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Frequently Asked Questions About Propane

Q: Can I paint my tank to match my house?

A: No, the tank paint has a particular purpose.

  1. It protects the tank steel from corrosion and damage.
  2. It reflects heat in the temperate months, allowing the tank to stay at a safe pressure.
  3. It quickly identifies the tank to emergency personnel in a situation that needs quick response to avoid a catastrophic incident.
  4. Many layers of paint lessen or altogether remove the ability of the tank to reject excess heat, making it more likely for an uncontrolled release and a dangerous situation.

Q: Can I plant bushes around the tank and/ or put a fence up to hide the tank?

A: Yes, but certain restrictions must be followed.

  1. Bushes must be kept at least 18” from the tank(s) for proper servicing, inspection, and telling.
  2. Invasive bushes, such as barberry, holly, etc., can make it difficult for service or delivery personnel to access the tank and perform the necessary duties.
  3. Fences or blinds must not constrict the view of the tank so that regular service or emergency personnel are hindered in finding or identifying the tank at its location.
  4. Fences must also, if around a tank, be a minimum of 18 inches away from the tank sides. Also, the bottom ¼ of the tank must be exposed the whole way around the tank to allow for gas to dissipate if a release occurs. In addition to that, the top collar must be evident and unrestricted to allow for the proper function of the tank and regulator.

Q: Can I put my tank(s) under my deck?

A: Tanks can be located under decks in certain circumstances.

  1. The deck must be FULLY open on two sides, meaning at least 50% of the total space underneath is free and clear of lattice, bushes, etc., to allow unrestricted movement of an unplanned discharge to dissipate.
  2. The deck must be at least 8’ tall from the base of the tank to the bottom of the deck joist to allow unrestricted movement and proper operation of the pressure relief valve.

Q: Can I hook my barbeque grill to my tank?

A: Yes, that is an option. Certain connections are necessary to allow for that to happen.

  1. A quick disconnect fitting and box must be used if the grill is to be moved or re-situated in the space it is located.
  2. If a grill is hooked up with a standard line, the wheels MUST be removed, and the grill must be permanently fastened to the base.
  3. It is prudent to note that NO grill can be on a combustible surface such as a wooden deck per the code and ordinance.

Q: How many tanks do I need for a generator, pool, on-demand water heater?

A: Generally, those appliances need at least (2) 100-gallon tanks.

  1. Two tanks are needed to vaporize enough gas to make enough pressure to supply the unit adequately.
  2. These units require a significant start surge when the unit has a call for heat or need.
  3. Due to the significant BTU input of the unit, two tanks are necessary to provide ample supply for the minimum run time for the units.
  4. It is also wise to consider future use when sizing tanks for the system to allow for additional units.

Q: My house is all gas. My furnace is not running, but the rest of my appliances are ok. Am I almost out of gas?

A: When one unit is not working, and the rest are, it is likely a problem with that unit.

  1. Often, a thermostat, blower motor, pilot, etc., causes a unit not to function.
  2. Have the customer check per standard protocol to see if they have power, fuel, and a call or demand for heat, water, etc.
  3. A service technician must be dispatched to solve the problem after the basic checks.

Q: I have two tanks. Can I shut one off, use the second one, and then turn the other on when needed?

A: No. if tanks are tied together, they all must be on.

  1. A system is sized for load input; therefore, if there are two tanks, two tanks must work together to supply the system with what it needs to function.
  2. When a system runs out, or pressure drops and the units stop working, it is deemed an interruption of service, and a leak check MUST be performed before the system can be placed back into operation.

Q: I have two tanks. One gauge is reading different from the other one. Are my gauges broken?

A: The gauges are okay.

  1. Tanks are labeled according to the bleeder valves on each tank.
  2. Tanks do not draw precisely equal due to environmental conditions.
  3. Gauges are approximate and will fluctuate with outside ambient temperatures and other weather-related contributions.
  4. Some gauges can sometimes stick and be remedied with a quick shake or tap on the tank.

Q: I hear a hissing or vibrating sound coming from the regulator on my tank. Is this supposed to do that?

A: Hissing is a typical sound when a regulator is used; rattling or humming is not.

  1. If the regulator is hissing when the units are on and stops when they run out, that is a regular operation, and the sound of the gas owing through the regulator.
  2. If the hissing does not stop when the units are turned on, a service call will be required for a technician to assess the problem.
  3. If a regulator is rattling or vibrating, it will also be necessary for a service call to have a technician replace the regulator or clear the vent line attached to the regulator.

Q: Is that a concern if my tank and regulator were underwater?

A: Yes. If the regulator has water in it must be replaced.

