Can I 'hide' my propane tank?

liptonjlJanuary 23, 2008

Ok I think we're going to get a dual fuel system that runs primarily on high efficency heat pump and then also propane for stove, fireplace, and supplemental heat.

Now we do not have to bury the propane tank. However, it will be a 300 gallon tank = ugly.

How can I hide or disguise it? Ideas? Pics?


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Can you bury it? Certain setbacks apply, but it's not too hard to dig a hole for it during excavation. Our has only the 'periscope' sticking up. It's allowed in our county, maybe it is in yours.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 5:36PM
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We were trying to save additional excavation costs associated with burying it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:13PM
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Well, the responsible answer to your question would be "no." Nobody associated with the propane company or anyone in an official capacity would condone your hiding the tank because, in the event of a fire or other emergency at your house, the firefighters need to be able to see immediately that you have a propane tank and where it is located.

That said ... I had a particularly ugly one, and I painted it. It is a solid light green color that makes it blend as closely as possible with the grass around it. You can clearly see that it's there, but it doesn't look bad at all. (It was light blue and red before and was really peeling and ratty looking.) Of course, this is only an option if you own your tank.

I had intended to build a fence right up around it, and I called the company to ask about doing that, and that's when I found out they REALLY do not want you to hide it. They actually don't want you to paint it either, but if it's your tank, you can do what you want with it.

In my part of the world, some people paint them decoratively (or tackily, depending on your POV), like watermelons or cows or whatever.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:17PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Maybe something like these?



    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:28PM
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My MIL has a picket fence panel in front of hers with flowers planted. You can still tell the tank is there, but you see the fence and flowers first.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I went with a buried tank, one of the first decisions I made. Had to buy [v. lease] it, have it buried. Figured it was worth it-- my site was so natural and unspoiled, and I was paying a lot to have the power line buried.

Then the power was brought in, and I ended up with a dark green box the size of a washer in my back yard, and post with the big grey transformer/meter on it.

Then the phone came in, and I got a light green box the size of a fence post, screwed onto an actual fence post.

Then I decided to get a generator, since power outages make me crazy, and ended up with a beige box next to the green one, along with some rules about 'no flamable materials within X feet of the front of the box, Y feet of the back...'

So now I'm going to end up with an unlandscapped area with all these ugly, different colored boxes and posts. I'm going to put up a wood screen so they won't be visible from my deck, but will still show from the driveway for the sake of emergency or utility workers.

And I'm thinking to myself, 'Why the heck did I spend all the money for a buried tank?'

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 9:58PM
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A propane tank can be buried underground. Usually they are burried with special sacrificial anodes. These are chunks of metal that corrode away instead of your tank. The cost I would say is small so long as you already are going to have heavy excavating equipment on your land anyway to build a house.

I did not bury mine because I installed it after I built my house and it would have needed a jack hammer excavator to do so. Too expensive ... I wish I did it earlier though.

If you can I would recommend that you bury it.

warmest regards, Mike.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 6:34AM
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We're in the same situation as oruboris. We buried our electric because we didn't want to see the wires down the driveway, but the box for the transformer is huge so there's no hiding it, and there's the panel the meter and other boxes are mounted on, so we put the propane tank next to that. Hadn't even thought about the phone yet. We're just going to put a decorative fence line up in front of it and put some shrubs around it and call it a day.

Try to pick a propane company that has nicely colored tanks. It really does make a difference.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 8:42AM
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Is it possible to simply hide it behind the garage or something? Then, if it truly is noticeable, maybe a small picket fence would do something for you. I even see people install them up to 40'or so away and behind trees around here.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:35AM
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We were told about a 'remote' electrical transformer; it and the phone box and meters are right off our drive, but about, oh, 40' from the house, easily hidden from view by our wild landscape but just as easily accessible from the drive for meter readers, repairs, etc. It probably cost more money since there was an extra trench to the house, but with the excavator already there the cost wasn't noticeable. If it's not too late it might be a way to go.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:43AM
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Hey, those of you guys who think that you can bury your propane tank in the ground - it's a big no! NO! I assume the suggestions made to the person posting this thread were based on some aesthetic common sense of the people who wrote it but not on actual safety guidelines and codes. As you mat know, propane is heavier than water. Therefore, if you bury your tank and a leak occurs, all the highly flammable gas is going to accumulate around your house. And as you can imagine, no one wants to risk that. So when you take a spin around a neighborhood, you will notice these ugly, bright-painted propane tanks. Judging by the number of those, you can figure that there is a reason why hundreds of people don't try to hide that thing. You can build a half wall or some kind of gentle screen around it but don't bury it.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:37PM
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kkaty, LP companies bury them all teh time. it is perfectly safe as long as they are done to code. yes, propane is heavier than water in liquid form, but once htere is no pressure on it it becomes gas once again. this is why most codes require the tank be X distance fromthe house and other utilities. in my area it has to be at least 5 feet fromteh house, BUT minimum 10 feet from any electrical outlet/meter/transformer.

