experts always puts the customer first and will go above and beyond to install and maintain your propane tank, so you don’t have to.
If you are in need of high-quality propane tanks for your house don’t wait any longer!
Call us today at 610-251-2203 to get your propane tank delivered to your home.