Aboveground vs. Underground Propane Tanks

Make the Right Choice for Your Home

fuel tank optionsPropane is a versatile, eco-friendly fuel that can power a variety of your home’s systems and equipment efficiently, helping you save money versus alternative energy sources like electricity. So, once you’ve made the smart decision to add propane into the mix, you need to decide whether an aboveground or an underground propane tank is the right choice for your home.

Here are four things you need to consider before you choose to go with an aboveground or underground propane tank.

  1. Size: The first thing you need to determine is what size tank you need. For a home with multiple propane appliances, such as a cooking stove, fireplace, water heater or clothes dryer, a 120-gallon tank is usually right. If you want to heat your home with propane, and run other appliances, you’ll likely need an even larger tank. The bigger the tank you need, the more likely you will want to locate it underground, as it will be harder to hide it.
  2. Budget: Of course, a bigger tank is more expensive than a smaller tank. However, locating your tank underground comes with some additional costs associated with excavation and burying. You will also need permits, and not all locations are suitable for underground tanks. (Don’t worry—Casey Energy will be here to help you through this process!)

    In addition, “sacrificial anodes,” which help prevent corrosion, need to be buried near the tank.

    An aboveground tank simply needs to meet distance requirements and have appropriate permits. Sometimes, a concrete base is needed for stability, but the cost is small, and we can usually handle it for you. Because its above ground, maintenance is not a problem because the tank is easy to inspect and access if any repair is needed.

  3. Safety: Generally, underground tanks are considered safer than above-ground tanks. One reason is that they are protected from temperature fluctuations. Underground tanks are also safer in the event of a leak. Unlike oil, propane can’t harm soil or water, and because the tank is buried, leaking propane can’t escape into the air, causing a fire hazard.

    Aboveground tanks are also very safe. However, if you live in a flood-prone area, an aboveground tank is the safer option. That’s because an underground tank can potentially float away if the water rises above the propane level in your tank. Aboveground tanks stand a few inches off the ground and are bolted down making them more stable and less exposed during flood conditions. However, exposure to the elements can make them a little less durable, particularly if they’re subjected to extreme or extended heat and cold.

  4. Curb Appeal: When you invest time and money in making your home and yard look nice, you don’t want a hunk of metal ruining the view. But sometimes there isn’t the space—or the budget—to bury your tank. We get it. Usually, we can help situate your tank at the side or the back of your home, in as unobtrusive a place as possible.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both aboveground and underground propane tanks. For aesthetics and safety, underground tanks are a great option. However, if you’re on a tight budget, live in a flood-prone area, or can site your tank in a less prominent spot, an aboveground tank may be more practical.

Whether you decide on an aboveground or underground propane tank, know that the pros at Casey Energy can help you make the selection, installation, and ongoing maintenance of your tank…easy! And of course, we’ll provide reliable, year ‘round propane delivery services, too. Contact us for more information or to help you get started today.