any tank that leaks can cause a fire/explosion and should be repaired immediately.

the reason you see the tanks on the ground versus in the ground is that many people simply do not hav ethe money to bury the tank. as stated above, you have to buy it, it is a special tank, and special precautions have to be made. why would i spend a few grand for that when i can pay 30.00 a year tank rental and have it sit under a tree behind my fence?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 1:01PM
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I have mine buried. It is rented for $60 a year and cost $150 to be buried.

I have the gas company do an inspection of all the gas lines and the gas fireplaces once a year for safety. I would have it inspected every year if the tank was above ground, too.

My gas company assured me it was safe as long as it is to code. If it was a problem, gas companies would not bury them.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 3:42PM
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We buried ours and now wish we would have saved the money. Just like oruboris, after the phone and power came in, we still have ugly boxes. After it was buried, my sister, who works for the Deparment of Environmental Quality, told me even though they say the tanks don't corrode, they actually do, and will probably only last 20 years underground.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 4:25PM
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The rules in our subdivision require that a tank over a certain size (maybe 20 gallons) be buried. Our is over 300 gallons and it is buried. It was no big deal. Excavated the hole when digging the foundation. Poured a concrete pad and inserted bolts. Propane company dropped tank (with sacrificial anodes) into place and chained it down. Hole was backfilled with sand when the house was backfilled. The line runs underground (with safety tape over it so it doesn't get dug up) and there is a very small metal box where the line comes out of the ground and it connect to the back of the house. It's no big deal, a small shrub would completely hide it. The propane company owns the tank (so they say, I never signed anything) and they don't charge for it, but I am only supposed to use them for fills (it's only been filled once in two years).

Our utilities are underground and our phone and power meters are on the side of the garage, not highly visible. The transformer is in the woods. The meters and boxes on the house are not bad looking at all. A small metal box for phone and cable, a meter mounted on another metal box with the shutoff for the electrical. They are barely noticeable, but we carely planned where they would go.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 5:04PM
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Liquid propane is not heavier than water, it is lighter than water. Vaporized propane is heavier than air. Liquid propane expands 470 times, meaning a small liquid leak is like a very large vapor leak, it will cause severe freezer burns instantly. Underground tanks are very safe and reliable but MUST be installed correctly. Above ground tanks can be concealed but not "hidden" completely from view (as one very smart poster already mentioned) so it may be found easily if an emergency should occur. Pickets, lattice, shrubs, etc. are OK as long as the tank can be readily identified. Fancy paint jobs not only change the "ugly" appearance of the tank but also draw good attention showing off ones ingenuity and artistic talents. I prefer above ground tanks because they can be easily inspected and easily moved if needed.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Same as PP if the tank is 500 gallons or more in our dev. it has to be buried. We can put it in the back of the house or the side wehre it is "hidden"... But I think it will still be ugly!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:57PM
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If you think a 300 gal. tank is ugly, how about a 1,000 gal? That's what we have. We placed ours along our property line and behind the garage. We then planted arborvitaes along the front and down one side to completely hide it from view while still allowing easy access for refilling.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 8:01AM
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Bury it and don't think twice. Additional cost for an underground tank is well worth not having to look at it the rest of your life. One way to look at it is this - take the extra cost of the tank including burial and divide that number by the number of days you plan to live in the house ... pennies a day.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Christine Decker

we put a pretty lattice panel in front of our propane tank and I planted morning glories. I did same with electrical panel. Here are some pics. It only took about a month for morning glory to cover once it started (from seed).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 6:54PM
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