Large propane tank vs. small one - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 01/28/13, 04:30 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northwest Missouri
Posts: 164
Large propane tank vs. small one

Wondering if the small propane tanks (like for a gas grill) are cost prohibitive compared to having a huge silver tank in my yard.

It would be for a remote cabin with a small gas cooking stove and a small gas refrigerator. One person, full time. Wood heat.

Could I just use a small propane tank for each appliance and switch them out when I go to town (as needed)? Are there different size small tanks? I'm talking about like at Lowe's or U-Haul, etc.

I wonder about privacy with the guy coming in to refill the big tank and also tearing up the ground.

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  #2  
Old 01/28/13, 04:45 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 641

I have both a large tank and a small 100 pound tank. For me its cheaper to let the truck come and fill the tank than to drag the small tank in. Still scratching my head on this one.

As for the ground being torn up. You want the propane tank filled during the summer as propane will be cheaper and its bone dry so you don't have to worry about ruts.

Are you planning to live there full time or it just a weekend cabin? Full time I would go with the tank. If its just weekends then I would go with bottles

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  #3  
Old 01/28/13, 06:08 PM
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Location: Houston Tx as of a few months back
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I think your' best bet would be to call a local propane provider, ask them if they deliver, how much it costs to use their tank, etc... then, compare that to how often you run through canisters in a typical year, what they cost for exchange, etc...

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  #4  
Old 01/28/13, 07:08 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: PA
Posts: 43

The answer depends on your local situation.

Once was in a local oil heat coop with just a 15 percent markup over wholesale.

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  #5  
Old 01/28/13, 08:06 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: north central Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,578

We use the 100# tanks for hot water and gas stove for cooking full time. We use about one (1) full tank about every 4-5 weeks. The hot water takes most of it because when we just used the kitchen stove the tank would last about 3 months or so. We now pay between $3.50 to $4 a gal/#. The cost is very high because I am told that the less you use the more the cost. If you had a very large tank it would be a lot cheaper. To fill the little propane barbeque tanks at Tractor Suppy it is $2.49 a gallon last time I looked. It would be too cumbersome for me to haul the large silver tanks to get refilled myself..but sure would like too..You could also heat your water for everyday use on your wood stove during colder months and hook up a home made "solar" tank from junk to help during the summer. We actually have a couple of 55 gallon . barrels on the roof of the barn that goes to an outdoor shower for summer use. If it is only yourself at your place I would certainly work around using too much propane. And if possible bring it in yourself.

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  #6  
Old 01/28/13, 10:37 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 964

Last spring/summer a friend of mine filled a 500gal tank for $1.79/gal. If I get my 20lb tanks filled its about $18 for 4.1gallons, or $4.39/gallon.


Around here, you have to either own the tank, or use a minimum amount of gas per year, or you'll be charged a rental fee. I think you need to know how much gas you'll be using.

A modern gas fridge uses about 1.1lbs/day of propane. If you use Helena's 3 months for just cooking, you probably are around 1lb/day. So you're looking at 2-3lbs/day 178-267gallons/year of useage. If you heat water, you'll be using more. Since its only one person, you'll be using less (probably) for cooking. 37 tanks full of propane around here would cost around $700. Getting a bulk tank would give you a propane cost of $350-$450/year. Even adding on a $100/year rental fee, and its much less.

Another thing to know is that if you exchange your tanks, especially Blue Rino, you're only getting 15lbs of propane. Thats how they get their money... you only get 3/4 of the propane that a refill would give you, and probably for the same amount of cash.

You can get all sorts of sizes of propane tanks. 100lb, 200lb, 420lb (120gal), 250gal, 500gal. The bigger the tank, the less often you have to fill it. You can choose the best price of the year to fill as well. I'd go with a large tank, and let the propane company come out to fill it. I've experienced the joys of rotating 5 20lb tanks to keep the chicken waterers heated, along with some space heating. One big tank is cheaper, and a lot more convenient.


