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  #1  
Old 09/20/08, 08:03 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Indiana
Posts: 2,006
propane tanks: owning vs renting

Right now we rent our propane tank but am thinking of looking into buying it. I've been told it's an older tank that they don't even carry any more so might get a good deal on it. My question is what kind of upkeep is needed on a propane tank? About how much would a 500 gallon one cost? If I can't get a good deal on the one we already own, where do I go to buy one? If you own your tank why did you make that decision?
Thanks!
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aka Karen in Indiana

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  #2  
Old 09/20/08, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Michigan
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Buying a new one in our area was about $1200. As for upkeep? What have they done to it in the last few years while you were renting it? If it is their tank now and you want to buy it - it seems that in the deal I would ask them to come and ensure all parts are functioning properly, any repairs are done, etc. If it is an older tank, if the valve went bad would you be able to replace it?

The idea of owning a tank is that you can shop around for your gas. However, we found that the best rate around here are when you rent a tank and are a regular customer.

I do have a friend that went to her co to order more gas and they had hiked the price up over $3. So, she just called another company that was selling just under $2 and now has two tanks side by side in her yard! She is also thinking of owning her tank. We opted to rent - we can buy it out later if we choose to do that.

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  #3  
Old 09/20/08, 08:59 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central WI
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A 1000 gallon tank came with our house. We are free to shop around for the best prices and have noticed quite a price difference between say the Co-Op and several other suppliers. The wife says it's usually a penny or so cheaper by owning the tank.
As far as upkeep we have it leak checked every few years or if you let the level drop down to 0 most places will want to pull a leak check before they fill it.

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  #4  
Old 09/20/08, 09:12 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Northeast Indiana
Posts: 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by stirfamily View Post
If you own your tank why did you make that decision?
We're also in Indiana (northeast corner). When we moved here, the LP tank was rented. It was almost new and 1000 gallons. We heat with wood, so we haven't bought any LP in the two years we've lived here. Last spring, we got a bill for the tank rent (which we expected), along with an unannounced $150 bill for "minimum usage."

I called the owner of the LP business and asked if he would waive the $150 bill if we bought the tank. He agreed, and also waived the rent (I hadn't asked, but was quite willing to permit him to do that). We paid $1800 for the tank (remember, this is a 1000 gallon, almost new tank).

We still haven't purchased any LP, but we'll be pleased to be able to shop around when we need to. We're also glad we won't be getting any unforeseen bills because we don't use much LP.

River
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  #5  
Old 09/20/08, 10:05 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Texas
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When we moved out to the boonies and set up our propane tank, we rented it for the first year ($65). The installer told me that we should consider buying our tank "if we intend to live here a while". The following year I called and asked the propane company about it and they said "Yes" - $300. I bought it on the spot. The only stipulation from any of the propane companies in my area, is that I buy at least 100 gallons for them to come out and deliver.

I have not had one single issue with my tank. I probably ought to paint it and maybe fence around it (for beautification purposes), but the gauge is working just fine.

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  #6  
Old 09/20/08, 10:13 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 407

If you own yoiur own tank - you need to figure out how you will get it recertified (code where I live is every 10 years). If your insurance company does an inspection of your premises, they will also be checking the last certification date of the tank.

If there is a mishap due to a propane incident (i.e. leakage, explosion, tank failure etc), and your supplier has refilled the tank when it was past due for recertification, they will be on the hook for damages - whether they are found liable or not will be another issue, but they will be a named party in any lawsuit.

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  #7  
Old 09/20/08, 10:25 AM
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I try to do what I can to avoid making monthly payments. We own our tanks, and use as little propane as possible. We have two 500 gallon tanks side by side, and haven't had to refill for 2-3 yeaars. We also have a 1500 gallon tank at another location at the ranch. It used to be a Boy Scout Camp, and that tank ran the kitchen. It is full too, and i have been trying to think of a way to get use from the propane in that tank.

