Propane Tank Location Rules

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Propane Tank Location Rules
Propane tank location depends greatly upon tank size. (YAKUMO DIGITAL CAMERA image by b1sch from Fotolia.com)

Distance regulations apply to propane tanks and their connections in relation to their surroundings. Care and consideration of surrounding buildings, driveways, doorways, windows, property lines and more are taken into account when determining a safe and legal propane tank location. Because these regulations may vary by locality, the building code authority should be consulted prior to propane tank installation.

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Container Distance

Propane tank location distance requirements depend greatly upon the container size. While the majority of tanks fall within a 10-foot rule for buildings and houses, rules differ for locations such as car parks, playgrounds, railroad tracks or in the vicinity of other flammable materials.

Propane tanks with between 501- and 2,000-gallon capacity typically require 25-foot spacing, however, a 1,200-gallon or less tank may be reduced to 10 feet when no other propane tank is located within 25 feet. When taking property lines into consideration, propane tanks must be located a minimum of 10 feet from any property line where the adjoining property can be built upon.

When determining the appropriate propane tank placement, precedence must be given to state and local regulations, as well as the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code. Accessibility considerations are also important, because delivery trucks require access to the tank during all types of weather.

Point of Transfer Distance

The NFPA defines point of transfer as either "the location where connections and disconnections are made or where LP-Gas is vented to the atmosphere in the course of transfer operations" or "the point where a connection or disconnection is made during transfer of LNG from one container to another." When the hose disconnects from the tank after transfer, liquid releases into the atmosphere. Therefore, the point of transfer is taken into consideration when determining safe location distance.

Relief Valve Distance

If the relief valve opens and allows propane to vent, the immediate area surrounding the relief valve must be clear of obstructions and ignition sources. Because of this, safety relief valves are subject to distance rules as well. When fully activated, safety relief valves can vent propane vertically up and cannot be located under a building overhang or awning.

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