Buying propane tank to heat house

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by lilyrose, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. lilyrose

    lilyrose Well-Known Member

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    Whether we decide to stay here or move I'd like to install a propane tank to heat my house during ice storms/hurricanes. We've lost heat here for as long as 6 days before and it's no fun.

    I'd like to buy a tank and bury it, but prices are very high. They say that steel prices have gone up drastically. It seems a waste just to rent a tank.

    Does anyone know if used tanks are available and if they are, then where do you look for them and how do you transport to your home?
     
  2. gspig

    gspig Well-Known Member

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    Don't buy used. Most tanks have to be tested after so many years (ususally 10). Some suppliers won't refill after test by date has passed. If you want a tank for short term heating, buy a 100 gallon tank. Farm stores and even Lowes here has them. Don't bury them, contact with the ground will accelerate rust and since they are buried, you won't be able to inspect them.
     

  3. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I understand the concern expressed about buying used tanks, but the one at my Mom's house was used when she got it. She's now used it for over 25 years, but the gas company guy is an old friend. He is meticulous about maintaining it for her. In our area (northwest of Atlanta), there are some used 250 gallon tanks going for $350 and one 500 gallon tank listed for $500. Check with your propane provider about their rules/suggestions, but a used tank that has been well maintained should be safe. Good luck.
     
  4. mommymushbrain

    mommymushbrain Well-Known Member

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    We use 2 100 pound tanks to heat our trailer for the entire winter. Bought them up at the gas station, drive them up there to fill 'em ourselves. We poured a concrete pad to set them on and we were warm!

    Of course, we were going to go through the local propane company itself - but after their "price quotes", we did not. We did use them to test our lines and such and that was it.
     
  5. Ahne Homestead

    Ahne Homestead Well-Known Member

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    Lilyrose I just bought a 500 gal above tank this spring. I wanted a used tank (because they are cheaper). I talked to several drivers about buying a used tank and the tanks predicted life span. What they told me was the used ones are very hard to get because they are sold as fast as they get them in and a tank that is kept off the ground and well painted will be around allot longer than me. That doesn't include the regulator and valves. I think they recommend changing them every 15 years but don't quote me on that. My house had a rented tank when I purchased it. I talked to the main office about purchasing the tank that was on sight. They gave me the run around long enough that I had to have it filled and made me sign a contract with them before they would fill it. After reading the fine print I found out the contract clearly states I can not purchase said tank. Needless to say I went somewhere else and purchased a new one for about $1,000. So if you want a used tank and have enough time it is possible with the right vendor. Carl
     
  6. Ahne Homestead

    Ahne Homestead Well-Known Member

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    Lilyrose I just remembered my neighbor a few years back happened to be in the right place at the right time and a co-worker had a tank they no longer wanted. He got it for free. The local vendor charged him $65 to pick it up a deliver it. Maybe if you advertise in your local paper someone will have one they will let go for a song and dance. Carl
     
  7. Andy Nonymous

    Andy Nonymous Registered, here...

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    According to an Amerigas employee, there are two kinds of tanks in general use: ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engiineers), and DOT (department of transportation), but around here, the largest propane tank available for sale to the public is a 'hundred pound' tank, which if my math is right, holds about 20 gallons, and is a DOT tank. Anything bigger must be owned and maintained by a propane supply company, and only that company can fill that tank... *in best godfather voice* "heh, ahm gonna give you an offa you can't refuse: you deal only wit us, or somthin really bad might happen, capice?..." It's probably a State law (NY), as none of the several counties I know of have anything but 'name brand' tanks sitting around. With most of the companies in this area, they charge a fee to set the tank (some charge a fee to pick it up too) and the tank rental is usually 'free' as long as you buy at least the tank capacity in gas each year, but that likely varies somewhat, and is probably subject to change as companies look for more revenews as smarter folks cut their useage due to higher fuel costs....

    According to what I know of it, the ASME tanks are generally the larger ones meant for permanent installations, and are designed with enough metal in them to last a lifetime (dare I say "built like tanks"?), whereas the DOT approved tanks are usually the smaller ones (like the 1#-40 gallon ones, but don't hold me to it - it varies!) and need to be hydrostatically checked every so-many years, meaning that they put the tank in a vat of water, put double the rating plate listed pressure in it and see how much the tank has expanded (water displacement), then dump all the pressure out and see if the tank has returned to it's former size. Those that show stretch after the test (or which fail - it does happen, so don't try this at home!) are taken out of service; while the ones that pass are recertified for another X years, depending on the tank..

    'Tanks' for asking about sum-thin I know a little about. :D
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    we rent a 250 tank its 30 dollors a year they are responseble for reg. first year rental is free
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The best place to locate a used tank is from a farmer that had a grain dryer. There are lots of 500 gallon and larger tanks in the country side not being used. Ask at a feed supply store.
     
  10. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    Well, if it were me looking for back up heat: a wood stove or a coal stove, wood preferred (either one must be properly installed!). Or, a kerosene heater. The old Aladdin Blue Flame heaters are real nice if you can find one in decent shape...be sure to get the big wick cleaner for it, but any good heater will do. I've got some Perfection heaters here from the early 1900's, and they still work, and do heat reasonably well, though they are certainly not terribly efficient, but are simple with little to break. But, I bet they would bother your allergies, as they don't burn with the clean blue flames more modern heaters use, and, they are not as safe as newer ones. I've also got an old Coleman model 5A radiant heater, which can easily heat a good sized room, but it's loud, parts are hard to find if anything breaks, and it gives off lots of fumes that will likely bother your allergies you mentioned in another thread...