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  #8  
Old 09/20/08, 10:48 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Common Tator View Post
I try to do what I can to avoid making monthly payments. We own our tanks, and use as little propane as possible. We have two 500 gallon tanks side by side, and haven't had to refill for 2-3 yeaars. We also have a 1500 gallon tank at another location at the ranch. It used to be a Boy Scout Camp, and that tank ran the kitchen. It is full too, and i have been trying to think of a way to get use from the propane in that tank.

When we ordered our tank, we had the gas company put a hose on it so we can refill the smaller tanks - like you use on a BBQ grill. I am not sure if they can install one if the tank has fuel in it or not.
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  #9  
Old 09/20/08, 06:49 PM
East Central MN
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: MN
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We own our tank, came with the house. I have the freedom to look around for the cheapest gas. People around here who rent tanks from gas companies are getting racked over the coals for propane. Last winter a neighbor was paying $3.70 a gallon from his supplier, I never paid over $2.98 by shopping around and pre-buying from the cheapest supplier. He purchased a tank this year. I've actually been using the same supplier for about 6 years now, he's always the cheapest. He also inspects the tanks and paints them if they need it, even if it's my tank, and he doesn't charge for that service. I've lived here for 15 years and as far as I know this tank has been here since 1986. I've never had an insurance company ask about the propane tank and I've had 4 different insurance companies since I've lived here.

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  #10  
Old 09/20/08, 07:05 PM
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Location: MS
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We own our tank.

My mom has been paying rent on her tank for 43 years! It's never been replaced and the only thing ever done to it was a paint job a few years ago. Imagine how many tanks she could have bought in all that time.

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  #11  
Old 09/20/08, 07:39 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Arkansas
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I agree with Ravenlost. I don't know how old you are... but to me renting a propane tank is like renting a house.

I know for a fact (we own our own) that to be 40 - 75 cents difference in the price is normal for here. I also suspect that all of the 3 providers here probably have one price for a "new" customer (or better said non captive customer) and another for for a customer that rents the tank (and must use their product).

We here in Arkansas only have to have the tank certified if it's empty. (so all the regulations you have in Indiana...

Pat

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  #12  
Old 09/20/08, 08:49 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Indiana
Posts: 2,006

Thanks all for your input. I have already locked in our propane rate for the winter, $2.69/gal. so will be looking to buy a tank come spring. I don't know what the regs are here in Indiana regarding propane tanks so will also do some homework regarding that. Our tank is at least 11 years old because that's how long we've been here and not sure how long the tank was here before that. All I know is nothing has ever been done to it in the last 11 years and at the very least it needs to be painted. Our wonderful family owned gas company was bought out by Blue Flame and they don't seem real customer friendly to say the least.
grandma chicken
aka Karen in Indiana

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  #13  
Old 09/21/08, 05:18 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Northern Missouri
Posts: 746

I was very lucky. My neighbor was the propane man and he let me buy out the contract on the 500 gallon tank that was set when we moved there. We got it for $80.00.
My father-in-law bought a tank for his daughter when she moved out. Tank went with her when we married, we just convieniently assumed.
We have 2-500 gal tanks or 800 gal capacity, 80%..
When we built here I had a slab poured to set them on. They looked real nasty because the guy who painted them only did the top half he could reach easily. So I called the local propane company to see if I could get a gallon of paint, I have a maintenace contract with this company after all. I told them that with a new house I didn't want any half-butt painted tanks that can be seen from the front yard. They said they didn't normally do that.
When I said "I bet I can get a gallon of ----- Gas blue." (the competitor) They had a gallon ready for me to pick up within the hour.

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  #14  
Old 09/21/08, 02:42 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenlost View Post
We own our tank.

My mom has been paying rent on her tank for 43 years! It's never been replaced and the only thing ever done to it was a paint job a few years ago. Imagine how many tanks she could have bought in all that time.
When that has happened around here, the Fire Marshall's office (who are responsible for LPG) were called in, fines levied, and home owner's insurance cancelled. There was one found on an insurance inspection that went back to the 1940s.
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