Residential propane tanks are used for many purposes. People choose to use propane for anything from a few small appliances like a BBQ setup or an outdoor heater, to whole home energy needs. Many houses use propane as their cooking gas, as well as to heat water and to heat the home. With this wide range in usage, there is also a wide range in propane tank sizes and options—and one of the most important to many homeowners is whether they want to locate their tank above ground or below ground.
Not all residential propane tanks are available in underground designs. Many smaller tanks, for example, are meant to be portable and must be taken to a propane supplier to be swapped out. Even tanks as big as a so called “100 pound tank,” which is nearly as tall as a man and are often refilled by a propane delivery service, are designed for above ground use. This is because they are still relatively small and easy to visibly obscure if you don’t want a propane tank to be part of your landscaping.
As you move into large scale tanks, however, an underground setup becomes attractive. For an individual homeowner, the types of tank sizes we’re referring to are 500 gallon tanks (about 10 feet long) and 1,000 gallon tanks (16 feet long). These are the ideal tank sizes if you use propane as your primary energy source in your home. But because they are so big, they are hard to obscure with landscaping. This is the main reason both are available in above ground or underground setups. Both styles have their advantages:
Above Ground Propane Tanks
- Quick and easy to set up—simply “drag and drop.”
- No excavation required.
- Easy to swap out in the future
Underground Propane Tanks
- Does not interfere with appearance of landscaping
- More contained if there is a leak or damage
- May increase the perceived value of your home over an above-ground tank
Different homeowners choose above or below ground for different reasons, and there is no wrong answer. It’s a question of your priorities and what you prefer: the elegance of an underground system, or the convenience of above ground. If you do decide to go with an underground tank, discuss this with your propane tank and make sure the tank you buy is meant for this. Remember to follow all guidelines when installing your underground tank. This will protect the tank from water and make sure you can access it properly for maintenance and refills.
Which type of residential propane tank would you prefer?