FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below you can find some of our most frequently asked questions about propane and propane tanks.
Wikipedia defines propane as “a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula C3H8, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central heating.”
In its natural state, propane is an odorless gas. As a safety precaution, a chemical called Ethyl Mercaptan is added so that any presence of propane may be easily detected. The concentration level of ethyl mercaptan that is added to propane is not harmful.
No, propane is an approved, clean fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Propane is one of the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels. Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30% to 90% less carbon monoxide and about 50% fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. Propane also is non-toxic, so it’s not harmful to soil or water. In the event of a leak, propane will dissipate into a vapor, leaving no lasting effect on the surrounding environment
Propane tanks are most commonly referred to by their water capacity volume, and propane tanks are normally filled to 80% of its water capacity. For example, a 120-gallon tank will hold approximately 100 gallons of propane when completely full. Since propane is stored in a liquid state under pressure, it needs room to expand into a vapor. This extra “room” that is in the tank allows for that expansion. Depending on the ambient temperature outside, propane may expand more or less.
Propane Tank Capacities (assuming 80% of tank water capacity)
20lb Propane Tank ~ 3.5 Propane Gallons
100lb Propane Tank ~ 24 Propane Gallons
420lb Propane Tank (120 Gallon WC) – 100 Propane Gallons
500 Gallon Propane Tank (500 Gallon WC) – 400 Propane Gallons
1,000 Gallon Propane Tank (1000 Gallon WC) – 800 Propane Gallons
Propane can be measured in a few manners. The most common way is by gallons. It can also be measured by pounds (one gallon = 4.2lbs). When measured in gallons, a meter at the pump is used to determine the amount of propane that has been filled into a tank. When measured in pounds, the tare (empty starting) weight of the tank must be known first. After this weight is taken into account, the tank is then filled to capacity with the correct volume. (i.e. A BBQ tank is commonly referred to as a 20lb tank. This is because these tanks hold 20lbs or approximately five gallons of propane).
The British thermal unit (BTU ) is a unit of energy used in the power, steam generation, heating and air conditioning industries. For propane use, one gallon of propane will burn 91,690 BTUs. Most household log fireplace sets will burn approximately 30,000 BTUs per hour. This relates to roughly three hours of continuous use per gallon, though the pilot light must also be taken into account.
GAS Check® is an inspection program developed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and funded by PERC that provides guidelines for technicians on how to perform two different types of residential safety inspections:
Propane prices can vary (sometimes) significantly between propane suppliers. So why the big difference? Well, for some propane companies, that’s just their business model. Propane in the United States is supplied to most propane distributors from mostly the same refineries. This is partially responsible for the cost difference – transportation to the supplier.
Other factors, such as pipeline tariffs, supply/demand from the refinery, availability, and a variety of other conditions that affect the market rates.
GasTec’s propane prices are based on market rates and trends. As the market moves, your propane price will move too – this means down when the market moves down!
Unlike many other types of fuels that go bad after some time, or need stabilizers to last periods of time, Propane is there until you use it. Due to the nature of the storage and makeup, there is no shelf life of propane. One thing to note, that while the propane is good practically indefinitely, it is worth mentioning that the containing must remain in good condition (container and valves).
Sizing of a propane tank (or tanks) system will depend on a few factors:
- Use – Will you be using the propane for your whole house needs, something low usage like cooking, or somewhere in between?
- Placement – Sometimes, propane tanks are limited to where they can be installed based on NFPA 58 (National Fire Code) restrictions?
Contact us today so we can learn about your planned used, and help to size the propane system correctly
Yes, but it’s not likely (in most areas, anyway). Propane will freeze at -306°F. Propane is a liquid at -44° F and below. When propane is above -44°F, it will vaporize into a gas form. This gas form is what nearly all appliances will run off of.
Based on the size of the tank, there are different placement restrictions per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Our propane tank chart has a break down of common size tanks and basic placement restrictions for most common uses.
Propane is a hydrocarbon gas that is primarily derived from natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is also produced as a byproduct of certain chemical processes.
The process of producing propane from natural gas involves separating the various components of the natural gas stream, including methane, ethane, propane, butane, and pentane. This is typically done using a process called fractional distillation, in which the natural gas is cooled and then heated again, causing the different components to vaporize at different temperatures and be collected separately.
Propane can also be produced as a byproduct of refining crude oil. In this process, crude oil is heated and the various components are separated using a process called cracking.
Once propane is separated and collected, it is then compressed and stored in tanks, from where it is transported to various locations for use as a fuel source or a raw material for other chemical products
Propane is transported primarily by truck, rail, and pipeline.
Truck transportation is the most common way to transport propane over short distances, such as from a refinery or production facility to a storage facility or distribution center. Propane is transported in specially designed tanks that are mounted on a truck trailer.
Rail transportation is used to transport propane over longer distances, such as from a production facility to a different state or region. The propane is loaded into rail tank cars and transported by train.
Pipeline transportation is used to transport large volumes of propane over long distances, such as from a production facility to a distribution center or storage facility. The propane is transported through pipelines that are buried underground. This is the most cost-effective and efficient way to transport propane over long distances.
Propane can also be transported by ship or barge, this is less common and mostly used in regions with a lot of water bodies or when propane is exported to other countries.