Michael

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  #7  
Old 01/29/13, 11:46 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,546

I would go with no less than s 250 or 350 or better a 500 gal tank.
Then you would only need to fill it once a year or two.

Be very careful in shopping around for propane. There are some nasty companys who require you to us a certain amount per year . . . RUN from those idiots. . . .

The best deal is to find a used 500 gal tank, have it installed properly, Save that receipt, and then you can shop around for the best price for the fuel......

A bigger tank would be great to have for a small backup propane heater . . . . just in case........

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  #8  
Old 01/31/13, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Eastern Washington state
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We have a 1,000 tank. Cost per gal is cheaper that way. Propane truck can't make it up for 4 months or so due to snow anyway. Tanks can be burried.

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  #9  
Old 02/01/13, 04:59 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 256
I have almost the exact same situation as the OP for my BOL. I settled with four, hundred
pounders that I got brand new off of CL very cheaply. As for switching them out I bought
one of those automatic transfer regulators for hooking them up two at a time.

In WVa. because of shale fracking the price of propane has been the same for over two
years, regardless of season. (evidently it’s a byproduct of the process.)

I tried to get a single bigger tank but was unsuccessful because most people wanted
to lease them and I wasn’t about to pay for them that way.

Once I’m fully online I’ll shelter them, ground them, and pipe them underground into the cabin
and I should be good to go.

It may cost me a little more for refills but as often as I need them it wont be too bad.

JMHO,
Dan
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  #10  
Old 02/01/13, 01:37 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

It costs $50 to fill a hundred pound tank here at Costco, a 30 pounder is $20 and a 20 pound tank is $15. Been that way for quite a while.

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  #11  
Old 02/02/13, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tennessee
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PW
You can haul 100# tanks to be filled.
You could put a large tank on a trailer if your concerned about privacy.
Usually a big $ difference in buying in large qty.

Also if you had a wood cook stove it would provide heat and eliminate a propane need in the winter. My guess is Summer time use gas stove or 2 burner gas.

I rented a 500gl tank, couple yrs later installed a woodfired hotwater system for the house, the gas company took the tank because I wasn't using enough gas.
Yes I was paying to rent the tank.
jim

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  #12  
Old 02/05/13, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solidwoods View Post
PW
You could put a large tank on a trailer if your concerned about privacy.

jim
For OPSEC one day I plan on getting a small dilapidated horse
trailer, take the wheels off, and let it get overgrown.

I can hide several 100 pounders and some other stuff most
people might not think of in there.


JMHO,
Dan
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  #13  
Old 02/05/13, 07:22 AM
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When I posted You could put a large tank on a trailer if your concerned about privacy.
I should have added then you can haul it to be filled so no one knows much.
jim

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  #14  
Old 02/05/13, 01:56 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
Posts: 3,738

Bet most places won't fill a large tank if you haul it in......I kinda think DOT regs come into play. You might want to check before making that the plan.

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  #15  
Old 02/05/13, 03:15 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Moving from NM to TX, & back to NM.
Posts: 2,292

The largest portable tank you can get is a 100 lb bottle, which holds about 24 gal of propane.
Some farmers have the 250 gal tanks in a special trailer setup for ag stuff, but that is not likely easily doable in an urban environment.

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  #16  
Old 02/05/13, 07:30 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,546

Around here the fines are very very stiff if you are caught hauling a 500 gal tank with more than .05% in it .
And they would require that the tank be pumped --down-- right where ever you got caught......

In all . . a very bad idea to be hauling a tank holding more than legal.

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  #17  
Old 02/06/13, 04:32 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 256
I got all four of my 100 pounders filled with no problem actually at the same time.
My plans are for stable heat for canning, an occasional cup of coffee, and to cut
the chill off the cabin instead of firing up a woodstove.

With all the hoopla about moonshining on TV lately, as an afterthought
I would of thought I might have made it on someone’s watch list.
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