  1. The regulator relies on atmospheric pressure to maintain proper system pressure and function. If there is water inside the bonnet, it cannot move properly.
  2. Water or debris might jam in the pressure relief valve of the regulator, not making it safe for operation.
  3. If a tank takes on water often, a drain will need to be installed, the tank raised, or other options to alleviate the situation. Water freezes in winter. If the tank is under water, it will also be under ice, causing many problems, including the customer having no gas pressure and the units not working. 

Q: Am I allowed to use an above-ground tank as a dog secure point?

A: Securing the dog to the tank may cause line damage from jerking, pulling, or rubbing on the lines and may also damage the tanks if they pull them over or damage the paint, causing premature wear and tear.

Q: If we are experiencing heavy rainfall, should my tanks be secured?

A: In low-lying areas, it might be necessary to secure the tanks.

  1. This process of securing can be quickly done by utilizing 4 eyelet hooks and some chains, securing the tanks on both the top and bottom portions, and anchoring them to the structure.
  2. If attaching to the structure is impossible, concrete anchors or pins can be utilized similarly. The customer is responsible for providing a concrete pad if they desire one.

Q: Can I hook stuff to the tank on my own?

A: No.

  1. Only trained gas professionals should work on gas lines and systems.
  2. Our tanks are our tanks. Only trained employees of the company can work on or service the equipment.
  3. We do not leave tanks at sites for “plumbers to hook to.” We do all the connections and tests to ensure the system’s safety.
  4. A licensed plumber or HVAC contractor can add new equipment to the customer’s system; the customer must inform us so that we may check the system for proper operation.

Q: Are tanks brand new when set?

A: Tanks are either new or refurbished tanks.

  1. New tanks are utilized when possible if available.
  2. Refurbished tanks are more common, and older tanks are retrofitted and repainted with a powder coat; they look and perform like a new tank.

Q: Can we set 100# tanks?

A: Yes, we can under certain conditions.

  1. Most often, 100# tanks are used for temporary heat tanks in the construction industry.
  2. We often set 200#/ 50-gallon tanks instead of 100# at residences because it increases storage, and they have a gauge for the customer to see how much they have in the tank.

We would only set 100# single tanks in infrequent instances on a case-by-case basis at a customer’s residence.

Q: If tanks are old and rusty, can they be replaced?

A: Yes, depending upon size.

  1. The most common tanks to replace are size 100 gallons and smaller. Changing them out is more manageable than tidying them up at the location. A customer must be home for this process when we change them out.
  2. If a tank is more significant than 100 gallons, we will clean and paint them onsite. Larger than 100 gallons generally require additional equipment and is unnecessary.

Q: Can I move Shipley Energy tank(s) myself if I want or need to?

A: No.

  1. The tanks are pressure vessels placed in a safe location when installed. It is hazardous to move tanks without the proper equipment and training.
  2. A gas leak or explosion could result in an error with an untrained person moving a tank, and we would prefer the professionals do the task to prioritize safety.

Q: Can you fill RV propane tanks?

A: Yes, we can.

  1. We have a full-service filling station at the Hanover facility.
  2. There are also several other locations where pump stations are located to handle this type of application.

Q: If the dome on my underground tank is rotted, does it need to be replaced?

A: Yes, it does.

  1. The dome lid is a cover that both shields and protects the top of the tank and associated apertures from weather or other related physical damage.
  2. The dome lid also serves as a device if the tank’s relief valve needs to function or operate.

Q: How deep is my buried propane tank?

A: It all depends upon the tank.

  1. Most tanks are about 24 inches below the ground.
  2. Some tanks, known as ag/ug tanks, are buried at a much shallower depth of as little as 8 inches.
  3. It is always good to consult a technician to check before anything is placed, dug, or buried on or near a propane tank.

Q: Can you install tanks before my generator/pool heater replacement is installed?

A: Generally, no.

  1. The unit needs to be in place at the location so that we know where to locate the line and where to hook it to the unit.
  2. A permit process is applicable in Maryland, and several things must be considered before anything is set or installed.

Q: How far from my property line does my tank(s) need to be?

A: It all depends upon what size tanks are installed.

  1. If they are 100 gallons and under, they can be right on the property line.
  2. If they are over 100 gallons, the rule is either 25’ or 10’, depending upon application.

Q: How do I know my tank is leaking?

A: You should be able to smell gas.

Making Propane Easy

Ready to find your perfect propane plan? Shipley Energy is here to help you find the right, customized solution for your home, from price protection to Worry-Free deliveries.

Our Customer Care team is ready to answer your questions by phone at 1-866-996-4094 or text us at 1-717-848-4100.

Look to Shipley Energy for your questions about propane

Thank you for reading chapter 6 of our propane homeowner’s guide! If you would like to learn more feel free to read our other chapters.

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